If you’ll flash back for a moment to high school chemistry—sorry if this means reliving some terrible low-rise jeans fashion choices—you may recall that magnesium was that metal that would burn bright white when you got to do experiments using fire. In the context of the real world, magnesium is an “extremely important” nutrient responsible for energy production, protein synthesis, muscle contraction and nerve signaling, bone mineralization, and glucose control, says Whitney English Tabaie, MS, RDN, CPT. The trendy mineral is also the star ingredient in several new sleep- and recovery-promoting products. (So long, melatonin.)
IDK about you, but I would very much like to have all of those processes running smoothly in my body. English Tabaie says that women need around 310 to 320 milligrams of magnesium a day, while men should generally get 400-420 milligrams per day.
Low magnesium levels have been linked to fatigue, medical nutritionist Sarah Brewer previously told Well+Good. She says that not only can having regular levels of magnesium help with your energy during the day, it can also help you get a better night’s rest. Another thing it can do: help you chill the eff out, because it’s a relaxant.
Can you mainline magnesium? That was rhetorical, but I will answer my own question and say that you should probably not—but you can eat these seven foods that are rich in magnesium, recommended by English Tabaie.
Magnesium: 78 milligrams per half cup (cooked)
Yes, spinach is packed with iron, but it also offers up 78 milligrams per each half up of cooked leaves. Not too shabby!
Magnesium: 77 milligrams per ounce serving
If you really want to get with the magnesium program, get thee some almonds STAT. English Tabaie says an ounce serving (about 23 almonds) has nearly 20 percent of your daily needs. Score.
3. Dark chocolate
Magnesium: 65 milligrams per ounce
“I am a huge fan of cacao or dark chocolate before bed,” herbalist Rachelle Robinett previously told Well+Good in an episode of Plant Based. Why? It’s rich in magnesium (great for sleep!) as well as alkaloids that help your body feel good. Don’t have to tell me twice!
Here’s how to make a relaxing dark chocolate bark to help you drift off at bedtime:
4. Peanut butter
Magnesium: 51 milligrams per two-tablespoon serving
I don’t usually keep peanut butter in my apartment because I could—and do—eat it by the spoonful (yes, standing in front of the open fridge obviously). But I may reconsider adding it to my grocery cart this week considering all of that sweet, sweet magnesium.
Magnesium: 50 milligrams per half cup
Your favorite sushi appetizer offers about 16 percent of your daily magnesium needs per half cup. Pro tip: Trader Joe’s has great frozen edamame that cooks quickly.
6. Black beans
Magnesium: 42 milligrams per half cup
In addition to giving you lots of fiber (and probably some gas), black beans pack a serious punch of magnesium. I see burrito bowls in your future.
Magnesium: 39 milligrams per small potato
I love any list that contains a carb, and you can get a pretty decent amount from one small baked potato, says English Tabaie. (What I’m hearing is to eat a bigger potato and get more magnesium, but that could just be because I’m on day four of restarting keto so I’m a little thirsty for carbs.)
Magnesium: 32 milligrams per medium fruit
Bananas are oft touted for their high levels of potassium, but one medium also has 32 milligrams of magnesium, English Tabaie says.
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