Following a magnesium-rich diet may be an often-overlooked path to good health. That is the conclusion of a new study. It found that people who eat foods that are good sources of magnesium are less likely to suffer from many chronic conditions.

Studies of Magnesium-Rich Diets:

Researchers looked at data from 40 different studies in nine countries. In these observational studies, people who ate the most magnesium-rich foods such as leafy greens, nuts, whole grains and fish had lower rates of heart disease, stroke and diabetes than those who ate the fewest such foods.

Reducing the Risk of Heart Failure and Stroke:

The investigators found that an additional 100 mg/day of magnesium didn’t seem to make a difference for heart attacks, but it reduced the risk of heart failure by 22 percent. The chance of a stroke dropped by 7 percent.

Increasing magnesium consumption by 100 mg/day lowered the likelihood of diabetes by 19 percent and reduced death from any cause by 10 percent. Actually, because the studies were not experimental trials, no cause-and-effect relationship can be established. The findings do suggest, however, that eating more magnesium-rich foods may have substantial health benefits.

BMC Medicine, online Dec. 8, 2016 

If you are wondering how to get more magnesium-rich foods into your diet, this list may help:

Food Sources of Magnesium

  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Baked Potato
  • Banana
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Brown rice
  • Cashews
  • Halibut
  • Lentils
  • Mixed nuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Peanuts
  • Shredded wheat
  • Soybeans
  • Spinach
  • Yogurt

Many of these foods are found in abundance in the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) as well as a Mediterranean diet. Perhaps that helps explain why both those eating patterns have such well-established health benefits.

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  1. Paul Riley

    Thanks for this information. You gave me a mmole/L range and methods to acquire that range. I will more finely tune my diet by increasing my salad eating with this information.

  2. Lisa
    Magalia, California

    I’m so grateful for this information. I’ve been having terrible leg cramps at night but I too would like to know how much magnesium is in each food. Also, can you take too much magnesium?

  3. Doug
    Philadelphia, Pa

    Love your program. Much needed information. Thank you, Doug

  4. Diane

    Sent you an email 6 months ago for advice on my use of an OTC sleep aid I took for far too many years. You advised that I stop taking it and find a more natural remedy. Walla! After trial and error I heard about taking a Magnesium supplement before bed. Now I take it along with a small glass of organic tart cherry juice and sleep solid for 7-8 hours with no potty breaks. Pretty good for a 75 year old woman! Yeah me!

  5. Les
    Central Il USA

    Can peanut butter be added to the list?

  6. Christine

    A friend turned me on to a magnesium supplement in a powder form. I take it mixed in a cup of bedtime tea before bed making sure that I’m ready for bed as it puts me to sleep rather quickly. For breakfast, I have a high fiber cereal and that along with the magnesium keeps regular. This simple regime takes care of two of the bugaboos of aging. I’m a happy woman.

  7. Joan K

    You forgot to mention that magnesium citrate is better absorbed by the body than some other types of magnesium. It works wonders for constipation but the capsules seem to work better than the tablets and for me I need a about 500 mg a day.

    Also for different reasons a lot of people can’t eat nuts. I know a lady who never Had any problems with nuts. She got a gift at Christmas this year of mixed nuts. One night she had eaten quite a few and woke up with diarrhea and throwing up. Her son called 911 and she was diagnosed with a tare in her intestine. That lead to sepsis. She had surgery and with good care at 77 years old is recovering nicely. As we age our bodies change and we have to be very careful of what we eat.

  8. Brad
    North Carolina

    Thank you for the list of magnesium-rich foods. It is very helpful to point us in the right direction. It would also be helpful to identify the quantities that are needed to get to 100mg/day.

  9. Vicki
    Melbourne, FL

    Interesting and wonderful to learn that just 100 more mg of magnesium will have such great benefits.
    Question: My question is more than what? More than the recommended daily amount? (I looked up magnesium I see the recommendations vary based on sex and age).

  10. Lewis

    You folks do a fine job and I look forward to your twice weekly columns. Keep up the good work as you hit a broad spectrum of helpful topics and are appreciated. Thanks.

  11. Bettye
    Houston, TX

    Through the years, I have appreciated your practical suggestions with home remedies and supplements and your extensive research on medical conditions.

  12. Marilyn
    Lost Creek, WV

    I started having terrible leg cramps at night several years ago. I began taking a Magnesium supplement, and within a few weeks cramps were gone. If I ran out or forgot to take the Magnesium for a week or so, the leg cramps returned. I make every effort to remember to take the Magnesium supplement!

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