Magnesium is a mineral needed by every cell in your body.

Magnesium has more than 300 roles in your body. Its primary roles are to maintain muscle and nerve function, keep heart rhythm steady, and help calcium and vitamin D keep your bones strong.

Magnesium also helps build protein and releases energy from your muscles.

How much magnesium should I get each day?

The recommended daily amount of magnesium is 420 milligrams per day for adult males and 320 milligrams per day for adult females.

Who may need extra magnesium?


If your body has more magnesium than it needs, your kidneys remove the extra magnesium from your body.

People whose bodies don’t absorb magnesium well need to take in more magnesium.

People who have chronic diarrhea or severe vomiting also need extra magnesium.

People who pass large amounts of fat in their stool have a condition called steatorrhea (stee-AT-uh-REE-uh) and need extra magnesium.

You can get extra magnesium in your diet or by taking supplements. Some medicines (like “water pills,” or diuretics) can make you lose more magnesium in your urine.

If you are taking a diuretic, you may need additional magnesium.

Magnesium-rich Foods


The best sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables, like spinach. Nuts, seeds, and some whole grains are also good sources of magnesium.

Magnesium is present in many foods, but usually in small amounts.

Eating a wide variety of foods — including at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily and plenty of whole grains — helps to ensure you are getting enough magnesium.

The magnesium content of refined foods is usually low. Whole-wheat breads, whole-grain cereals, and wheat pasta have twice as much magnesium as white bread or other refined products. 


 Food Portion Size Magnesium Content (mg)
All- Bran cereal 1/3 cup 62
100% Bran cereal 1/3 cup 81
Quaker Oat Life Cereal 3/4 ounce 30
Wheat germ 1/4 cup 69
Oatmeal, instant cooked in water 1 cup 63
Cream of Wheat, cooked in water 1 cup 19
Oat bran 1/4 cup 55
Spinach 1/2 cup cooked 78
Soybeans 1/2 cup cooked 54
Tofu, firm 1/2 cup 73
Kidney beans, cooked 1/2 cup 37
Lima beans, cooked 1/2 cup 40
Chick-peas, cooked 1/2 cup 39
Black beans, cooked 1/2 cup 60
Broccoli, cooked 1/2 cup 16
Carrots, cooked 1/2 cup 8
Beet greens, cooked 1/2 cup 49
Avocado 1/2 medium 29
Potato, baked with skin 1 medium


Cabbage, cooked 1/2 cup 11
Almonds 1 ounce = 23 nuts 76
Pumpkin seeds, roasted 1 ounce = 85  whole seeds 74
Cashews 1 ounce = 3 1/2 tablespoons 83
Mixed nuts, dry roasted 1 ounce = 28 nuts 64
Peanuts, dry roasted 1 ounce = 28 nuts 50
Peanut butter, smooth 2 tablespoons 49
Bread, whole wheat 1 slice 23
Banana 1 medium (about 7") 32
Kiwi fruit 1 medium 12
Raisins, golden seedless 1/4 cup 13
Orange 1 medium 15
Mango 1 medium 34
Raspberries 1 cup 27
Strawberries 1 cup 19
Watermelon 1 cup 15
Yogurt, vanilla, low fat 1 cup 39
Soymilk 1 cup 36



Revised 2010

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