The Ultimate Guide to Magnesium-Rich Foods

magnesium-rich foods chart

Download the high-res image file here.

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 favourite foods, and which foods you should be eating to maximise your magnesium intake. 

Why do I need magnesium in my diet?

Magnesium is one of 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 NHS recommends that men aim to get 300mg of magnesium per day, while women should aim for 270mg. However, that doesn’t always happen…

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? List of 264 Foods…

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

A few things to note before you dive in…

1. All of the values given show the magnesium content (mg) per 100mg/ml of each item. So when you’re looking at a specific food, drink or ingredient, keep your typical serving size in mind. For example, peanuts have far more magnesium per 100 grams than a sirloin steak (370mg vs 32mg), but the steak weighs about 200g (64mg of magnesium), while a serving of peanuts is typically about 20g (42mg). (Stating the obvious, we know, but it’s easy to miss these things at a glance!)

2. 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!

3. %NRV stands for Nutrient Reference Value and represents the percentage of your daily needs that a particular serving provides. 

Vegetables

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 maximise your magnesium by using spinach in cooked dishes and kale in raw dishes. 

VegetableMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Baby spinach (cooked)112
Swiss chard (cooked)86
Swiss chard (raw)81
Baby spinach (raw)80
Kale (raw)47
Okra (cooked)42
Plantain (cooked)33
Peas (cooked)29
Baked potato with skin 27
Artichoke27
Aubergine (roasted)27
Cabbage (cooked)24
Baked sweet potato with skin 23
Parsnip 23
Sweetcorn (cooked)22
Green olives22
Broccoli (steamed)21
Spring onions20
Brussel sprouts (cooked)17
Courgette (cooked)16
Pak choi (steamed)16
Asparagus (grilled)15
Shiitake mushrooms (cooked)14
Beansprouts (cooked)14
Kale (cooked)13
Cauliflower (cooked)12
White mushrooms (cooked)12
Tomatoes (cooked or raw)12
Peppers (cooked or raw)11
Yellow onion (cooked)11
Lettuce (raw)9
Carrots (raw)9
Carrots (cooked)6
Leeks (cooked)5

Fruit

Top sources of magnesium-rich fruit: bananas, avocados, 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, fibre, 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, fibre 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.

FruitMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Medjool dates54
Coconut 41
Raisins32
Avocado27
Banana27
Dates 24
Blackberries18
Figs17
Papaya17
Raspberries16
Kiwi fruit13
Strawberries12
Pineapple11
Apricot11
Mango9
Orange 8
Watermelon8
Grapes7
Blueberries5
Apple4

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. 

Meat & Meat AlternativeMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Tempeh (cooked)70
Tofu (cooked)67
Veggie sausages54
Quorn37
Pork loin chops/steaks (grilled)33
Sirloin steak 32
Fillet steak 27
Turkey 27
Chicken (roasted)26
Jackfruit (raw)25
Lamb 25
Ham24
Beef 23
Pork mince (stewed)21
Pork belly (roasted)20
Duck 20
Bacon (grilled)20
Beef sausages19
Pork sausages15

Fish & Seafood

Top sources of fish high in magnesium: fatty fish. 

Lots of fish and seafood are high in magnesium, but fatty fish are particularly healthy. Take salmon, for example, which packs a minimum of 34mg of magnesium into every 100g serving. That means a typical 200g fillet gives you at least 68mg, or almost a quarter of your %NRV. 

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 are 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 at 122mg per 100g. 

FishMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Alaskan pollock (baked or steamed)50
Herring (grilled)42
Tinned sardines42
Fresh tuna (baked)41
Shrimp (boiled)39
Scallops (steamed)38
Mackerel (smoked or grilled)38
Prawns (cooked)36
Wild salmon (baked, grilled or steamed)35
Sea bass (baked)35
Cod (grilled)35
Haddock (grilled)33
Calamari (battered)33
Smoked salmon32
Trout (steamed)31
Halibut (grilled)29
Hake (grilled)28
Canned tuna27
Plaice (baked)27

Grains

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.

GrainMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Quinoa (dry)210
Bran cereal121
Brown basmati rice (dry)119
Brown wholegrain rice (dry)116
Porridge oats114
Brown chapati flour110
Wild rice (raw)108
Whole wheat pasta (dry)103
Swiss muesli92
Shredded Wheat86
Rye flour85
Wholemeal wheat flour83
Whole wheat bread82
Brown wheat flour 72
Egg noodles (dry)49
White pasta (dry)47
Brown bread45
Coco Pops/Rice Krispies41
White long-grain rice (dry)25
White wheat flour 25
White bread22
White pita bread 22
White basmati rice (dry)21
Naan bread21
Crumpets17
Cornflakes11

Eggs & Dairy 

Yoghurt is a decent source of magnesium, but soy yoghurt 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! 

Eggs & DairyMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Parmesan cheese41
Soy yoghurt40
Halloumi cheese40
Emmental cheese38
Gruyere cheese37
Edam cheese34
Cheddar cheese29
Mozzarella20
Feta cheese20
Plain yoghurt 16
Goat’s cheese14
Greek yoghurt13
Cottage cheese13
Egg12
Single cream8
Butter 2

Legumes

Top sources of legumes high in magnesium: 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, fibre and vitamin K, so get stuck in! 

LegumeMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Soya beans (dried)250
Edamame beans (cooked)65
Soya beans (cooked)63
Chickpeas (cooked)44
Butter beans (cooked)43
Kidney beans (cooked)40
Black beans (cooked)40
Cannellini beans (cooked)33
Baked beans30
Green/brown lentils (cooked)25
Red lentils (cooked)18

Nuts & Seeds

Top sources of magnesium-rich nut and seeds: Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, 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 butters, 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, fibre, 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. 

Nuts & SeedsMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Brazil nuts410
Flaxseeds392
Sunflower seeds390
Sesame seeds370
Chia seeds335
Poppy seeds330
Pumpkin seeds270
Cashews270
Almonds 270
Pine nuts270
Peanuts210
Hazelnuts 160
Walnuts160
Pecan nuts 130
Pistachio nuts 130

Snacks

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 a 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 savoury fan, rye crisp breads are 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.

SnacksMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Dark chocolate (70-85% cocoa)228
Dark chocolate (60-69%) cocoa)226
Rye crispbread89
Milk chocolate63
Hummus62
Guacamole19
White chocolate12

Sauces, Spreads & Condiments

Top sources of sauces, spreads & condiments high in magnesium: nut butters, wholegrain mustard.

From sandwich spreads to splashes of sauce, your pantry is hiding lots of extra little magnesium boosters. Nut butters in particular are absolutely loaded with magnesium and just as good for your health as the whole nut, especially almond and cashew butters. 

FoodMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Almond butter279
Cashew nut butter258
Peanut butter180
Wholegrain mustard 93
Worcestershire sauce73
Tomato puree57
Pesto44
Soy sauce37
Brown sauce36
Mayonnaise32
Barbecue sauce23
Tomato ketchup19
Chilli sauce15
Instant gravy (dry granules)15

Herbs & Spices

Gram for gram, herbs and spices are among the most potent sources of magnesium. Of course, you’re not going to use 100g of them, but the little you do use surprisingly adds up. Here’s an example…

If your recipe calls for 1tsp (1g) each of basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme, all dried. The magnesium content is:

Basil 4.2mg

Oregano 2.7mg 

Rosemary 2.2mg

Sage 4.3mg

Thyme 2.2mg

That’s 15.6mg of magnesium just from seasoning your food!

Herbs & SpicesMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Coriander leaf (dried)690
Dill weed (dried)450
Sage (dried)430
Basil (dried)420
Cumin (ground)366
Coriander (ground)330
Mixed herbs (dried)280
Oregano (dried)270
Cloves (ground)260
Dill seed (ground)260
Mixed curry spice234
Cardamom (ground)230
Rosemary (dried)220
Thyme (dried)220
Turmeric (ground)190
Nutmeg (ground)180
Paprika (ground)178
Sage (fresh)160
Ginger (ground)130
Parsley (dried)120
Rosemary (fresh)64
Cinnamon (ground)60
Oregano (fresh)55
Dill (fresh)44
Ginger (fresh)43
Chives (fresh)42
Coriander leaf (fresh)26
Garlic (fresh)25
Parsley (fresh)23
Basil (fresh)11

Drinks

Magnesium from drinks — even alcoholic drinks! — also counts towards your daily total. Try the following switches to make the most of it: 

  • Swap tea for coffee.
  • Swap dairy milk for coconut or soy milk.
  • Swap cider for beer or lager.
  • Swap rosé or white wine for red.
DrinkMagnesium per 100g or ml (mg)
Instant coffee (dry granules)330
Drinking chocolate (dry powder)132
Coconut milk 30
Soy milk 18
Almond milk 15
Semi-skimmed milk 11
Skimmed milk 11
Whole milk11
Red wine11
Cappuccino/latte10
Orange juice9
Beer 8
White wine 8
Lager 7
Rosé wine7
Cider3
Tea (black)2

If you like to cook from scratch or eat out a lot, it can be a pain figuring out the total magnesium. We’ve done the hard work for you with this quick-reference list of popular dishes. 

FoodMagnesium per 100g (mg)
Nut roast 114
Vegetable pakora47
Chicken satay43
Chickpea dhal40
Vindaloo30
Barbecue pork ribs30
Mushroom risotto28
Korma26
Balti26
Chicken tikka masala 25
Thai green curry25
Fajitas25
Lamb rogan josh24
Cheese and tomato pizza24
Lamb samosa23
Meat pizza23
Pork casserole22
Fish pie22
Beef Stroganoff21
Quorn chilli21
Chicken chow mein21
Thai stir fry 21
Beef Wellington20
Beef lasagne 19
Macaroni cheese19
Steak and kidney pie19
Veggie samosa19
Spaghetti bolognese19
Enchiladas18
Vegetable lasagne18
Spinach cannelloni 17
Chilli con carne17
Cheese omelette17
Hotpot (lamb or beef)16
Vegetable curry15
Shepherd’s/cottage pie15
Cauliflower cheese14

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 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 realise. It’s officially estimated that somewhere between 2.5-15% of the UK population suffer from it, but these people are experiencing what we call a frank deficiency.

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 demineralisation. 

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 some 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 their own additional benefits. Learn more about the best types of magnesium supplements and the benefits of magnesium.

Are magnesium supplements safe?

Yes. As we mentioned earlier, it’s really hard to get too much magnesium. That said, you shouldn’t stray higher than 375mg of magnesium a day total from supplements (not supplements and diet combined). This is called the Tolerable Upper Intake Level, or UL, and after this point, you’re more likely to suffer from side effects like diarrhoea and nausea. 

If you have a health condition or you’re taking medications, it’s important to discuss magnesium supplements with your doctor first to make sure they’re safe for you. They could interfere with certain medications and may not be suitable for people with illnesses like kidney disease, so it’s best to check with the professionals to be on the safe side!

Where can I buy magnesium supplements?

Looking to top up your dietary intake with a magnesium supplement? If you think you could benefit from an extra magnesium boost, check out our range of ultra-quality magnesium supplements.