1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has 64 mg of magnesium in just one ounce, netting 16% of the RDI with your after-dinner treat alone.
It also contains powerful antioxidants called flavanols, which are known to prevent bad LDL cholesterol from sticking to the artery walls. That gives dark chocolate a double dose of the heart protection ability.
This tasty treat additionally features a good amount of iron, manganese, and copper, plus prebiotic fiber to feed your healthy gut bacteria.
You can indulge without worry as long as you look for a chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa solids. Otherwise, you need to be careful about eating too much sugar and not enough of the good stuff.
Avocados are so creamy and satisfying that it’s easy to forget how healthy they are. One medium avocado has about 58 mg of magnesium or 15% of the RDI.
Other benefits of eating avocados include high levels of vitamin B, vitamin K, and potassium. You also get a good amount of fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
A diet high in avocado has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation all over the body. It also helps you to feel full after meals, reducing those pesky snack cravings.
Another great snack to boost magnesium intake is nuts. Most nuts contain magnesium, but the ones that contain the highest levels of magnesium are cashews, almonds, and Brazil nuts. Just one ounce of any of them will reward you with between 20-33% of your RDI.
Like avocados, nuts are also full of fiber and monounsaturated fat. Eating nuts regularly is known to improve both blood sugar and cholesterol levels in people with diabetes, so eating them preventatively is a great idea.
Nuts also can reduce inflammation and support heart health, as well as control hunger when eaten as a snack.
4. Leafy Greens
And speaking of salad, several types of leafy green are also chock full of magnesium. You will get a lot from spinach, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, and collard greens. One cup of spinach delivers about 157 mg of magnesium, representing 39% of the RDI.
For variety, try mixing some of each of these high-magnesium greens into a salad with another milder lettuce. Romaine, for example, also contains magnesium as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate.
Greens go the distance, with additional plant compounds that studies show help protect cells from free radical damage. This, in turn, reduces your risk of developing cancer.
Bananas are known for their potassium content, but they also have a good amount of magnesium. One large banana provides about 37 mg or 9% of the RDI. While it’s not the most magnesium-rich food out there, you’ll also be getting vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and fiber.
A significant amount of the fiber in bananas is resistant starch, which isn’t digested and absorbed by the body, but instead feeds our healthy gut bacteria. Studies show that this improves gut health, reduces inflammation, and lowers blood sugar levels.
Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the world, and they certainly earn the title. But with a fair amount of sugar, regular consumption of bananas may not be the best choice for people with diabetes.
6. Fatty Fish
Eating just half a filet of fish, especially salmon, halibut, and mackerel, delivers 53 mg of magnesium to get you 13% of the way to your RDI. But that’s just the beginning of the health benefits offered by fish.
That same half-filet contains 39 grams of high-quality protein as well as potassium, selenium, and B vitamins. Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids as well, which decreases your risk of heart disease.
Current wisdom suggests that wild-caught fish, rather than farmed, are healthier because they eat a natural diet free of foods designed to bulk them up artificially. It is also wise to limit your intake of larger, predatory fish because they tend to contain high levels of mercury.
7. Whole Grains
Here is all the more reason to eat your oatmeal in the morning. Eating a 100 gram serving of oats will net 177 mg of magnesium, getting you about 44% of the way to your RDI in one meal. Add some banana for an extra boost.
One 100 gram serving of quinoa offers 197 mg of magnesium, so adding this at lunch or dinner after a breakfast of oatmeal with banana gets you across the finish line.
Eating other whole-grain products improves your magnesium intake over their refined white counterparts. For example, one slice of whole-grain bread has 23 mg while the same amount of white bread has just 8 mg.
Whole grains reduce inflammation and decrease your risk of heart disease, plus deliver critical fiber, B vitamins, manganese, and selenium. Switching over from products made with refined flour should be a no-brainer.
As you can see, plenty of tasty foods are high in magnesium. Many of the items on our list pair very nicely together – especially greens, avocados, and nuts.
Oatmeal is fantastic with bananas. Eat your fish over a bed of quinoa, and finish up with a delicious bite of dark chocolate. When you have avocado toast as a snack, just make sure to use wheat bread.
With a bit of creativity, getting enough magnesium is easy and so worthwhile. Over 300 vital bodily processes rely on it!
(With inputs from Foodeatsafe)