Although there are many magnesium-rich foods, magnesium deficiencies are very common. Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body, playing an essential role in hundreds of biochemical reactions. Keep reading to learn about the importance of magnesium and how to increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods.
Why is Dietary Magnesium Important?
Magnesium is an essential mineral that is involved in over 600 different reactions within the body – this is why it is important to include foods with magnesium in your diet. This mineral plays a role in energy production and protein synthesis – it also supports gene maintenance through the synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA.
Magnesium is involved in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, and it is important for nervous system regulation as well. It is particularly beneficial in regulating neurotransmitters, facilitating the transmission of nerve signals between the brain and other parts of the body. On top of that, magnesium affects the elasticity of the skin, supports the collagen-synthesis process and supplies the body with enough antioxidants that have been found to play a significant role in cellulite management.
What is the Daily Recommended Allowance?
About 60% of the magnesium in your body is found in your bones – the rest is stored in your muscles, fluids, and soft tissues. The recommended daily allowance for magnesium varies depending on age and sex, as well as other factors. For adult men over the age of 31, the recommended daily dosage is about 420 mg. For women of the same age, it is about 320 mg. The best way to reach this recommended daily dosage is to consume plenty of foods high in magnesium.
Magnesium Deficiencies and How to Prevent Them
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as many as 50% of the American population is deficient in magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can cause a wide variety of symptoms including the following:
- Changes in appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety and depression
- Muscle cramps or spasms
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Low energy levels
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Seizures or convulsions
- Frequent headaches
Increasing your intake of foods containing magnesium is one of the easiest ways to address a deficiency. Another option is to take oral magnesium supplements or to use a topical magnesium chloride oil. Magnesium oil is rapidly absorbed by the body and can help resolve many of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency such as those listed above.
The Top 8 Magnesium-Rich Foods to Include in Your Diet
In addition to taking oral magnesium supplements and using magnesium chloride oil, you should be sure to include food sources of magnesium in your diet to prevent or treat a deficiency. Here are the top 8 foods rich in magnesium that you should start eating:
In addition to other leafy greens like kale and swiss chard, spinach is an excellent source of magnesium. Cooked spinach in particular contains 157 mg per cup which is nearly 40% of your recommended daily value.
2) Pumpkin Seeds
Dried pumpkin seeds contain about 92 mg per two-tablespoon serving. Pumpkin seeds are also a healthy source of healthy fats and antioxidants.
3) Dark Chocolate
You may not think of chocolate as a health food, but dark chocolate is rich in magnesium (about 95 mg per square) as well as antioxidants and heart-healthy flavanols.
An ounce of almonds contains about 75 mg of magnesium, close to 20% of your recommended daily value. Other magnesium-rich nuts include cashews and peanuts.
5) Black Beans
A rich source of plant protein and dietary fiber, black beans are also good food sources of magnesium. A half cup of cooked black beans contains 60 mg of magnesium.
In addition to being loaded with healthy fats, avocado is on the list for magnesium-rich foods as well – it contains about 58 mg per medium avocado.
Though you may be more familiar with bananas as a rich source of potassium, they also contain about 8% your daily value for magnesium per medium banana (about 32 mg).
Dried figs may not be the first snack you reach for, but they are very rich in magnesium (as are raisins). A half-cup serving contains about 50 mg, or 13% your daily recommended value.
In addition to adding more magnesium-rich foods to your diet, you should consider using a magnesium oil spray for rapid absorption. Try Seven Minerals USP Grade Magnesium Oil in a 12-ounce bottle or purchase the Seven Minerals’ Full MG Pack to receive the same bottle with the addition of a 2-ounce travel size and a bag of magnesium chloride bath flakes.