Magnesium is an extremely important mineral.
It’s involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in your body and helps you maintain good health.
Unfortunately, many people don’t reach the recommended daily intake of 400 mg (1).
However, eating foods high in magnesium can help you meet the daily requirement.
Magnesium-rich foods include dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, legumes, tofu, seeds, whole grains, fatty fish, bananas and leafy greens.
Here are 10 healthy foods that are high in magnesium.
1. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is as healthy as it is delicious.
It’s very rich in magnesium, with 64 mg in a 1-ounce (28 gram) serving. This amounts to 16% of the recommended daily intake (RDI).
Dark chocolate is also in high in iron, copper and manganese, and it contains prebiotic fiber that feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut.
It’s also loaded with beneficial antioxidants. These are nutrients that neutralize free radicals, harmful molecules that can damage your cells and lead to disease.
It’s especially beneficial for heart health because it protects the cells lining your arteries and keeps your LDL cholesterol from becoming damaged.
To make the most of these benefits, choose chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa solids. A higher percentage is even better.
Bottom Line: A serving of dark chocolate provides 16% of the RDI for magnesium. It is also beneficial for gut health and heart health, and is loaded with antioxidants.
The avocado is an incredibly nutritious fruit and a tasty source of magnesium. One medium avocado provides 58 mg of magnesium, which is 15% of the RDI (7).
Avocados are also high in potassium, B-vitamins and vitamin K. And unlike most fruits, they’re high in fat — especially heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
In addition, avocado is an excellent source of fiber. In fact, 13 of the 17 grams of carbs in an avocado come from fiber, making it very low in digestible carbs.
Studies have shown that consuming avocados can reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol levels and increase feelings of fullness after meals.
Bottom Line: A medium avocado provides 15% of the RDI for magnesium. Avocados fight inflammation, improve cholesterol levels, increase fullness and are packed with several other nutrients.
Nuts are nutritious, tasty and versatile.
Several types are high in magnesium, including almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts.
For instance, a 1-oz (28-gram) serving of cashews contains 82 mg of magnesium, or 20% of the RDI.
Most nuts are also a good source of fiber and monounsaturated fat, and have been shown to improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels in diabetics.
Brazil nuts are also extremely high in selenium. In fact, just two Brazil nuts provide more than 100% of the RDI for selenium.
Additionally, nuts are anti-inflammatory foods, are beneficial for heart health and can reduce appetite when eaten as snacks.
Bottom Line: Cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts are high in magnesium. A single serving of cashews provides 20% of the recommended daily intake.
Legumes are a family of nutrient-dense plants that include lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas and soybeans.
They’re very rich in many different nutrients, including magnesium.
For instance, a 1-cup serving of cooked black beans contains an impressive 120 mg of magnesium, which is 30% of the RDI.
Legumes are also high in potassium and iron, and they’re a major source of protein for vegetarians.
Because legumes are rich in fiber and have a low glycemic index, they may lower cholesterol, improve blood sugar control and decrease heart disease risk.
A fermented soybean product known as natto is considered the best source of vitamin K2, which is important for bone health.
Bottom Line: Legumes are magnesium-rich foods. For example, a 1-cup serving of black beans contains 30% of the RDI.
Tofu is often a staple food in vegetarian diets due to its high protein content. It’s made by pressing soybean milk into soft white curds and is also known as “bean curd.”
A 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving has 53 mg of magnesium, which is 13% of the RDI.
One serving also provides 10 grams of protein and 10% or more of the RDI for calcium, iron, manganese and selenium.
Additionally, some studies suggest that eating tofu may protect the cells lining your arteries and reduce your risk of stomach cancer.
Bottom Line: A serving of tofu provides 13% of the RDI for magnesium. It is also a good source of protein and several other nutrients.
Seeds are incredibly healthy.
Many contain high amounts of magnesium, including flax, pumpkin and chia seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are a particularly good source, with 150 mg in a 1-oz (28-gram) serving.
This amounts to a whopping 37% of the recommended daily intake.
In addition, seeds are rich in iron, monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids.
What’s more, they’re extremely high in fiber. In fact, nearly all of the carbs in seeds come from fiber.
They also contain antioxidants, which protect your cells from harmful free radicals produced during metabolism.
Flaxseeds have also been shown to reduce cholesterol and may have benefits against breast cancer.
Bottom Line: Most seeds are rich in magnesium. A 1-ounce serving of pumpkin seeds contains a whopping 37% of the RDI.
7. Whole Grains
Grains include wheat oats and barley, plus pseudocereals like buckwheat and quinoa.
When grains are whole, they are excellent sources of many nutrients, including magnesium.
A 1-oz serving of dry buckwheat contains 65 mg of magnesium, which is 16% of the RDI.
Many whole grains are also high in B vitamins, selenium, manganese and fiber.
In controlled studies, whole grains have been shown to reduce inflammation and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Pseudocereals like buckwheat and quinoa are higher in protein and antioxidants than traditional grains like corn and wheat.
What’s more, they do not contain gluten, so people who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can enjoy them too.
Bottom Line: Whole grains are high in many nutrients. A 1-oz serving of dry buckwheat provides 16% of the RDI for magnesium.
8. Some Fatty Fish
Fish, especially fatty fish, is incredibly nutritious.
Many types of fish are high in magnesium. These include salmon, mackerel and halibut.
Half a fillet (178 grams) of salmon contains 53 mg of magnesium, which is 13% of the RDI.
It also provides an impressive 39 grams of high-quality protein.
Fish is also rich in potassium, selenium, B-vitamins and various other nutrients.
A high intake of fatty fish has been linked to a decreased risk of several chronic diseases, particularly heart disease.
These benefits have been attributed to the high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids.
Bottom Line: Fatty fish is exceptionally nutritious and a great source of magnesium and other nutrients. Half a fillet of salmon provides 13% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium.
Bananas are among the most popular fruits in the world.
They are best known for their high potassium content, which can lower blood pressure and is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.
But you may not have heard that bananas are also very high in magnesium. One large banana contains 37 mg, or 9% of the RDI.
Bananas also provide vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and fiber.
Ripe bananas are higher in sugar and carbs than most other fruits, so they may not be suitable for people with diabetes.
However, when bananas are unripe, a large portion of their carbs are resistant starch, which doesn’t get digested and absorbed.
Instead of raising blood sugar levels, resistant starch may actually lower them and may also reduce inflammation and improve gut health.
Bottom Line: Bananas are a good source of several nutrients. One large banana has 9% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium.
10. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are extremely healthy, and many are rich in magnesium.
Greens with significant amounts of magnesium include kale, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens and mustard greens.
For instance, a 1-cup serving of cooked spinach has 157 mg of magnesium, or 39% of the RDI.
In addition, they’re an excellent source of several nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and manganese.
Leafy greens also contain all sorts of beneficial plant compounds, which help protect your cells from damage and may reduce cancer risk.
Bottom Line: Leafy greens are a very good source of many nutrients, including magnesium. A 1-cup serving of cooked spinach provides 39% of the RDI, which is very high.
Take Home Message
Magnesium is an important mineral that you may not be getting enough of.
Thankfully, there are lots of delicious foods you can add to your diet that will give you all the magnesium you need.
If you regularly eat foods that are high in magnesium, you’ll improve your health and reduce your risk of disease.
*Article originally appeared on Authority Nutrition.