By Sheela Prakash
There are too many benefits of magnesium to count. It’s crucial for bone and heart health, metabolism, has the potential to prevent or relieve migraine headaches, and can even relieve PMS symptoms. The amount needed per day varies depending on age and sex, but it generally ranges between 310 to 420 milligrams a day. It’s rare to be deficient in magnesium, but it’s useful to know what foods are good sources, just so you can be absolutely sure you’re getting your fill. Here are 5:
1. Nuts and Seeds
Cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds all contain a great amount of magnesium. You’ll get roughly 20-40% of your daily needs in an ounce depending on which you choose. That means snacking on a handful when your stomach starts growling mid-afternoon is a smart move, but also definitely sprinkle them on your morning yogurt and lunch salads. Milks and butters made with these nuts and seeds also count as good sources, so keep splashing cashew milk into your smoothie and spreading almond butter on apple slices.
2. Leafy Greens
Here’s another reason to keep eating kale. The leafy green, along with spinach, collard greens, and mustard greens, is filled with magnesium. You’ll get about 40% of your daily needs in one cup of cooked greens or about double that amount of raw greens. Think beyond kale salads, though. Try blending greens into a creamy soup, braising them as a side dish, or even tucking them into a grilled cheese sandwich.
Beans are full of all sorts of good things, including magnesium. The type of bean you choose doesn’t matter, as they all contain plenty of magnesium, but if you want to get the most bang for your buck, opt for black beans. They contain the highest level — 1 cup will give you about 30% of your daily needs. My favorite way to eat black beans is to use them as a taco filling, but turn them into breakfast bowls, too, and of course make some really good soup.
Not that you really needed a reason to keep a few avocados in your kitchen at all times, but here’s one: there’s about 15% of your daily magnesium needs in one medium-sized avo. So there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your avocado toast habit — or your guacamole habit, for that reason. Toss them into smoothies and slather them in place of mayo on your sandwich, too.
5. Dark Chocolate
You can feel extra good about breaking off a square of dark chocolate after dinner knowing it’s a rich source of magnesium. A 1-ounce piece contains about 15% of your daily needs. Just make sure you’re grabbing chocolate that contains at least 60% cocoa, and ideally more, in order to get its full benefits.