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- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Magnesium
- Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University: Magnesium
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Natural Source of Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in the body. It is involved in more than 300 metabolic reactions, including the production of protein, proper muscle and nerve function, as well as the regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure. Even with the importance of magnesium to your overall health and its abundance in most of your foods, you can still be deficient in magnesium. Incorporating the right foods into your diet on a regular basis can ensure that you get the most out of your magnesium.
Recommended Dietary Allowance for Magnesium
The RDA for magnesium for adults 19 to 30 is 310 milligrams for women and 400 milligrams for men each day. After the age of 30, magnesium requirements increase to 320 milligrams for women and 420 milligrams for men. It is recommended to get your magnesium from food rather than from supplements, as high doses of supplemental magnesium have been known to cause digestive issues such as nausea, abdominal cramping and diarrhea.
Magnesium can be found in a wide variety of foods, and vegetables are no exception. In fact, if your veggies are green, they contain magnesium, because magnesium is a component of the green plant pigment chlorophyll. Just a half cup serving of cooked spinach will provide 78 milligrams of magnesium, which is almost 20 percent of your daily requirement. Swiss chard will provide 75 milligrams per half-cup serving. One cup of avocado provides 44 milligrams and a half cup serving of cooked okra provides 47 milligrams of magnesium.
Nuts for Magnesium
Almonds and cashews are the best nut sources of dietary magnesium. A 1-ounce serving of almonds or cashews, about 23 nuts, will provide 80 and 74 milligrams of magnesium, respectively. This is almost 20 percent of the RDA for magnesium. Other nut sources of magnesium include peanuts, hazelnuts and pistachios.
Spill the Beans
Beans and legumes can provide a substantial amount of your daily requirement for magnesium. One half-cup serving of cooked black beans provides 60 milligrams of magnesium. Shelled edamame, or soybeans, will provide 50 milligrams per half-cup serving. A half-cup serving of cooked lima beans and kidney beans provide 63 and 35 milligrams of magnesium, respectively.
Magnesium can be found in several whole-grain sources. A single cup serving of cooked buckwheat groats, for example, can provide 363 milligrams of magnesium. This is more than your entire daily requirement of magnesium. Other grain sources include oat bran, providing 96 milligrams per one cup of dry cereal; brown rice, providing 86 milligrams per one-cup serving; whole-wheat bread, providing 46 milligrams for two slices. Breakfast cereals fortified with vitamins and minerals can provide up to 10 percent, or 40 milligrams, of your daily requirement for magnesium.
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