High-magnesium diet

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Teen boy in grocery store

What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral the body needs to function well. The best food sources of magnesium include legumes (such as beans and peas), green leafy vegetables, whole grains and seafood.

There are lots of food options out there to help you get the magnesium you need.

High-magnesium food choices


Best choices
AsparagusBeet greens, beets
Green beansBroccoli
Brussels sproutsCarrot juice
Corn, sweet or yellowKale
Potato or sweet potato (baked with skin)Pumpkin, squash
SpinachTomato paste, pasta sauce
Stewed tomatoes, tomato juice


Best choices
Orange juice
Pineapple, pineapple juice
Prune juice, grape juice
Tangerines, orange
Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon

Breads and cereals

Best choices
Cream of wheat; oatmeal; whole grain cereal (brands include All Bran, Shredded Wheat, Mini-Wheats, Bran Flakes and Cheerios)Whole wheat pasta
Muffins made with oat bran and cornWhole wheat pasta​
Brown, white, long grain or wild riceWaffles
CouscousRice cakes
Pancakes made with whole wheat flourFrench toast

Milk and milk alternatives

Best choices
Milk, skim, 2% or homo; buttermilkYogurt, plain, low-fat or fruit
Chocolate milkRicotta, cottage, Swiss or cheddar cheese
Soy milkChocolate or vanilla pudding; rice or tapioca pudding; ice cream

Meat and meat alternatives

Best choices
Pork, beef, liver, ham​Chickpeas
Turkey, chickenLentils, cooked tofu
Fish, including halibut, haddock, sole, tuna, salmon, sardines, trout or codSplit peas
Shellfish such as crab and shrimpPeanut butter
Beans, including soy, white, black, lima, navy, baked, kidney and pintoEggs


Best choices
Peanut butter on whole wheat bread with a glass of milk or soymilkGrilled cheese on whole wheat bread
Rice cakes with peanut butterCheese with whole wheat crackers
Vegetables with hummusYogurt with fruit
Bean soup, lentil soup, split pea soup, tomato soupBran, corn, or banana muffin with cheese
Whole grain cereal with milk and banana slicesIce cream with fruit

Cooking methods

The amount of magnesium in a food when you eat it often depends on how the food has been cooked. Use the following cooking methods to keep as much magnesium as possible.

  • Steaming: Steaming helps to keep nutrients within vegetables.
  • Boiling: Use just enough boiling water to cook evenly and completely without burning. Vegetables are more nutritious if they are cooked with their skins on.
  • Baking: Potato, sweet potato, squash and pumpkin are best when baked in the oven with skins on.
  • Fish and meat are best cooked using dry heat methods such as oven-baking, broiling or roasting.
Last updated: November 30th 2017