Magnesium is a major mineral that plays an important role in our bodies. It is needed for over 300 biochemical processes that help regulate bodily functions like production of energy, normal nerve and muscle function, and also plays a role in maintaining healthy bones and a healthy heart.
Magnesium also plays a role in exercise performance. It helps move the blood sugar into your muscles and dispose of lactate which builds up in the muscles during intense physical activity. It’s the oh so common “burn” you feel when you work out.
While you may not notice any symptoms of being magnesium-deficient, there are real consequences to not getting enough of this vital mineral. A magnesium deficiency is quite common in people with certain health conditions like Celiac disease or type 2 diabetes. Luckily, it’s very easy to remedy through a healthy diet.
It’s always best to try and get nutrients like magnesium from food sources whenever possible. Magnesium supplements can upset the stomach and interact with some medications. It’s always best to speak with your health care provider before taking a supplement or book an appointment with your nutritionist to work on incorporating more magnesium rich foods into your diet before opting for supplementation.
So, with that being said, let’s dive into the yummy foods that you can eat to stay healthy!
Yes, chocolate! Dark chocolate that is — make sure it’s dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa solids or higher though, which has 64mg per ounce of magnesium plus a slew of antioxidants. Choosing high-quality dark chocolate is important here — I love brands like Ghiradelli and Lindt chocolates that offer 95-100% cocao.
Avocados are one of the more nutritious foods you can eat. You get 15% of your recommended daily value of magnesium from avocados plus loads of potassium, vitamin K, and a bunch of B vitamins. As if you needed an excuse to eat more guacamole or have avocado toast for breakfast.
An easy snack time option during your busy day is nuts, and they pack a punch with their magnesium levels. While all nuts are a good option, for the most magnesium, you’ll want to munch on Brazil nuts, cashews, and almonds.
This plant group is packed with powerful nutrients that give you plenty of fiber and magnesium. Choose beans, chickpeas, peas, or lentils, and you’re on your way to better health. Plus, if you’re vegetarian or looking to go meatless even for just a meal or two, legumes will make you feel full and satiated.
Bananas are one of my favorite fruits — they’re so easy to tote around with you on the go, they’re inexpensive and keep all week long. They’re an excellent option for many reasons. You probably know they’re full of potassium, but did you know they also have plenty of magnesium too? In fact, if you start your day with a large banana, you’ll get 37mg of magnesium right off the bat.
Fill your plate with more salad or cook up some spinach, kale, turnip greens, or collard greens. These leafy veggies are so full of magnesium; all you need is just a little bit to hit your health goals. A cooked cup of spinach gives you 39% of your recommended daily intake of magnesium.
If you’re still having hard time getting enough magnesium in your diet, a supplement may be in order. However, remember to always consult with your Dr and speak with your nutritionist about your options. Don’t have a nutritionist to work with? Stop by my services page to book an appointment today!
Priscilla Askew is a Nutrition & Dietetic Technician, Registered. She loves all things related to health & fitness and blogs about her adventures in running, triathlon, and nutrition.