Magnesium is available through a wide variety of foods. It is entirely possible to get enough magnesium solely through food choices and not need a supplement at all!
Any green vegetable is a great source of magnesium. Why? Because the chlorophyll molecules that give a plant its green color have magnesium in the center.
Good sources of magnesium include:
- Halibut — a three ounce serving contains 90 milligrams of magnesium.
- Dry roasted almonds or cashews can contain between 70 and 80 milligrams of magnesium per ounce.
- Dry roasted peanuts and peanut butter contain 50 milligrams of magnesium per serving.
- A half-cup serving of soybeans contains 75 milligrams of magnesium.
- Spinach contains 75 milligrams of magnesium per half-cup serving.
- Fortified cereals, oatmeal, bread, and other products can contain up to 55 milligrams of magnesium.
- Legumes (like black-eyed peas, lentils, kidney beans, and pinto beans) can contain between 35 and 50 milligrams of magnesium per serving.
- A medium-sized baked potato with the skin can contain up to 50 milligrams of magnesium.
- Dairy products like yogurt, chocolate milk, and reduced fat milk can contain between 24 and 45 milligrams of magnesium in a serving.
- Long grained brown rice contains 40 milligrams of magnesium in a half-cup serving.
Even tap water can contain magnesium — but this depends on how “hard” your water is (how high the mineral content is).
There’s always a risk of “too much of a good thing” — especially if you take vitamin/mineral supplements instead of getting the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet. In general, dietary magnesium does not pose a health risk. Magnesium supplements can come with some side effects, including diarrhea and abdominal cramping. If you have kidney disease or kidney failure, you are at higher risk of magnesium toxicity thanks to the kidneys’ inability to remove excess magnesium from the body.
Be aware: some laxatives and antacids do contain magnesium. Read the label before using any over-the-counter products to know what’s included.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests that in general, people aged nine and older do not exceed 350 milligrams of supplemental magnesium per day.