Magnesium 101

The Top 167 Magnesium-Rich Foods (Categorized by Type)

Magnesium is an essential mineral for good health, but most of us don’t get nearly as much as we need. One way to boost your magnesium levels is to make sure you’re getting lots in your diet, but which foods have the most magnesium? Read on to find out why we need magnesium, how much magnesium is in your favorite foods, and which foods you should be eating to maximize your magnesium intake. 

Why do I need magnesium in my diet?

Magnesium is one of the 21 essential minerals your body needs for optimal health and function. It’s classed as an electrolyte, or an electrically charged mineral, that powers your body’s “electrical circuit”. That means it’s a key player in functions like: 

  • Heartbeat, rhythm, and function 
  • Blood pressure regulation
  • Nerve impulses 
  • Muscle contraction 
  • Nerve-muscle communication

These are just a few of magnesium’s many jobs. In fact, it’s involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body, also relating to things like: 

  • Bone development and structure 
  • Blood sugar control 
  • Protein synthesis (creation)
  • DNA and RNA synthesis 
  • Energy production
  • Immune function
  • Antioxidant production

Magnesium also helps other minerals and electrolytes, like calcium, to perform their own essential functions. 

Your body can’t produce its own magnesium, which is why you need to get plenty in your diet. The National Institute of Health recommends:

Birth to 6 months30 mg*30 mg*
7–12 months75 mg*75 mg*
1–3 years80 mg80 mg
4–8 years130 mg130 mg
9–13 years240 mg240 mg
14–18 years410 mg360 mg
19–30 years400 mg310 mg
31–50 years420 mg320 mg
51+ years420 mg320 mg

*Adequate Intake (AI)

Can I get enough magnesium from food? 

Theoretically, your diet should provide all the magnesium you need and then some. There are various reasons why that might not happen though, with the most obvious being that you simply don’t eat enough magnesium-rich foods (more on those in a sec!).  

There’s also the issue of food quality. Certain plant foods, like leafy green vegetables and grains, are among the best sources of dietary magnesium. Unfortunately, the magnesium content of plants has seriously declined in recent decades, partly due to poor soil quality and contamination. And then you have grains like wheat, which lose most of their magnesium content if they’re refined and bleached. By the time your food reaches your plate, then, the magnesium content can be massively depleted.  

In some cases, your other dietary choices might affect how much magnesium you get from your food. For example, if you’re eating too much calcium, your body won’t absorb the magnesium from your food properly. If you’re not eating enough of certain nutrients like selenium and vitamin B6, you won’t be able to use magnesium effectively. And if you’re eating too much protein, you’ll lose too much magnesium in your urine. 

For that reason, it’s really important to try to eat a well-balanced diet on the whole. That way, you can make sure that your body really is making the most of all the magnesium you’re getting from your food.

Can I consume too much magnesium from food? 

In short, no. The threshold for magnesium toxicity is way, way higher than the recommended daily intake, so it would be really difficult to reach it by eating magnesium-rich food. We’re talking buckets of spinach! But even if you did try, your body is very efficient at filtering out any magnesium it doesn’t need through the urine. True hypermagnesemia (too much magnesium in the body) is rare and it’s usually the result of a medical condition, so fill your boots! 

Which foods have the most magnesium?

In this section, we’ve created an at-a-glance master list of the magnesium content in your favorite foods and drinks. We’ve also highlighted the best foods to maximize the magnesium on your plate, along with some helpful tips and info.

The values given are taken directly from McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset, the official nutrient reference guide used by Public Health England. Some of the values you’ll see in the article differ from other sources online, but in order to keep it consistent and accurate, we’ve gone with the official line. However, this is just a guide, so feel free to do your own research too!


Top magnesium-rich vegetables: leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. 

Leafy green vegetables are packed with magnesium. Just a handful of baby spinach (30g) would give you nearly 40mg of magnesium, or about 13% NRV. Pop a handful or two in your smoothies and sauces to get even more in your diet.

Other great sources include kale, Swiss chard, and mustard greens. As a bonus, these leafy greens are bursting with other healthy nutrients, too. They’re excellent sources of vitamins A, C, and K, along with minerals like iron and manganese. 

As you’ll notice, some vegetables have different magnesium levels depending on whether they’re cooked or raw. That’s because, in some vegetables (e.g spinach), cooking makes more of the magnesium content available, while in others (e.g. kale), magnesium is lost during the cooking process. Using these two leafy greens as an example, then, you could maximize your magnesium by using spinach in cooked dishes and kale in raw dishes.

VegetableMagnesium per 1 oz (28g)Magnesium per 3.5 oz (100g)
Baby spinach (cooked)31.36112
Swiss chard (cooked)24.0886
Swiss chard (raw)22.6881
Baby spinach (raw)22.4080
Kale (raw)13.1647
Okra (cooked)11.7642
Plantain (cooked)9.2433
Peas (cooked)8.1229
Baked potato with skin7.5627
Aubergine (roasted)7.5627
Cabbage (cooked)6.7224
Baked sweet potato with skin6.4423
Sweetcorn (cooked)6.1622
Green olives6.1622
Broccoli (steamed)5.8821
Spring onions5.6020
Brussels sprouts (cooked)4.7617
Courgette (cooked)4.4816
Pak choi (steamed)4.4816
Asparagus (grilled)4.2015
Shiitake mushrooms (cooked)3.9214
Beansprouts (cooked)3.9214
Kale (cooked)3.6413
Cauliflower (cooked)3.3612
White mushrooms (cooked)3.3612
Tomatoes (cooked or raw)3.3612
Peppers (cooked or raw)3.0811
Yellow onion (cooked)3.0811
Lettuce (raw)2.529
Carrots (raw)2.529
Carrots (cooked)1.686
Leeks (cooked)1.405


Top sources of magnesium-rich fruit: bananas, avocados, and dried fruits. 

Bananas are a great magnesium-boosting snack, with one large banana (130g) bringing 35mg of magnesium and nearly 12% NRV. They’re also rich in potassium, fiber, and vitamins B6 and C. 

Meanwhile, your average avocado (150g) is packing even more magnesium at 40.5mg, or nearly 14% NRV. Like bananas, they’re high in potassium, fiber, and B vitamins. They’re also rich in vitamin K and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Banana avocado smoothie, anyone?

A word of warning: dried fruits also tend to have magnesium content, but keep in mind that they’re also really high in sugar and might be best enjoyed in moderation.

VegetableMagnesium per 1 oz (28g)Magnesium per 3.5 oz (100g)
Medjool dates15.1254
Kiwi fruit3.6413

Meat & Meat Alternatives

Top sources of meat and meat alternatives high in magnesium: tofu, tempeh, and other meat alternatives.  

In this category, you’ll see that meat doesn’t even make the top four best magnesium sources! The top spots go to tempeh and tofu, two soy-based meat alternatives with a whopping 70 and 67mg of magnesium (23 and 22% NRV) per 100g serving respectively. These veggie staples are also great sources of plant protein and other minerals like calcium, iron, and selenium. 

That’s great news for vegetarians and vegans, but what about meat eaters? If you’re a die-hard carnivore, don’t worry — you don’t have to give up meat! In fact, steak comes high up the list as far as magnesium content goes. Overall, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, and lamb are all decent magnesium sources, too. However, if you really want to give your magnesium levels a boost, try a few meat-free days a week and swap the occasional pork or beef sausage — the lowest on the list — for the much higher veggie sausage.

VegetableMagnesium per 1 oz (28g)Magnesium per 3.5 oz (100g)
Tempeh (cooked)19.6070
Tofu (cooked)18.7667
Veggie sausages15.1254
Pork loin chops/steaks (grilled)9.2433
Sirloin steak8.9632
Fillet steak7.5627
Chicken (roasted)7.2826
Jackfruit (raw)7.0025
Pork mince (stewed)5.8821
Pork belly (roasted)5.6020
Bacon (grilled)5.6020
Beef sausages5.3219
Pork sausages4.2015

Fish & Seafood

Top sources of fish high in magnesium: fatty fish. 

Lots of fish and seafood are high in magnesium, but fatty fish like salom are particularly healthy.

Along with other fatty fish like pollock, mackerel, and halibut, salmon is also rich in omega-3 oils, potassium, selenium, and B vitamins. That’s why even though some seafood like shrimp is higher on the list, fatty fish are considered the healthier sources of magnesium. 

Note that the magnesium content of fish varies widely. We’ve included the minimum magnesium content, but wild-caught (as opposed to farmed) fish tend to have more. Location can make a difference too, with the Pacific chinook salmon having almost three times the magnesium content of Atlantic salmon.

VegetableMagnesium per 1 oz (28g)Magnesium per 3.5 oz (100g)
Alaskan pollock (baked or steamed)14.0050
Herring (grilled)11.7642
Tinned sardines11.7642
Fresh tuna (baked)11.4841
Shrimp (boiled)10.9239
Scallops (steamed)10.6438
Mackerel (smoked or grilled)10.6438
Prawns (cooked)10.0836
Wild salmon (baked, grilled or steamed)9.8035
Sea bass (baked)9.8035
Cod (grilled)9.8035
Haddock (grilled)9.2433
Calamari (battered)9.2433
Smoked salmon8.9632
Trout (steamed)8.6831
Halibut (grilled)8.1229
Hake (grilled)7.8428
Canned tuna7.5627
Plaice (baked)7.5627


Top sources of magnesium-rich grain: whole grains. 

The top half of this list is dominated by brown and whole wheat grains, while the lower half is mostly white. That’s because the process of refining whole grains strips them of their fibrous coating, where most of the magnesium is found. 

You can more than double your magnesium by simply swapping white pasta, bread, and rice for brown or wholegrain products. For baked goods and cooking, switch up your white flour for brown, wholemeal, or even better, rye flour, to up your magnesium even more. You can also switch those breakfast cornflakes for shredded wheat, bran cereal, muesli, or porridge oats, all of which have at least eight times the magnesium.

VegetableMagnesium per 1 oz (28g)Magnesium per 3.5 oz (100g)
Quinoa (dry)58.80210
Bran cereal33.88121
Brown basmati rice (dry)33.32119
Brown wholegrain rice (dry)32.48116
Porridge oats31.92114
Brown chapati flour30.80110
Wild rice (raw)30.24108
Whole wheat pasta (dry)28.84103
Swiss muesli25.7692
Shredded Wheat24.0886
Rye flour23.8085
Wholemeal wheat flour23.2483
Whole wheat bread22.9682
Brown wheat flour20.1672
Egg noodles (dry)13.7249
White pasta (dry)13.1647
Brown bread12.6045
Coco Pops/Rice Krispies11.4841
White long-grain rice (dry)7.0025
White wheat flour7.0025
White bread6.1622
White pita bread6.1622
White basmati rice (dry)5.8821
Naan bread5.8821

Eggs & Dairy

Yoghurt is a decent source of magnesium, but soy yogurt gives you almost twice as much without sacrificing protein. And not that we need an excuse to load up on cheese, but you can add an extra-large sprinkle of high-magnesium parmesan to your (whole wheat!) pasta and enjoy those halloumi fries guilt-free!

VegetableMagnesium per 1 oz (28g)Magnesium per 3.5 oz (100g)
Parmesan cheese11.4841
Plain yogurt11.2040
Halloumi cheese11.2040
Emmental cheese10.6438
Gruyere cheese10.3637
Edam cheese9.5234
Cheddar cheese8.1229
Feta cheese5.6020
Greek yogurt4.4816
Goat’s cheese3.9214
Greek yoghurt3.6413
Cottage cheese3.6413
Single cream2.248


Top sources of legumes high in magnesium: are soya beans and edamame beans.

Legumes are a super-nutritious plant food family that includes beans, lentils, and peas. The highest magnesium content is found in dried soya beans, which make a great snack either raw or roasted. Second is edamame beans, which are immature soya beans that come in the pod. 

For the other legumes on the list, you’ll see that we’ve provided the magnesium content of the cooked dish. Unfortunately, a lot of magnesium is lost during cooking, but most legumes can’t be eaten raw. That said, the cooked versions still contain plenty of magnesium, not to mention other nutrients like potassium, iron, fiber, and vitamin K, so get stuck in!

VegetableMagnesium per 1 oz (28g)Magnesium per 3.5 oz (100g)
Soya beans (dried)70.00250
Edamame beans (cooked)18.2065
Soya beans (cooked)17.6463
Chickpeas (cooked)12.3244
Butter beans (cooked)12.0443
Kidney beans (cooked)11.2040
Black beans (cooked)11.2040
Cannellini beans (cooked)9.2433
Baked beans8.4030
Green/brown lentils (cooked)7.0025
Red lentils (cooked)5.0418

Nuts & Seeds

Top sources of magnesium-rich nuts and seeds: Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and flaxseeds. 

Nuts and seeds are hands-down one of the best magnesium sources. For seeds, choose sesame, sunflower, chia, poppy, and flaxseed for the biggest boost. For nuts, reach for Brazils, cashews, or almonds (that includes nut butter, too!). 

Considering their tiny size, nuts, and seeds are giant powerhouses of nutritious goodness. As well as magnesium, they’re rich in iron, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and more. 

Nuts are high in fat so they’re best snacked on in moderation, but you can go wild with seeds! A few handfuls as a snack, sprinkled on your porridge, mixed in with a salad, blended into smoothies… it all adds up to a great magnesium boost.

VegetableMagnesium per 1 oz (28g)Magnesium per 3.5 oz (100g)
Brazil nuts114.80410
Sunflower seeds109.20390
Sesame seeds103.60370
Chia seeds93.80335
Poppy seeds92.40330
Pumpkin seeds75.60270
Pine nuts75.60270
Pecan nuts36.40130
Pistachio nuts36.40130


Top sources of magnesium-rich snacks: dark chocolate. 

If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll be thrilled to see chocolate at the top of this list! Dark chocolate is by far the best magnesium source compared to milk and white, so you’ll get the most benefit from swapping to chocolate with at least 60% cocoa content (the higher the better!). And as if you needed another reason to enjoy it, dark chocolate is also loaded with iron, copper, manganese, flavonols, and antioxidants.

If you’re more of a savory fan, rye crisp bread is an excellent way to satisfy the crunch craving while getting more magnesium. Top them with hummus or peanut butter and sprinkle on some seeds for an even bigger boost.

VegetableMagnesium per 1 oz (28g)Magnesium per 3.5 oz (100g)
Dark chocolate (70-85% cocoa)63.84228
Dark chocolate (60-69%) cocoa)63.28226
Rye crispbread24.9289
Milk chocolate17.6463
White chocolate3.3612


Magnesium from drinks — also counts towards your daily total. We’ve put together a separate article on drinks high in magnesium.

What if you don’t get enough magnesium from food? 

As you can see, you have tons of options for magnesium-rich foods. But what if you still find it hard to eat enough of them? Or do you have a health condition that makes it hard to use the magnesium you’re getting? 

Hypomagnesemia, or magnesium deficiency, is actually a lot more common than many people realize. It’s estimated that up to 50% of the population is not getting enough magnesium in their diets – this doesn’t necessarily imply that all of these individuals are magnesium deficient.

A frank deficiency is diagnosed when magnesium levels fall outside the lower end of the normal range. However, we now know that the ill effects of magnesium deficiency start long before that point when the person is technically still within the “healthy” range. This is called a subclinical deficiency, and a substantial number of people are thought to be living with it — with no idea they have it. 

Subclinical deficiency can:

How can I tell if I’m deficient? 

Because subclinical deficiency is usually silent, it’s hard to know for sure if you’re too low on magnesium. We recommend you read our articles on how to test for magnesium deficiency at home and you can also look out for these telltale signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness 
  • Muscle cramps, stiffness, or spasms
  • Eye twitches
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Nausea 
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Irregular heartbeat or palpitations (a “fluttering” sensation in your chest)
  • Anxiety, depression, or low mood
  • Stress

What do I do if I think I’m deficient? 

To start, track your eating habits for a week or two. Are you getting not just enough magnesium, but also the right amounts of other nutrients like calcium and protein? 

If not, refer back to our list of magnesium-rich foods and do your best to squeeze as much into your regular diet as possible. Try to get a good variety across different food groups, as this will ensure you get the other essential vitamins and minerals you need, too. Wherever possible, go for organic products as these tend to be less affected by things like soil contamination and demineralization. 

When should I take a magnesium supplement? 

If you think you’re low on magnesium, a supplement could also help. There are two main reasons you might benefit. 

  1. You can’t get enough magnesium through your diet because:
    • You have certain difficulties with food (e.g. allergies, restrictions, eating disorders).
    • You don’t have access to quality food.
    • You’re simply finding it hard to change your diet.
  1. You get enough magnesium in your diet, but you have a health condition or take medication that interferes with your ability to absorb or use magnesium. Examples of health conditions include diabetes, coeliac disease, ulcerative colitis, or alcoholism. Medications include diuretics, antibiotics, immunosuppressants, and asthma medications. 

In both cases, magnesium supplements can top up your dietary magnesium intake and help you to meet your daily needs. Even better, they’re usually formulated with other healthy ingredients like amino acids, each with its own additional benefits. Learn more about the different types of magnesium and their individual benefits.