Magnesium rich foods should be used in nearly every meal we consume. Our current society is plagued with magnesium deficiency affecting an estimated 80% of individuals in the United States today. The average standard diet consists of 175 mg/day of magnesium down from an average 500 mg/day representative of diets in the 1900s. Most people are just not consuming enough magnesium-rich foods.
Here are 7 easily accessible magnesium sources:
1. Dark Chocolate
You might be surprised to know that unsweetened dark cocoa powder is one of the highest sources of magnesium-rich foods. A single ounce of dark chocolate provides 95 mg or about 24% of the recommended daily value of magnesium. Just be sure to consume non-processed chocolate that is greater than 70% cacao for its full health benefits. The highest concentrations are in the raw cacao form but minimally processed dark chocolate is also good.
A greater need for magnesium can manifest as cravings for chocolate during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Seen again, greater compulsion to eat chocolate occurs when individuals are overwhelmed by emotional stress and seek a feel-good trigger. The magnesium in chocolate provides the stimulus the brain was lacking to improve a person’s mood by balancing hormone levels and brain function.
Given our fast-paced lifestyles, it is no surprise that coffee provides the number one source of antioxidants for Americans today. Drinking coffee in excess can deplete the body of its magnesium stores but when consumed in normal concentrations, coffee is one of the great magnesium-rich foods. Limit your coffee intake to about 2 cups and stir in a healthy fat like coconut oil or grass-fed butter to prevent an adrenaline response.
The magnesium in coffee is associated with improved metabolic rate and a lower risk of insulin resistance. Researchers have found that coffee intake reduces the risk of type-2 diabetes in both men and women. Along with the health benefiting polyphenols also active in coffee, magnesium intake has been directly shown to lower fasting insulin levels. Drink organic coffee to avoid chemical residue from fertilizers and pesticides.
Almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts contain magnesium to help preserve bone density, support cardiovascular health and regulate blood sugar levels. The magnesium in nuts increases testosterone levels aiding in strength, muscle recovery and protein synthesis for metabolism. Nuts are an excellent snack for any athlete to offset the magnesium deficits that occur from increased sweat and urination.
Consuming almonds in one study was associated with a reduction in blood sugar levels following a meal by 40 to 50%. Nut consumption has been found to reduce the occurrence of metabolic syndrome in 7% of patients following only one serving of nuts weekly. Brazil nuts are the highest source of magnesium and the trace mineral selenium.
4. Pumpkin Seeds
Total health is dependent on the optimal function of the gastrointestinal tract. Cleansing the intestines is essential for eliminating toxins and impurities that can lead to systemic complications. The magnesium in pumpkin seeds improves gut motility by decreasing the amount of time it takes for waste to leave the colon.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant that stimulates stool movement in the bowels. Relieve symptoms of constipation and replenish your magnesium levels under times of high stress by snacking on pumpkin or chia seeds which are excellent magnesium-rich foods. Consider adding sprouted pumpkin seeds to salads, omelets and combine into dessert recipes.
Avocados are a rich source of magnesium, B-complex vitamins, vitamins A, C, E, K, and healthy fatty acids. Consuming avocados regularly can help slow the progression of neurological decline and stimulate serotonin and dopamine pathways in the brain.
Half an avocado provides 20 mg of magnesium and is an excellent way to promote vascular strength and regulate insulin levels. Consume half an avocado in your post-workout smoothie to combat fatigue and elevate your mood. Magnesium inhibits fat absorption helping weight management and was shown to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease in a follow-up study of almost 40,000 men.
6. Grass-Fed Dairy
The acidity from conventional dairy products causes magnesium and other minerals to leach from bone, joints and muscle tissue. Raw grass-fed dairy, however, supplements the body’s nutritional need for magnesium. These sources also provide anti-inflammatory and sugar stabilizing nutrients like omega-3 fats and vitamin D.
If you experience lactose sensitivity or intolerance from consuming pasteurized grain-fed dairy milk and cheeses, switching to raw dairy may be a natural solution to overcoming this problem. Raw milk and cheeses contain higher concentrations of the enzymes need to digest lactose and absorb magnesium and other nutrients. If a lactose allergy persists, grass-fed ghee or clarified butter is also rich in magnesium and contains only traces of lactose.
Spinach is a fiber-rich food loaded with nutrients like folate, potassium and vitamin B6 and is one of the best green vegetable sources for magnesium. Adding spinach to your diet is also easily accomplished. Use it in salads, add it to smoothies, prepare it in fresh juices and incorporate in almost any dish like omelets. The anti-inflammatory benefits of spinach will encourage muscle relaxation and reduce symptoms of constipation.
A study of men who ate spinach daily had higher levels of magnesium and better calcium to magnesium ratio. Eating spinach regularly offers an effective and natural way to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches and limit their severity when they do occur. Adding up to another 100 mg/day of magnesium through dietary foods like spinach is associated with an 8% risk reduction in stroke because magnesium naturally lowers high blood pressure.