7 Magnesium Rich Foods That Keep Supplements Away

While many people’s concerns about their diet relate to a proper intake of calcium and protein, one of the key regulators of our bodies’ chemistry – magnesium – is the most often forgotten. The vegetarian diet tends to be high in calcium (from dairy, especially cheese) and low in magnesium (from whole grains, nuts, and legumes), although a varied diet assures that both magnesium and calcium are consumed in equal ratios.

Magnesium is the king of the minerals in our body, being necessary for hundreds of its chemical reactions. It is involved in almost every function of our body, and plays a major role in maintaining good health:


  • Together with vitamin D, magnesium governs the absorption and retention of calcium.
  • Plays a critical role in the natural detoxification process, required for the sodium/potassium pump at the cell membrane.
  • Creates and maintains bone integrity, as about 60 percent of our magnesium deposits are stored in our bones.
  • Regulates the energy production at the cell level.
  • Balances the nervous system’s activity.
  • Prevents inflammation.
  • Regulates the blood sugar.


The major causes of magnesium deficiency are:

  • A diet rich in sugars, refined fats, and white flour, because these contain very small amounts of magnesium, but it is required for these to be metabolized.
  • High intake of coffee and green tea, because these are diuretics and release the minerals from our body through our urine.
  • Stress, because it requires massive energy for the body to cope.

A magnesium-rich diet, based on foods that contain it in mid- or high-proportions is preferable to magnesium supplements. Many of these foods supply other valuable minerals like zinc or iron, contributing to a general state of well-being.

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Avocado, summer squash, potatoes, dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, beet greens, swiss chard, parsley, turnip).


     2. FRUITS

Bananas and mangos are the fruits richest in magnesium, one serving providing about eight percent of the daily recommended intake.


    3. NUTS and SEEDS

Brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, peanuts, quinoa, sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds are a great magnesium source and are the best snack when consumed after being soaked in filtered water and drained.


    4. LEGUMES

Beans of all kind, chickpeas, and lentils. Use a minimal amount of water when cooking these, as magnesium and other minerals are leached into the cooking liquid.



Millet, oats, wheat germ, brown wheat flour, brown rice.



Good news for all the chocolate enthusiasts, a serving of dark chocolate contains not only 10 percent of the necessary daily intake of magnesium, but also iron and fiber.


  7. SOY BEANS AND ITS DERIVATIVES (tofu, tempeh, soy milk)

While soy beans contain 130 percent of the daily recommended magnesium intake, it is better to maintain a low consumption because they contain phytoestrogens that can disrupt your hormone balance.

  • Stephanie
    May 18, 2015

    I’ve read elsewhere that the intake of vegetable magnesium is not as effective as getting it from a source of meats? I wish I could find and reread the article. Have you heard anything like this before?

    • Ana
      May 19, 2015

      I am on vegetarian magnesium source only from about 15 years and I don’t have problems. I especially take it from soaked nuts and avocado.

    • Kritika
      September 17, 2018

      Yes , I’d also read this in some article but for zinc .and that because of presence of phyletes in veggie source as it reduces its absorbing ability.but soaking boiling or heating helps in its absorption ability.

  • Baiba
    August 5, 2017

    For me magnesium is no problem, but calcium is, as I am on vegan diet and do not use store bought milks with added calcium often. It would be nice, to have good alternatives, that dont include crazy amount of spinach and almonds everyday. Maybe you have found some solution?

    • Ana
      August 16, 2017

      I would alternate having calcium-rich foods with a well-researched supplement.

  • jay
    October 5, 2018

    what is symptoms of magnesium deficiency?

    • Ana
      October 14, 2018

      For me the symptoms included a moody state of mind, anxiety, poor sleep and low progesterone levels. Magnesium-rich food made wonders for my sleep and mood!

  • Mital Khona
    June 8, 2019

    You have missed on leafy greens. They are an important source of magnesiium

  • Debra Couch
    July 24, 2019

    Please do not spread the “phytoestrogens” myth about soy. Phytoestrogens are in all beans, nuts and seeds as well as many vegetables. Phytoestrogens are in all these healthy foods because phytoestrogens are good for our bodies! They protect against several cancers, including breast cancer.

    We are not plants, so plant estrogens do not affect us in a negative way. The meat and dairy industries simply took a “scary” sounding word and used it to make soy beans sound like a scary food because soy bean products threaten the dairy and meat industries. Soy beans are just beans like any others!! There aren’t articles about the dangers of eating phytoestrogens in garbanzos, kidney beans, or canellinis because no one is making mylks or vegan meats from those. Also, dairy milk and meat have real, mammalian estrogen in them – the same that our body produces- yet no one talks about the dangers of getting estrogen from milk or how it will mess up your hormones or give you “man boobs”!!

    • Ana
      July 24, 2019

      Hi Debra! I really appreciate taking time to leave such a detailed review, but I have to disagree with you. While I like to stay away from controversies and fake-news created by the big players of the meat and dairy industries, scientific studies are the ones that I tend to give attention to. Yes, there are a lot of plant-based sources of phytoestrogens, and these substances can help our body cope with estrogen deficiency, especially in menopause. But if you’re dealing with excess estrogen, or low levels of progesterone, the intake of soy, which tend to be wider than the one of beans (one can have an intake of soy milk in its latte, tofu in a salad and soy-based protein powder in a smoothie in one single day) can disrupt the hormone balance. There are good things and bad things about phytoestrogens, and we should consider each of them according to our own individual condition. Here is a very detailed study about phytoestrogens in soy, which scientifically proves both the pros and cons https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3074428/.

      • Debra Couch
        September 23, 2019

        Did you read the study you posted? Because it says eating soy and other legumes, fruits, etc that contain phytoestrogens is excellent for health. The questions in the study were about whether isolating phytoestrogens and putting high doses in a pill is therapeutic or not.

        I recently saw another person put up “look at how bad soy is for you” post who clearly didn’t read the article. It was from Harvard and it called soy a “nutritional powerhouse”. Again, all positive.

        In fact, thee have been meta studies done of *all* the studies of soy and every one of them has said soy is good for human health. To repeat: Every meta study of hundreds of soy studies has had positive outcomes.

        Soy is just a bean. Beans are healthy. Fruits, nuts, and seeds are healthy. If phytoestrogens had only ever been called isoflavones, none of this controversy would exist.

        You are scaring people away from veganism and healthy foods with this disinformation

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