THE BLOG
08/21/2012 09:24 am ET Updated Oct 21, 2012

The 11 Best Sources of Magnesium

by guest blogger Morley Robbins, wellness coach and magnesium advocate

I'm often asked, "Where can I find more magnesium in my diet?" That's such an important question! In fact, it's usually the second question people ask me after first wanting to know how its deficiency is related to most, if not all, of their day-to-day symptoms.

If you'll remember from my previous post, I explained the many functions of this key mineral for health and began to discuss how stress causes magnesium loss--it's a fact of life, and it's how we're wired as a species. So today's post will focus on the magnesium-rich foods you can eat to deal with that stress! (In my next post, I'll help you better understand what aspects of your stress can be reduced--or possibly eliminated--to help you preserve your magnesium stores.)

When choosing Mg-rich foods, it's good to remember this phrase: "If it's green, it's got Maggie"--and that's because of the central role Mg plays in the chlorophyll molecule. But it's important to know that magnesium is pervasive in many nutrient-dense foods that our ancestors knew about and relied upon to nourish their "batteries" with this vital master electrolyte. And again, don't forget to "eat the fat!" to ensure the full benefit of magnesium and other vital minerals. (Those worried about consuming the much-vilified saturated fat for fear of heart disease, rest easy; I'll cover that nutritional myth in a subsequent post.)

Here are some fun and innovative ways to infuse magnesium into your daily diet: my top 11 magnesium-rich foods. Keep in mind that the RDA for women is 320 milligrams (mg)/day and for guys is 420 mg/day. (My goal is to eat two times my RDA daily, as I seek to thrive, not just survive.) Unless otherwise noted, servings in the list below are 3.5 ounces, or 100 mg. Let's eat!

  1. Kelp: Not exactly a staple in U.S. kitchens, but it should be, as it's the granddaddy of sea veggies, and delivers 780 mg of Mg--no other food source comes close to that. You can replace beef or chicken stocks with kelp stock (made by adding a 5" strip of kelp per quart of liquid) in 10 minutes. Once cooked, you can cut up the strips and place them in the soup. I've had great success with Maine Sea Coast Vegetables. Another viable option: Get some kelp powder from your local heath food store or Whole Foods--it's an amazing way to mineralize your foods.
  2. Wheat germ: I have always enjoyed adding wheat germ to my salads, soups, and smoothies. It wasn't until recently that I realized what an intense source of magnesium it is, providing 440 mg. In a cereal form, the amount drops to 420 mg, but that's a full day's supply for an adult male (and 100 mg more than an adult woman needs). I have used Kretschmer"s Wheat Germ for 35 years.
  3. Buckwheat: This amazingly versatile fruit seed contains a whopping 229 mg of magnesium per serving. You can cook it with butter and eat it as you would grits or porridge, you can add it to soups, or even make pancakes with it (which drops its Mg punch to about 25 mg). It's gluten free and doesn't lead to extreme spikes in blood sugar the way grains can. For breakfast, I like Bob's Red Mill brand of buckwheat groats served up with 2 tablespoons of grass-fed butter.
  4. Garbanzo beans: Delicious, easy to prepare, and nutritious--what more could we ask for? A cup of raw chickpeas delivers more than 230 mg of magnesium. Prepare them and blend the beans with some lemon juice and olive oil and you've got a great stress-busting source of Maggie. It can either be a condiment or a meal in and of itself. Plain, raw, or cooked, these beans can be eaten like edamame or added to salads.
  5. Oysters: Having grown up in the Middle Atlantic, I'm partial to seafood, whether it's fish or shellfish. A serving of 3.5 ounces of oysters delivers up 76 mg of Mg, more than most of the greens that are often praised as good sources of the mineral. Whether they are raw, cooked, or added to a stew, oysters deliver a powerful source of nutrient-dense minerals. Sourcing is key, so fresh-caught is a requirement.
  6. Spinach: Since I was a 5-year-old watching Popeye, the Sailor, I've loved spinach, whether it's raw, creamed, cooked, slipped into eggs, in soups, or dozens of other dishes. While not high in Maggie, its 88 mg is nutrient rich and delivers a great way to ease the stress of the day. I grew up eating frozen, but have graduated to fresh, organic, locally grown.
  7. Almonds and cashews: These nuts are amazing at calming us down. A half-cup serving delivers 135 mg of Maggie! (Just remember, cashews acidify, and almonds are alkalizing. People tend to stick with one or the other, but it's best to balance the two.) Almonds and cashews are a wonderful way (when organic and raw) to enrich a salad, create a surprising omelet, or enrich a sauce. And let's face it, they're great to snack on--again, organic--and best spiced with sea salt. Whole Foods sells a blend of three Mg-rich nuts: almonds, cashews, and pistachios.
  8. Cocoa: Until I discovered its importance as a source of magnesium-rich nutrients, I questioned my lifelong love of chocolate. Now that I know it delivers 420 mg per cup, I fully understand my quest. Born into a stressful home (aren't we all?), I found it most gratifying, to both my taste buds and my adrenal glands! The key is dark cacao--not milk chocolate, unfortunately. I've found that a cacao content of 90+ percent delivers the best punch, and I add it to desserts, make hot cocoa, or simply treat it as my dessert at the end of a meal. Everything in moderation, but this is one food that nourishes both the body and the soul.
  9. Water: Yes, Water.  Let's not forget the importance of Mg-rich water. It really is a vital part of your diet, but most folks are totally unaware of the value of magnesium-rich water. It makes a huge difference in your body's ability to refill its stores. Learn why it's important, and check how your regular source of bottled water stacks up.
  10. Bone broth stock: Through the ages, this nutrient-rich base for all manner of soups has provided a critical source for our minerals. While it's hard to state its precise content of magnesium, stock made from cooked carcass is tremendously restorative. It is the epitome of "slow cooking," but it delivers fast results metabolically. Sally Fallon Morell writes extensively about the proper techniques to ensure nutritious results.
  11. Blackstrap molasses: Isn't it just like cooking that the third rendering is where the magic is? This is such a versatile and tasty way to enhance your need for minerals. For those who love sugar in their coffee, seek to bring some zing to their cereal, or want to infuse their treats with good wholesome nutrition, try blackstrap molasses. It's a nutritional workhorse that delivers minerals and nutrients like few other foods.

My closing recommendation: While it's not "food" exactly, a great way to take in magnesium naturally is a stroll along the ocean. That magnesium-rich sea air does wonders for both your body & your soul....

My next post will explain how to make sure we're holding onto to all this vitalizing magnesium.

Until then!

 

Morley Robbins has been actively serving the healthcare field for the last 32+ years, as a hospital executive, healthcare consultant, and now Wellness Coach. Following a successful career managing and consulting to hospitals and health care systems, he realized that he could no longer stand the revolving door mentality of "sick care" centers. He is dedicating the balance of his career to "saving one starfish at a time" by coaching clients about how to eat "real food," restore their mineral balance, especially their Magnesium status, and thereby, facilitate the process of natural healing. He has discovered the "fountain of youth" in his newfound persona of "Magnesium Man!" and is proud of his efforts to raise awareness about the importance of magnesium via the efforts of Magnesium Advocacy Group (www.magfor.org).

For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com