The role of vitamins and minerals in our diet is often overlooked with a main focus on adequate macronutrients intake such as fats, proteins and carbohydrates. However, just as we need certain macronutrients, we need our vitamins and minerals to be provided through our diets. Specifically, magnesium is a major player in the body and its importance is something might want to consider if we are looking to become the healthiest versions of ourselves. Magnesium deficiency affects a lot of our body systems.
Magnesium plays a role in over hundreds of reactions and processes in the body. Its prominent role is seen in aiding in muscle and nerve function, providing immune support, blood glucose control and regulating blood flow. It’s an essential part of our cell’s natural cycles such as oxidative phosphorylation, energy production and glycolysis. Further, when enough magnesium is present in the body, it will help fight chronic illness such as Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This results from induced changes of biochemical pathways. The macro mineral is one of the main seven macro minerals along with sulfur, chloride, potassium, sodium, calcium and phosphorus. Macro means we need to consume these minerals through the diet in large quantities. Conversely, micro minerals are also crucial to all process of the body, but are needed in much smaller quantities. These include iron, zinc, cobalt, iodine, copper, manganese, fluoride and selenium.
Average Daily Amounts:
Females: 19-30 years is 310mg
Females: 31-50 years is 320mg
Females: 51+ is 320 mg
Males: 19-30 years is 400mg
Males: 31-50 years is 420mg
Males: 51+ is 420mg
A deficiency in this mineral can have major consequences if we aren’t aware and careful. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing a deficiency:
- Extreme PMS symptoms
- Weak bones that easily break or fracture
- Muscle fatigue and cramping
- Liver and kidney damage
While there are other symptoms, these are the main ones to watch out for. Take our test below to find out how much Magnesium you need!
Alright, alright, so enough with the boring overload of facts. I’m sure you’re really wanting to learn about which foods are abundant in magnesium, so you can start incorporating them into your next meal!
Please note, the provided list with magnesium abundant foods are the percentages of daily values and milligrams based on an average of values for both males and females, so you can have a general idea of the amounts needed to consume to meet the recommendations.
- Bananas- Bananas may be known for their high abundance in potassium, but often overlooked for their high levels of magnesium. They are great snacks or serve as fun ingredients for baking. To eat as a snack, add in some more magnesium rich foods by enjoying topped with almond or peanut butter! Looking for a fun summer treat? Slice a banana, add some peanut butter between slices, so it looks like a mini sandwich, dip in some of your favorite chocolate. Then, freeze for a few hours and enjoy! Mini chocolate pops, the healthy way! Need to make a fun activity with the family? Get the kids or grandkids involved by making a banana bread to enjoy together.
1 banana: 32 mg for 8% DV
- Spinach- When it comes to eating our veggies, particularly our greens, spinach is by far the lettuce you should be seeking out at the market. It’s also fun to grow at home and combine in various dinner dishes the whole family will love.
½ cup broiled: 78mg for 20% DV
- Flax seeds- These tiny goodies are wonderful additions to breakfast such as topping your yogurt bowl or mixing into a smoothie, or my personal favorite- add to a cinnamon oatmeal bowl. Not feeling a smoothie in the morning? Make it a part of your afternoon pick- me- up!
1 Tablespoon: 40 mg for 10% DV
- Almonds- Almonds make for a great snack and can be used in a variety of ways from almond butter to almond milk and yogurt. Their wholesome flavor leads to craving control and satisfaction for hours ahead.
½ cup: 40 mg for 10% DV
- Peanut butter- According to many health experts peanut butter sandwiches are one of the best combinations ever discovered, along with beans and rice. To be clear, I’m not talking your bleached flour store bread, we’re talking homemade bread, seeded or organic.
2 tablespoons (1 serving): 49 mg for 12% DV
- Avocado- A source of healthy fats, high in omega- 3’s, avocados are great additions to any salad or top your egg breakfast with a few slices to start the day off with energy, fueling the body with a plethora of magnesium.
½ cup: 22mg for 5% DV
- Beans (mainly black) – Allow black beans to be your go-to for complex carbs and protein, while containing an abundance of zinc, a mineral we could all use a little more of these days to aid in building a strong immune system. These are a great addition to any meal for a plant-based as wholesome ingredient with many benefits!
½ cup: 60 mg for 15% DV
- Spirulina- Made up of over 60% protein, the blue-green algae is one of the best superfoods known to humans! This is one of my favorite ingredients to add to my morning smoothie for a dual boost of magnesium and protein.
One tablespoon: 14mg. In addition, proves 4g of protein with only 20 calories.
- Cashews- Cashews are high in zinc and also great for increasing brain function. Grab a handful for an afternoon snack, sure to hold you over until dinner and keeping your body running with the increased magnesium supply. Or try topping your morning yogurt with some roasted cashews, pumpkin seeds and toasted coconut flakes!
One ounce: 83 mg for 20% DV
- Brown rice- This mild grain can be the base of many recipes and a staple for so many diets around the world. Naturally gluten free, brown rice lends itself as an excellent choice in carbohydrates. Feel free to play around and have some fun; experiment by adding various seasonings. Make a breakfast bowl or pack leftovers for lunch, combining with some spinach and beans! Wow, what a magnesium filled combo, fueling your body to energize your afternoon with productivity for hours ahead.
1 cup cooked: 44 mg for 11% DV
- Quinoa- This is a gluten- free, protein- filled grain, delivering satiation and an excellent dinner or lunch staple. This grain is a popular choice in recipes for it’s easy and mild flavor, leaving room for spicing it up however you’d like. Try adding some atop your spinach greens, throw in some black beans, sprinkle with some seeds and wow you are going above and beyond for your magnesium intake!
3/4 cup cooked: 118mg for 28% DV
If you are eating healthy, exercising regularly and follow a healthy lifestyle, you probably don’t have to worry about getting enough magnesium. If you take a multivitamin, check the label to find out the DV of magnesium. While food is the preferred way to provide the body with this macro-mineral, vitamins and supplements are great ways to give the body a boost with all the essentials it needs. However, don’t be reliant on supplements for your daily intakes. If you need a boost in magnesium, topical magnesium is always the best form to increase levels efficiently and effectively.
Further, these foods are best eaten in their raw form instead of baking them into dishes, but you will still receive nutrients from these dishes, just not as much as one would in the raw form. Don’t let this deter you away from using them! I encourage you to give each of these foods a try and see which ones you could be adding to your weekly shopping list. Be creative with these ingredients, preparing meals that the whole family will enjoy! Share with me some of your favorites, as I cannot wait to hear from you!