Top 10 Foods High in Magnesium

Author: Vanessa Gagliardi   Date Posted:24 September 2019 

Magnesium is needed by every single organ in the human body, so it makes sense that we should be trying to eat as much of it as possible! Magnesium is involved in many different processes in the body such as energy production, maintaining bone health and promoting healthy cell division.

The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of magnesium for adults is:

  • Men (19-30yrs) = 400mg
  • Women (19-30yrs) = 310mg
  • Men (31+yrs) = 420mg
  • Women (31+yrs) = 320mg

Luckily, magnesium is widely distributed in many plant and animal foods. Here are 10 foods rich in magnesium that your body will thank you for!


Just half a cup of almonds packs a huge 200mg of magnesium! Almonds can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, almond butter being one of our favourites – try adding it to your smoothies or smeared on a sliced apple.


Cashews are deliciously creamy, and half a cup of cashews provides 169mg of magnesium – that is around half the daily intake! Try oven roasting cashews, almonds and any other nuts and seeds of your choice rubbed with a little coconut oil and a pinch of salt…a delicious snack or porridge topper.


Wheat bran is one of 3 layers of the wheat kernel (during the milling process, wheat bran gets stripped off the kernel, becoming a by-product). It is rich in a variety of fibre, plant compounds and minerals, including magnesium! Half a cup of wheat bran provides 168mg of magnesium. Try sprinkling wheat bran onto yoghurt or cereal. Tip: start with small amounts of wheat bran and gradually increase with time (it is super high in fibre!)


Popeye was right, he knew that eating all that spinach was great for his health! Not only is spinach a source of iron but also a great source of magnesium – which plays an important role in maintaining muscle health and function. One cup of cooked spinach provides 148mg of magnesium!


This low GI grain isn’t only useful for its fibre content – it’s also rich in magnesium, 90mg per cup to be exact. Brown rice is a great alternative to white rice for those following a low GI diet or who need to increase their fibre intake. It’s delicious as a porridge, as fried rice and as a side to stir fries and curries.
(Tip: be sure to soak your brown rice before cooking – brown rice naturally contains a compound called phytic acid which binds to minerals, like magnesium, and prevents their absorption. Cover rice with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice overnight, or up to 24 hours before cooking. Then rinse and boil in fresh water.)



Also known as Lima beans, these high-fibre legumes contain 74mg of magnesium per 100g. They have a light, buttery flavour when cooked, and are great to use when making your own baked beans or vegetarian burrito filling.



1 cup of chickpeas contains 74mg of magnesium. They are easily found in supermarkets and fresh food grocers, both tinned and dried. If you use dried chickpeas, don’t forget to soak them overnight before cooking with them!


Green peas contain around 60mg of magnesium per cup. Not only are they a great addition to stir fries and soups, they are also delicious mashed with butter and salt, and spread over toast – move over smashed avocado, you have a competitor!

  1. OATS

A cup of rolled oats provides 53mg of magnesium. Oats are a great pantry staple as they can be used as porridge and in smoothies, or even blitzed into flour to be used in cookie and muffin recipes.

  1. CACAO

Who doesn’t love a chocolatey treat? 1 tablespoon of cacao powder contains just under 27mg of magnesium. Just make sure you’re using cacao and not cocoa – there’s a difference! Cacao powder contains magnesium and other minerals due to its cold-pressed extraction from the cacao tree, whereas cocoa powder is a processed and roasted form, stripping most of the minerals (and usually contains additives like sugar). Cacao powder is very versatile, try adding it into smoothies and baked goods, and even in your coffee for a delicious chocolatey flavour.


Please seek advice from your doctor before you make significant changes to your diet and/or if you are on any medication prior to taking any supplements.



- Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand (2014), Magnesium, Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council, <>

- Reavley, N. (1998), The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs, Bookman Press, Australia.


Written by Vanessa Gagliardi

Vanessa (BHSc Naturopathy) is a qualified naturopath with a passion for good food. She uses nutrition and herbal medicine to help people feel their best, from the inside out.

Vanessa enjoys nature walks and Pilates, and loves a good almond mocha.

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