10 Natural Sources of Magnesium

Faryal Panhwar Jan 13 2015

It’s safe to say that magnesium is the most overlooked mineral yet the single most important nutrient for human health. Still, doctors and nutritionists haven’t found a commercialized way to keep it in the back of our minds (like potassium and bananas or vitamin A and carrots). This is the biggest reason for magnesium deficiency to be one of the most common deficiencies in nutrition.

What is Magnesium, Exactly?

Bear with me: magnesium is an alkaline earth metal that, in its free form, isn’t found naturally on Earth because of its exceedingly reactive quality. The metal is mainly acquired from the electrolysis of magnesium salts found in brine, a specific solution of salt in water. It is a macro-mineral (needed by the body in large amounts) that, when broken down in the body, splits into positively charged ions to function accordingly.

Why Do You Need It?

Magnesium is crucial for approximately 300 enzyme-driven biochemical reactions that happen in the body on a near constant basis. Magnesium is an essential nutrient in providing energy production, electrolyte balance, proper functioning of muscles, and the uptake of oxygen.

Magnesium acts as an enzyme co-factor. Enzymes are main supporters in life performing all the necessary bodily functions. But enzymes can’t bring their importance to the table without the help of enzyme co-factors. Enzyme co-factors act as keys to start and stop enzymatic activity. They regulate the duration of action of each reaction carried out by enzymes to maintain homeostasis. They are crucial when it comes to:

  • Regulating cholesterol production
  • Breaking down fat and glucose
  • Producing antioxidants, more enzymes, and proteins
  • Creating RNA and DNA, the important structures that form cells in the body

Incorporate Magnesium In Your Diet

Including magnesium in your diet is very important not only because it is essential for the bodily functions, but also because unlike other nutrients it cannot be produced in the body. Here are some easy-to-find foods that’ll keep you quenched with magnesium!

  1. Nuts and Seeds

Snacking on just half a cup of pumpkin seeds fulfills the daily requirement for magnesium.  Other nuts and seeds include sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pine nuts.

113g (1/2 a cup) has 606mg of magnesium

  • Fish

Apart from being a great source of omega-3 fats and vitamin D, fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are rich in magnesium. Be sure to have fish in your meal at least once a week.

3 ounces (85g) have approximately 82mg of magnesium.

  • Avocado

Avocados are one of the most versatile fruits because they’re loaded with multivitamins. Add just one sliced and diced avocado to your salad and you’ll easily get 15% (58mg) of the recommended amount of magnesium.

  • Bananas

This portable breakfast is a quick and easy way to help yourself to some magnesium! Just pack one medium-sized banana in your bag to provide yourself with 32mg of magnesium.

  • Dark Chocolate

As if we needed another reason to eat chocolate. One square of this sweet stuff has 95mg of magnesium. That’s 24% of your daily intake.

  • Low-Fat Yogurt

When it comes to yogurt you’ll get a healthy duo of magnesium and calcium.

One container of yogurt contains about 19mg of magnesium. In fact, almost all milk products are recommended for consuming an adequate amount of magnesium.

  • Dry Fruit

A little more than a handful of this fun food gives about 10% of the magnesium we need.

½ a cup (75g) has 51mg of magnesium.

  • Peanut Butter

One cup (258g) has 397mg of magnesium, which is 99% of the magnesium we need! But this isn’t an excuse to be chowing down on peanut butter right out of the jar, for it has about 100 calories in just one tablespoon.

  • Strawberries

A sweet serving of these fruits in a cup has 19mg of magnesium. It isn’t a lot of magnesium, but who can have just one cup?

  • Peas

Stop pushing those peas in the corner of your plate. When eating matar pulao or matar keema, eat all of it. One cup of peas has about 15mg of magnesium.

Faryal Panhwar

Faryal Panhwar:

Faryal is currently a second year M.B.B.S student at Ziauddin University. She is an active participate in the Model UN where her passion for debate has received her several delegate awards. Seeking to discover the writer in herself Faryal is now working as a freelance writer for HTV.