Magnesium on your mind? It’s no wonder: The mighty mineral has been having a moment with research continuing to back up the benefits of magnesium, from supporting our muscles, nerves and bones to promoting cardiovascular wellness.†
At the same time, the American Osteopathic Association reports that up to 50% of the U.S. population is lacking in this key nutrient. This is especially true for those who eat fewer than 1,800 calories per day, dodge the salad bar, and work out hard (magnesium is lost through sweat).
Given the importance of the power mineral—which plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body—it should top your list of what you need to “invite into” your life.
Here are 10 magnificent, magnesium-rich foods—and how to include them in your diet:
10 Foods High in Magnesium
Popeye was onto something: Spinach is one of the top sources of magnesium, in that a mere half cup contains 78mg of the miracle mineral. (To note: Women should get 310-320mg of magnesium per day, while men should ingest 400-420mg.) It also packs exceptional amounts of other key nutrients, including potassium, Vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, and iron. What’s more, spinach is filling, thanks to its high fiber content, and low-calorie to boot.
Work it in: …by using spinach in lieu of romaine or iceberg in your work-day sandwich. Fresh, organic spinach pairs particularly well with peppered turkey, tomatoes, and avocados—another superb source of magnesium.
2. Pumpkin seeds
Rarely do you spot pumpkin seeds on a menu, which is a shame, given that the seed carries a potent nutritional punch. In addition to containing a whopping 168 mg of magnesium per a single ounce, pumpkin seeds also boast excellent levels of healthy oils, potassium, iron, and fiber.
Work it in:…to your salad. Combine a variety of greens—baby spinach, watercress, and red lettuce—with a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Top with aged (and shaved) asiago cheese and roasted, salted pumpkin seeds, sans shells.
3. Atlantic salmon
Farm-raised Atlantic salmon is king when it comes to nutrients, pulling in 26 mg of magnesium per 3oz (roughly the size of your palm), as well as satiating protein, skin-beautifying omega-3 fatty acids, bone-building selenium, and more.
Work it in:…to your breakfast. Whisk organic eggs, smoked salmon, and cream together, scramble over medium heat, and top with fresh, sliced chives.
4. Peanut butter
Nut butters are all the rage, and thank the stars for that: Everything from cashew butter to almond butter contain optimal amounts of brain-boosting healthy fats, as well as significant amounts of protein and antioxidants. But peanut butter—particularly smooth, creamy peanut butter—also has a handsome 49mg of magnesium per two tablespoons. One caveat: Just be sure you’re opting for low-sugar or sugar-free natural peanut butter whose primary ingredient is, well, peanuts.
Work it in:…to your mid-morning smoothie. Blend peanut butter with bananas, Greek yogurt, almond milk, flax seeds, and a touch of vanilla extract.
Sushi restaurants are onto something: The bowls of edamame they serve pre-fish are choke-full of terrific nutrients. Chief among them? Magnesium—as in ½ cup of the shelled beans contain 50 mg of the mineral. What’s more, edamame features all nine essential amino acids, rendering them a complete protein source.
Work it in:…to your next party. Rather than serve traditional hummus, make this stellar edamame hummus. Pair it with fresh veggies and exotic olives, and you’re bound to have a hit.
Bananas are loaded with far more than just potassium. The Cleveland Clinic reports that a medium banana contains 32 mg of magnesium. The curvy yellow fruit also provides 10% of the amount of protein you need per day, metabolism-boosting vitamin B6, and immunity-bolstering vitamin C.
Work it in:…to your overnight oats. Layer 1 ½ ripe bananas with ½ cup uncooked oats, ½ cup of almond milk, 2 tsp. of honey, and a dash of cinnamon. Refrigerate overnight (or let steep for eight hours) and savor. (Bonus points: Oats will give you another 36 mg of magnesium.)
Almonds are the busy bee’s greatest gift. Simple to store and easy on the wallet, they offer a host of healthy nutrients, including fiber, protein, healthy fats, vitamin E and, yes, magnesium. As little as 1 oz (roughly 23 almonds) brims with a hefty 80 mg of magnesium.
Work it in:…to your stir fry: Add 1/2 cup of slivered, toasted almonds to a plate of wok-warmed protein and veggies and you’ll give your taste buds—and your bod—a real treat.
The humble spud is often overlooked as a viable culinary option—in part because of the backlash carbs received in the 90s—but potatoes are a wellspring of crucial nutrients. In addition to providing 43mg of magnesium, they’re rich in fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6. Just be sure to eat them with their skin.
Work it in:…to your main meal. But rather than topping your baked tater with butter or sour cream, crown it with steamed broccoli or that aforementioned, magnesium-full spinach.
“If you’re worried about your heart health,” the Mayo Clinic reports, “eating at least two servings of fish a week could reduce your risk of heart disease.” Make that fish halibut and you’ll receive 24 mg of energy-boosting magnesium, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and niacin.
Work it in:…to your date dinner. Pan-sear with fresh garlic, a touch of white wine, and lemon juice, and top with capers and fresh parsley.
10. Dark chocolate
Yes, we saved the best for last. Just in case you needed another reason to indulge in a square or two of dark chocolate, it’s good to know that the (bitter)sweet stuff is also high in magnesium, containing 50 mg in as little as a single ounce. (Indeed, if you’re craving chocolate, you may have inadequate magnesium levels.) Dark chocolate is also a powerful source of antioxidants, thanks to its admirable flavonoid content.
Work it in:…do we really need to advise you on how to work dark chocolate into your diet? Hardly. For those who would like a different take on the classic, however, consider making gluten-free, no-bake, dark chocolate energy bites. Blend ½ cup of creamy peanut butter (see #4) with ¼ cup honey, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 and ½ cups gluten-free oats, ¼ cup chia seeds, and ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (70% or higher). Form into bite-sized balls and savor. We know it: Wellness never tasted so good.
†These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.