Foods high in magnesium are usually only the ones that are grown by farmers who check regularly for soil’s mineral composition, use mineral rich fertilizers and know how to rotate crops properly.
These are most likely to be organic farms, but still there is no guarantee that these wise farming practices are being implemented.
Factory-farmed food is almost certainly magnesium deficient because of the soil depletion, fertilizing with potash which blocks mineral absorption, watering with fluoridated water which binds magnesium and prevents it from being absorbed too, and finally refining which takes out 80-99% of any present magnesium.
Unfortunately, there is no requirement for minimum magnesium amounts in foods. There is no requirement to put it on labels either, so you will never find magnesium content on any labels, unlike calcium and iron, for example.
If you do see magnesium on a label, it is only because the manufacturer chose to put it there. These are usually manufacturers of organic foods high in magnesium.
Since there is no way to determine where and in what soil a particular batch was grown, the below table of foods high in magnesium should only serve as a general guideline in your food choices.
To save you time trying to figure out magnesium content in reasonable serving sizes I have decided to use most common serving sizes as a point of reference, simply because standardized tables (all foods per 3.5 oz. or per 1 cup) are not particularly helpful – one cannot possibly eat 1 cup of rice bran or 3.5 oz. of kelp a day, even though they are considered the highest in magnesium.
|Food||Serving size||Magnesium, mg||RDA|
|Rice bran, crude||1/4 cup||231||58%|
|Pumpkin seeds||1/4 cup||185||46%|
|Halibut, baked||1/2 fillet or 6 oz.||170||43%|
|Amaranth, cooked||1 cup||160||40%|
|Black rice, cooked||1 cup||131||33%|
|Quinoa, cooked||1 cup||118||30%|
|White beans, cooked||1 cup||113||28%|
|Sesame seeds||1/4 cup||111||28%|
|Navy beans, cooked||1 cup||96||24%|
|Chia seeds||2 tablespoons||92||23%|
|Wheat bran, crude||1/4 cup||89||22%|
|Buckwheat, cooked||1 cup||86||21%|
|Brown rice, cooked||1 cup||86||21%|
|Pinto beans, cooked||1 cup||86||21%|
|Mackerel, baked||1 fillet or 3 oz.||85||21%|
|Pine nuts||1/4 cup||85||21%|
|Pickpeas, cooked||1 cup||79||20%|
|Spinach, cooked||1/2 cup||79||20%|
|Swiss chard, cooked||1/2 cup||75||19%|
|Lentils, cooked||1 cup||71||18%||Avocado, large||1 fruit||70||18%|
|Wheat germ, crude||1/4 cup||69||17%|
|Brazil nuts||7 nuts||64||16%|
|Oats, cooked||1 cup||63||16%|
|Coconut water*||1 cup||60||15%|
|Salmon, wild, baked||1/2 fillet or 5 oz.||57||14%|
|Figs, dried||6 fruits||56||14%|
|Cocoa powder||2 tablespoons||54||14%|
|Artichoke, medium||1 fruit||50||13%|
|Coconut meat, dried||1/4 cup||50||13%|
|Beet greens, cooked||1/2 cup||49||12%|
|Sunflower seeds||1/4 cup||43||11%|
|Kelp powder||1 teaspoon||36||9%|
* differs by brand, check the label.
Sources: the USDA National Nutrient Database, Linus Pauling Institute, “The Magnesium Miracle” by Dr. Carolyn Dean, “The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs” by Nicola Reavley, www.nutritiondata.com and nutrient labels on foods in our kitchen.
Such foods as kelp, cocoa powder, molasses and sunflower seeds are always on top of all lists of foods high in magnesium. You can see now that they ended up at the bottom after the serving size adjustment.
In addition, keep in mind the following facts about dietary magnesium when trying to incorporate more of this important glutathione cofactor into your diet:
If you are considering a magnesium supplement, for additional help visit our page Types of Magnesium Supplements.