Magnesium – Health Benefits and Food Sources

Magnesium is essential for several different important functions and necessary for over 300 chemical reactions in the body. One of these chemical reactions involves producing energy at the cellular level which largely effects a persons overall energy levels. Another chemical reactions plays an important role with nervous system balance while others work as brain cell receptors which can affect mood.

Magnesium supports normal immune function and tissue repair, control of blood sugar and glucose metabolism, as well has been linked to the normalization of full body inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to many serious diseases such as fibromyalgia, heart disease and diabetes.

Magnesium also plays an important role in bone metabolism, where half of the mineral is found in the body. Studies have discovered that even a mild deficiency can result in bone loss.

Characteristics of a Magnesium Deficiency

Magnesium deficiencies can cause a person to feel lethargic, with very low-energy and heavy limbs. Achy and sore muscles and bones can also be the result of body inflammation. With ongoing magnesium deficiencies, depression, anxiety and irritability can also set in. A person may also experience restless legs, a sleeping disorder and even confusion. Low blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms along with nausea and vomiting can occur in prolonged cases.

Deficiencies are generally uncommon although certain illnesses and different factors can result in one. Intestinal illness or surgery and IBDs (Irritable bowel diseases), pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, prolonged stress and taking diuretics can all upset the magnesium balance in the body. Drinking too much coffee, soda or alcohol; as well eating too much salty foods can also decrease magnesium levels.

Magnesium Food Sources

Nuts, seeds and all types of beans are excellent sources for this essential nutrient. Magnesium can also be found in fish such as salmon and mackerel. Cooked spinach and yogurt also serve as good sources for this important mineral.

Nutrient-Rich Whole Food Sources for Magnesium

This chart lists the best food sources for magnesium, along with that food source’s single serving size and the amount of magnesium in every single serving

Magnesium Daily Intake Recommendations for Child and Adult

These figures are referenced from the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) 2005 system; used in Canada and the United States. The DRI system provides the minimum daily intake requirements of vitamins, minerals and nutrients for child and adult; males and females.

To find out what your daily intake requirements are for all of the essential nutrients, see the article Essential Nutrients and Beneficial Foods, posted January 16, 2017.

Try our Super Seedy Energy Bars recipe! Seeds, cereals and nuts are excellent whole food sources for the essential nutrient magnesium.

Written by: J. Marshall


•    Canadian Diabetes Association:
•    The World’s Healthiest Foods:
•    University of Maryland Medical Center:
•    Global Healing Center:
•    Health Canada: Dietary Reference Intake Tables:
•    U.S. Department of Health & Human Services / Nutrient Recommendations: Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI):

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