Magnesium Rich Diet

Magnesium is a needed mineral found in the body. It is important for strong bones and a healthy heart. Magnesium also plays a role in muscle and nerve function. Certain medical conditions, such as poorly controlled diabetes and gastrointestinal disease, may lead to a lack of magnesium in the body (magnesium deficiency).

SOURCES OF MAGNESIUM

  • Green vegetables such as spinach are good sources of magnesium.

  • Some beans and peas (legumes), nuts and seeds, and whole, unrefined grains are also good sources of magnesium. Refined grains are generally low in magnesium. When white flour is refined and processed, the magnesium-rich germ and bran are removed.

  • Bread made from whole-grain wheat flour provides more magnesium than bread made from white refined flour.

  • Tap water can be a source of magnesium, but the amount varies according to the water supply. Water that naturally contains more minerals is described as "hard." Hard water contains more magnesium than "soft" water.

Eating a wide variety of legumes, nuts, whole grains, and green vegetables will help you meet your daily dietary need for magnesium. Selected food sources of magnesium are listed below.

FOOD SOURCES

Food / Magnesium (mg)

  • Almonds, dry roasted, 1 oz / 80 mg

  • Cashews, dry roasted, 1 oz / 75 mg

  • Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup / 75 mg

  • Spinach, frozen, cooked, ½ cup / 75 mg

  • Nuts, mixed, dry roasted, 1 oz / 65 mg

  • Cereal, shredded wheat, 1 bowl / 55 mg

  • Oatmeal, instant, prepared with water, 1 cup / 55 mg

  • Potato, baked with skin, 1 medium / 50 mg

  • Peanuts, dry roasted, 1 oz / 50 mg

  • Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tbs / 50 mg

  • Wheat bran, crude, 2 tbs / 45 mg

  • Black-eyed peas, cooked, ½ cup / 45 mg

  • Yogurt, plain, skim milk, 8 oz / 45 mg

  • Bran flakes, ¾ cup / 40 mg

  • Vegetarian baked beans, ½ cup / 40 mg

  • Brown rice, long-grained, cooked, ½ cup / 40 mg

  • Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, ½ cup / 35 mg

  • Avocado, ½ cup pureed / 35 mg

  • Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup / 35 mg

  • Pinto beans, cooked, ½ cup / 35 mg

  • Wheat germ, crude, 2 tbs / 35 mg

  • Chocolate milk, 1 cup / 33 mg

  • Banana, 1 medium / 30 mg

  • Milk chocolate candy bar, 1 ½ oz / 28 mg

  • Milk, reduced fat (2%) or fat-free, 1 cup / 28 mg

  • Bread, whole-wheat, 1 slice / 25 mg

  • Raisins, seedless, ¼ cup / 25 mg

  • Whole milk, 1 cup / 24 mg

  • Chocolate pudding, 4 oz / 24 mg

RECOMMENDED DIETARY ALLOWANCES FOR MAGNESIUM

The following list shows the Recommended Dietary Allowances for magnesium in milligrams per day for children and adults.

Age: 1 to 3 years

  • Male: 80 mg

  • Female: 80 mg

Age: 4 to 8 years

  • Male: 130 mg

  • Female: 130 mg

Age: 9 to 13 years

  • Male: 240 mg

  • Female: 240 mg

Age: 14 to 18 years

  • Male: 410 mg

  • Female: 360 mg

  • Pregnant: 400 mg

  • Breastfeeding: 360 mg

Age: 19 to 30 years

  • Male: 400 mg

  • Female: 310 mg

  • Pregnant: 350 mg

  • Breastfeeding: 310 mg

Age: 31 years or older

  • Male: 420 mg

  • Female: 320 mg

  • Pregnant: 360 mg

  • Breastfeeding: 320 mg

RECOMMENDED ADEQUATE INTAKE FOR MAGNESIUM FOR INFANTS

There is not enough information on magnesium to establish Recommended Dietary Allowances for infants. The following list shows the average intake of magnesium in healthy, breastfed infants in milligrams per day.

Age: 0 to 6 months

  • Male: 30 mg

  • Female: 30 mg

Age: 7 to 12 months

  • Male: 75 mg

  • Female: 75 mg

HEALTH RISKS OF TOO MUCH MAGNESIUM

Dietary magnesium does not pose a health risk. However, large doses of magnesium in supplements can cause adverse effects such as diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Risk of magnesium toxicity increases with kidney failure, when the kidney loses the ability to remove excess magnesium. Very large doses of magnesium-containing laxatives and antacids have also been associated with magnesium toxicity. Signs of excess magnesium can be similar to magnesium deficiency and include changes in mental status, nausea, diarrhea, appetite loss, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, extremely low blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.

TOLERABLE UPPER INTAKE LEVELS FOR SUPPLEMENTAL MAGNESIUM

The following list shows the tolerable limits (upper intake levels) for magnesium from supplements in healthy infants, children, and adults in milligrams per day. A caregiver may prescribe magnesium in higher doses for specific medical problems. There is no upper intake level for magnesium from food sources.

Age: Infants

  • Male: Undetermined

  • Female: Undetermined

Age: 4 to 8 years

  • Male: 110 mg

  • Female: 130 mg

Age: 9 to 18 years

  • Male: 240 mg

  • Female: 240 mg

Age: 19 years or older

  • Male: 350 mg

  • Female: 350 mg

  • Pregnant: 350 mg

  • Breastfeeding: 350 mg