Magnesium plays a crucial role in just about every aspect of our well-being—from a healthy cardiovascular system, strong bones and optimal brain function, to maintaining normal blood pressure and calcium levels, to the ability to focus and stay calm under stress.
By some estimates, more than 70% of adults are deficient in this essential mineral that is responsible for more than 600 vital metabolic reactions throughout the human body. Every cell in your body contains it and needs it.
Doctors link magnesium deficiency with a range of health complications, so we should strive to meet daily recommended levels of magnesium. The recommended daily intake is 400–420 mg per day for men and 310–320 mg per day for women. You can get magnesium from both food and supplements.
The following foods are good to excellent sources of magnesium:
- Pumpkin seeds: 46% of the RDI in a quarter cup (16 grams)
- Spinach, boiled: 39% of the RDI in a cup (180 grams)
- Swiss chard, boiled: 38% of the RDI in a cup (175 grams)
- Dark chocolate (70–85% cocoa): 33% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
- Black beans: 30% of the RDI in a cup (172 grams)
- Quinoa, cooked: 33% of the RDI the in a cup (185 grams)
- Halibut: 27% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
- Almonds: 25% of the RDI in a quarter cup (24 grams)
- Cashews: 25% of the RDI in a quarter cup (30 grams)
- Mackerel: 19% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
- Avocado: 15% of the RDI in one medium avocado (200 grams)
- Salmon: 9% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams)
If you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before taking magnesium supplements. Though these are generally well-tolerated, they may not be safe for people who take certain diuretics, heart medications or antibiotics. Supplement forms that are absorbed well include magnesium citrate, glycinate, orotate and carbonate.