Food provides us with important micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, for many organic functions and a large number of metabolic reactions. Among them is magnesium, a mineral that is essential since the body cannot synthesize it .

In this article, we will provide you with important information about magnesium-rich foods and their relevance to our health.

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral that does not come from nature in free form, but is obtained from the electrolysis of a mixture of magnesium oxide and mercuric oxide. 

This mineral is present in the soil and serves as an important nutrient for plants, but when insufficiency is detected in the soil, because it is not biologically available for absorption, then irrigation with other nutrients is used to fertilize the soil.

In this way, plants absorb this mineral for their daily functions and also transfer it to the food they provide.

Magnesium is an important mineral for human health, since it is involved in many biochemical reactions to maintain the proper functioning of muscles and the Central Nervous System (CNS) , strengthens the body’s immune function and participates in bone structure .

Important: The daily intake recommendation on the amount of magnesium for humans is between 310 mg to 420 mg, depending on age and gender. (1)

What are the foods richest in magnesium?

Although it is true that magnesium can be obtained in the form of a supplement, it is necessary to know the natural sources where it can be obtained through ingestion. Next, we mention the foods richest in magnesium and that wonderfully favor your health:

1. Spinach

Spinach is one of the most complete vegetables in terms of micronutrients, since they have a large amount of vitamins and minerals that favor your health. Among the minerals, the contribution of magnesium stands out, since it has 15.42% of the recommended daily intake for every 100 gr of edible portion (2) . Among the benefits of consuming this vegetable are:

  • Fights oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
  • Prevents the appearance of iron deficiency anemia .
  • Strengthens cardiovascular health.
  • Maintains the proper functioning of the central nervous system.
  • Strengthens the immune system among others.

Note: The vitamin C content of spinach favors the absorption of magnesium.

2. Almonds

Almonds are one of the most consumed nuts worldwide, and not only because of their peculiar flavor, but also because of their high nutritional value.

These nuts provide 258 mg of magnesium per 100 grams of edible portion , representing 73.71% of the recommended daily intake for an adult. They also have important vitamins such as vitamin E group B vitamins , mainly folates , and are rich in phosphorus, potassium, and calcium (3) . Among the most relevant benefits are the following:

  • They contain a large amount of antioxidants to protect healthy cells.
  • They promote the health of the circulatory system.
  • They provide healthy fatty acids for heart health and as a healthy energy source.
  • They promote the loss of body fat.
  • They promote muscular and CNS health.

Tip: These nuts can easily be included in your daily diet as a snack or as a complement to your breakfast with cereals.

3. Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain considered rather a pseudo cereal due to its nutritional composition and is part of the foods rich in magnesium. This food provides 197 mg of magnesium per 100 grams , representing 56.28% of the recommended daily amount. Likewise, it contains iron, potassium, phosphorus and zinc and vitamins of the B complex (4) . The consumption of quinoa can favor your health in:

  • Reduction of the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes.
  • Strengthening of the musculoskeletal system.
  • Favoring the functioning of the CNS.

You should know: The consumption of quinoa also prevents metabolic diseases and obesity, due to its low content of saturated fat and a large amount of dietary fiber.

4. Pumpkin seeds

These seeds or pipes constitute another food with a high magnesium content , since they provide 262 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams of edible portion, representing a high percentage of 74.85% of the total recommended daily amount. 

In their nutritional composition they also contain phosphorus, potassium, iron, calcium and vitamins such as A and folic acid, omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants (5) . Among the advantages for your health that the consumption of pumpkin seeds offers you are:

  • They protect cardiovascular health.
  • They prevent the risk of some types of cancer , promote kidney health and liver disease.
  • They promote the health of joints, muscles and nerves.
  • They help treat osteoporosis .

Important: Low levels or deficiency of magnesium can cause muscle discomfort such as tingling, tremors or numbness, as well as fatigue and weakness.

5. Peanut

Peanuts provide approximately 174 mg of magnesium per 100 grams of edible portion , constituting one of the fruits with the highest magnesium content. 

As a complement to its nutritional contribution, this legume also contains phosphorus, potassium, iodine and calcium, apart from vitamins of the B complex, vitamin A and E, as well as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids  (6) . The benefits of consuming peanuts for health are:

  • They favor the production of growth hormone 
  • They favor the immune and nervous system.
  • They protect cardiovascular health. 
  • They favor the bones.  
  • They can prevent diabetes .

To highlight: Peanut consumption favors the synthesis of hormones, to improve mood and correctly fulfill sleep cycles.

6. Chickpeas

Another of the grains with a high magnesium content are chickpeas . These legumes provide 160 mg of this trace element for every 100 grams of edible portion.

They also stand out for their contribution in protein, fiber and carbohydrates , as well as group B vitamins , mainly folic acid and tocopherol. Apart from magnesium, chickpeas also provide a good amount of calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus (7) . Due to its components, the consumption of chickpeas can:

  • Generate satiety and avoid blood sugar spikes .
  • They are a good source of protein for muscles and tissues.
  • They promote intestinal health.

Note: Eating chickpeas promotes weight loss due to its high content of dietary fiber.

7. Lentils

Another legume with great nutritional value is lentils. They are characterized by their high protein value and low fat. Its magnesium content is 78 mg per 100 grams of edible portion. 

They are accompanied in their nutritional composition by vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, folates and vitamin B6. The most representative minerals are phosphorus, potassium and zinc (8) . Its contribution to health is characterized by:

  • Contain minerals that favor the functions of the CNS and muscles.
  • Its high protein value preserves muscles and organic tissues.

To highlight: Lentils contain folic acid and iron, minerals that prevent anemia , and are particularly important in pregnant women.

8. Peas

These legumes have many nutritional properties for human health, and are present in the diet of many people. Peas are low in fat and have no cholesterol.

Despite providing a good amount of protein, it is low in quality. However, they provide B complex vitamins , especially folic acid and vitamin A. Magnesium stands out among its minerals with 27 mg per 100 grams of edible portion and is accompanied by phosphorus, potassium, iron and calcium  (9) . Its health benefits are:

  • Protect the CNS and muscles.
  • They prevent diseases such as anemia.
  • They prevent damage caused by free radicals and promote bone health.

9. Whole wheat

Whole wheat is a cereal from which whole wheat bread is prepared, a food widely used by people in their daily diet. This bread is a source of fiber, carbohydrates and is low in saturated fat.

Minerals include selenium, zinc, phosphorus and potassium. Its contribution of magnesium is 91 mg per 100 grams of bread. It also provides B complex vitamins, with relevance of folates and vitamin E (10) . Among the advantages for your health that the consumption of whole wheat bread offers you are:

  • It favors the transit of food through the intestines.
  • It is a healthy and readily available source of energy for the body.

Note: Whole wheat bread is a highly available food for people who want to lose body weight.

10. Nuts

Walnuts are another of the magnesium-rich nuts they are very energetic, high in polyunsaturated fats and due to their high protein intake they are recommended for vegans.

These nuts provide 140 mg of magnesium per 100-gram serving , although they also contain a good amount of selenium and phosphorus (11) . Among the benefits of eating nuts are:

  • They reduce LDL cholesterol, due to its high content of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids of plant origin.
  • They prevent cardiovascular diseases. 
  • They favor the functioning of the CNS and maintain muscle function.

11. Avocado

This is one of the fruits that you need to incorporate into your daily diet. The avocado stands out in its nutritional composition for having unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins of the B complex, highlighting vitamins C, A and E. Its contribution of magnesium is 41 mg for each 100-gram portion. They are accompanied by potassium, phosphorus and calcium (12) . Among its most outstanding health benefits we have:

  • Promotes the proper functioning of the nervous and muscular system.
  • Strengthens the immune system.
  • Promotes intestinal health.

12. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate or bitter chocolate is a food that contains between 70% and 85% pure cocoa . It is one of the natural delicacies that provides more magnesium with 228 mg of this mineral per 100 grams of edible portion , representing 65.14% of the recommended daily intake.

In its nutritional composition it is accompanied by vitamins such as A, K and B3 and minerals such as phosphorus, zinc and iron  (13) . Their contribution to your health is described below:

  • It is a quick and natural source of energy for the body.
  • Promotes cardiovascular and digestive health
  • Stimulates the central nervous system

Key Findings

  • Magnesium is a mineral that does not come from nature in free form.
  • It is key to muscle functions and those of the Central Nervous System.
  • Magnesium can be consumed in the daily diet through different foods of vegetable origin, without adverse effects.
  • Spinach, almonds, quinoa, peanuts, and chickpeas are some of the foods richest in magnesium .

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