25 Magnesium Rich Foods to Prevent Deficiency

Updated in January 2023

Foods that are rich in magnesium include seeds (like flaxseeds and sesame seeds), nuts (like chestnuts and peanuts) and whole grains (like whole wheat rice and oatmeal). Magnesium can also be found in leafy green vegetables, like spinach and chards, as this mineral is an essential component of chlorophyll. 

Magnesium is an essential mineral used in the body for many functions, like protein production, central nervous system functioning, blood sugar control and blood pressure control. 

This mineral is needed for optimal nerve impulse transmission and muscle contractions, which is why a magnesium deficiency can lead to symptoms like tremors, drowsiness and muscle cramps. 

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List of food with magnesium

The following table outlines 25 food sources of magnesium and details the amount of magnesium and calories found in 100 g of each source:

Food (100 g)



1. Pumpkin seeds

262 mg

446 cal

2. Whole grain rice 

143 mg

362 cal

3. Wheat germ 

239 mg

360 cal

4. Brazilian nuts

225 mg

655 cal

5. Sesame seeds 

346 mg

614 cal

6. Pure cacao powder 

499 mg

228 cal

7. Flaxseeds

362 mg

520 cal

8. Cashews

260 mg

574 cal

9. Dry soy beans

280 mg

416 cal

10. Almonds

304 mg

626 cal

11. Peanuts

100 mg

330 cal

12. Oats

175 mg

305 cal

13. Dried navy beans

190 mg

333 cal

14. Dried chickpeas

115 mg

365 cal

15. Spinach

87 mg

23 cal

16. Chards 

81 mg

19 cal

17. Rye flour

75 mg

374 cal

18. Raw okra

47 mg

31 cal

19. Dried plums

41 mg

240 cal

20. Tamarinds 

92 mg

239 cal

21. Parmesan cheese

44 mg

392 cal

22. Fresh hake

39 mg

87 cal

23. Salmon 

95 mg

179 cal

24. Skinless chicken breast

31 mg

187 cal

25. Banana

29 mg

92 cal

Other foods that also contain great amounts of magnesium are milk, yogurt, dark chocolate, figs, avocado and beans. 

Magnesium deficiency symptoms 

Low levels of magnesium in the body can cause symptoms like: 

  • Nervous system abnormalities, like depression, tremors and insomnia 
  • Cardiac failure
  • Osteoporosis
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • PMS
  • Insomnia 
  • Muscle cramps
  • Decreased appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Memory problems 

A healthy adult needs between 310 to 420 mg of magnesium per day, which is easily achievable through a balanced diet. 

Nonetheless, a magnesium deficiency can be related to severe malnutrition, older age, kidney disease, intestinal disorders, or medication use (especially cycloserine, furosemide, thiazides, hydrochlorothiazides, tetracyclines and oral birth control). 

When to supplement

The need to supplement with magnesium is rare. It may be recommended to patients presenting with excessive vomiting or diarrhea. Pregnant women with low levels who are experiencing uterine contractions may also be prescribed magnesium supplements. Supplements are usually stopped around week 35 of gestation, so that the uterus can correctly contract during labor. 

In addition, supplementation may be necessary for those who have conditions that naturally lower magnesium levels, like older aging, diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption and the use of medications listed above. 

In general, magnesium is supplemented when levels are below 1 mEq per liter of blood. Supplementation should be directed by a doctor or registered dietitian.