People who have medical problems are not the only ones at risk for magnesium deficiency. Poor eating habits — including a diet high in processed foods and consuming too much caffeine, salt, or alcohol — can lead to deficiency as well.
It pays to eat a heart-healthy diet to maintain adequate magnesium levels.
The following foods should be included in your diet for their healthy magnesium content.
Dark, leafy greens. Magnesium is part of chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, so it’s not surprising that it’s found in dark, leafy greens. Spinach has the highest magnesium content; Swiss chard and kale also rank high in this vital nutrient. Enjoy them raw in salads or cooked as a side dish.
Nuts and Seeds. Squash and pumpkin seeds rate highest in magnesium content. From high to low, other seeds and nuts that are good sources of magnesium include: sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds, cashews, pine nuts, mixed nuts, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts.
Fish. Mackerel is the type of fish highest in magnesium, followed by pollock, turbot, and tuna. Most other fish also contain at least some magnesium.
Beans. Soybeans are highest in magnesium, followed by white beans, French beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lentils, and pinto beans.
Whole Grains. Choose brown rice for the highest magnesium content, followed by quinoa, millet, bulger, buckwheat, wild rice, whole wheat pasta, barley, and oats.
Dairy Products. Lowfat plain yogurt contains the most magnesium, but don’t overlook hard goat cheese and nonfat mozzarella.
Dried Fruits. Figs rate highest in magnesium, followed by prunes, apricots, dates, and raisins. If you want fresh fruit, choose bananas.
Chocolate. Dark chocolate is one of the best foods for magnesium. One square of dark chocolate contains 327 mg, which is about 82 percent of the 400 mg that the government recommends as a daily nutritional requirement. Choose a chocolate that is about 80 percent pure cocoa. Dark chocolate is also high in iron, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc.
Posts by Chauncey Crandall, M.D.
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