How to eat magnesium-rich food

Magnesium is considered a key mineral for our health. What should we eat to get the necessary amount of this important mineral into our diet?

Various magnesium-rich spices and nuts arranged in bowls

Magnesium-rich foods

Above all nuts, seeds, legumes and full grain -- that is, food from which new life can develop -- contain a lot of magnesium. Other good sources of magnesium include whole grain products such as whole-grain bread and whole-grain rice, as well as oat flakes, oat flour, amaranth, quinoa and soybeans. The leaders among the best magnesium source foods are wheat bran with 550 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams of bran (1/2 cup), sunflower seeds with 420 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams of seeds, followed by cocoa with 415 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams of cocoa powder. Cashew nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts are the nuts with the most concentrated sources of magnesium. When it comes to vegetables, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and chard, but also fennel, broccoli, horseradish and kohlrabi, rank among the most magnesium-rich varieties. By contrast, fruits contain comparatively little magnesium. Bananas are often mistakenly listed as a good source of magnesium. Although bananas are a good source of potassium, their magnesium content is relatively low at 32 milligrams of magnesium per 100 grams of banana.

In order to achieve the required minimum amount of magnesium per day, the calorie content of the respective foods must also be taken into account. This is because foods with a high magnesium content -- such as nuts, seeds and wholemeal products -- have a significant impact on calories.

The best magnesium sources and their calorie content

Food mg magnesium / 100 g source food Cal / 100 g
Wheat bran 550 178
Sunflower seeds 420 596
Cocoa (de-oiled) 415 312
Pumpkin seeds 402 560
Flaxseed 350 502
Amaranth 308 370
Quinoa 276 338
Wheatgerm 285 320
Cashews 270 569
Soybeans 220 339
Almonds 170 577
White beans 140 238
Millet 123 354
Chickpeaks 129 306
Peanuts 163 570
Oatmeal 135 352
Brown rice 120 347

Tips for a magnesium-rich diet

  • Avoid white flour products in favor of wholemeal products, because magnesium exists mainly in the grains' husks.
  • Eat leafy green vegetables and salad often.
  • Eat fresh food very soon after shopping and avoid long storage times.
  • Wash vegetables only shortly before chopping to avoid losing magnesium during cleaning.
  • Steam vegetables with very little water and try also to use the remaining water, because magnesium leaches into cooking water.
  • Choose low-fat foods and little meat, because fat and protein hinder the absorption of magnesium.
  • Choose a mineral water with at least 50 mg magnesium per liter (4 cups) as your daily drink. Make sure that the ratio of calcium to magnesium is no greater than 2 to 1.

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