Magnesium is a mineral needed for many of your bodily functions. Your heart, muscles and kidneys all need magnesium to work properly. The mineral also helps build teeth and bones.
In fact, magnesium is involved in more than 300 bodily processes, including muscle building, blood sugar control, muscle and nerve function, and blood pressure regulation.
Magnesium also helps maintain the proper levels of other minerals, such as calcium, potassium and zinc.
Even though this mineral is important, many people have a low magnesium level. Low magnesium in the body can cause muscle cramps, frequent headaches, abnormal heart rhythms, anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, fatigue, weakness, poor sleep and a rise in blood pressure, to name a few.
Some people are at a higher risk for being low in magnesium than others. This includes people with a gastrointestinal disease, people with diabetes, alcoholics or people who drink heavily, older adults, and people who eat lots of processed and fast food.
The recommended dietary allowance for magnesium varies based on age and gender. Also, pregnant women need slightly higher amounts. According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily intake of magnesium is as follows:
Magnesium is found naturally in many different foods. Eating such foods can help you meet your daily requirement.
Here are the top 10 magnesium-rich foods that you should eat.
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Most seeds are a good source of magnesium and pumpkin seeds definitely top the list. Just 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds contains a whopping 37 percent of the recommended daily intake.
In addition, pumpkin seeds are rich in iron, copper, manganese, monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids. These tiny seeds are extremely high in fiber. They are a good source of vitamins E, K, C and many B vitamins.
They also have antioxidants, which help fight against harmful free radicals that damage your health.
In fact, regular intake of pumpkin seeds can help lower your cholesterol level, manage your blood sugar level, fight anxiety, boost energy, relieve arthritis pain, and improve your heart and bone health.
You can eat a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds straight out of the jar. The sweet, creamy, nutty flavor of pumpkin seeds can also be enjoyed in desserts and baked goods as well as in grilled and savory dishes.
Most dark green vegetables are rich in magnesium and spinach is no exception.
Just ½ cup of boiled spinach contains almost 78 mg of magnesium and provides 20 percent of the required dietary intake.
Cooked spinach is also rich in calcium that can be easily absorbed by your body. In addition, spinach is an excellent source of several nutrients, including vitamins A, C and K, iron and manganese. You can also find zinc, selenium, copper, folate, protein and dietary fiber in it. Plus, it is loaded with flavonoids and carotenoids.
Regular intake of spinach can aid detoxification, improve your immunity, strengthen your bones, boost your muscle strength, fight anemia, improve your heart health, lower your blood pressure and boost your eye health, to name a few.
Boiled spinach puree can be added to smoothies and juices. You can also lightly cook spinach and enjoy it as a side dish or add spinach to salads or soups.
Other leafy green vegetables that are rich in magnesium include Swiss chard, beet greens and turnip greens.
Just a handful of almonds can help you add magnesium into your diet. Almonds are very high in magnesium, with just one handful containing about 20 percent of the daily requirement.
Along with magnesium, almonds are rich in vitamin E (an antioxidant) as well as protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The oval-shaped nuts also contain fiber, calcium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, copper, iron and some B vitamins.
Regular intake of almonds helps improve your blood sugar level, reduce your cholesterol level, benefit your heart health, boost your brain power, prevent birth defects, fight constipation and strengthen bones. These nuts are also beneficial for your hair and skin.
Soaked almonds make a great breakfast item, while dry, roasted almonds can be added to a variety of dishes for extra texture and flavor. You can also try almond milk or flour.
Along with almonds, cashew nuts, Brazil nuts and walnuts are also good sources of magnesium.
If you wish to eat fruits to get magnesium, avocados are just the right choice.
This incredibly nutritious and creamy fruit is a great source of magnesium. Just one medium avocado contains 58 mg of magnesium, which is equivalent to 15 percent of the required dietary intake.
Avocados are also high in healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin K as well as copper, iron, phosphorus, protein and folate.
Consuming avocados can reduce inflammation, improve your cholesterol levels, keep you feeling full after meals, promote brain health, boost your heart health, prevent arthritis, protect against cancer, regulate your blood sugar and help with digestion.
Simply by adding one sliced avocado to your salad or sandwich at lunch, you can give your body 15 percent of the recommended daily amount of magnesium.
Another popular fruit that is high in magnesium content is bananas.
Bananas are best known for being high in potassium, an electrolyte that can help lower blood pressure naturally. But they are also very high in magnesium. One medium size banana contains 32 mg of magnesium, which meets 8 percent of the daily requirement.
Apart from magnesium and potassium, bananas are also a good source of vitamins C and B6, manganese and a lot of healthy fiber. They also contain carbohydrates, vitamin A, iron, phosphorus, calcium and zinc.
Eating one to two bananas a day can help improve your digestion, boost your heart health, strengthen your bones, regulate your bowel movements, provide instant energy, improve your metabolism, and treat anemia, to name a few.
A ripe banana makes a healthy breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack. You can also blend them into a smoothie, slice them into a bowl of oatmeal or on top of toast.
6. Dark Chocolate
If you love to eat dark chocolate, its high magnesium level is another reason to indulge in this sweet treat. Just one square of dark chocolate with 70 to 85 percent cocoa contain 24 percent of the recommended daily intake for magnesium.
Along with magnesium, dark chocolate also has fiber, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. Made from the seed of the cacao tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants.
Eating just one to two squares of dark chocolate can help lower your blood pressure, improve your blood flow, boost your overall heart health, reduce stress, lower your cholesterol level, boost your brain power, aid weight loss and help prevent diabetes, to name a few.
As all the healthy nutrients in dark chocolate also come with calories and sugar, it should be consumed in moderation. You can eat dark chocolate like a piece of candy or add it to smoothies or homemade cakes and muffins.