Green vegetables such as spinach provide magnesium because of the abundance of chlorophyll molecules which contain the ion. Nuts (especially cashews and almonds), seeds, dark chocolate, roasted soybeans, bran, and some whole grains are also good sources of magnesium.
Although many foods contain magnesium, it is usually found in low levels. As with most nutrients, daily needs for magnesium are unlikely to be met by one serving of any single food. Eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains will help ensure adequate intake of magnesium.
Because magnesium readily dissolves in water, refined foods, which are often processed or cooked in water and dried, are generally poor sources of the nutrient. For example, whole wheat bread has twice as much magnesium as white bread because the magnesium-rich germ and bran are removed when white flour is processed. The table of food sources of magnesium suggests many dietary sources of magnesium.
"Hard" water can also provide magnesium, but "soft" water does not contain the ion. Dietary surveys do not assess magnesium intake from water, which may lead to underestimating total magnesium intake and its variability.
Too much magnesium may make it difficult for the body to absorb calcium. Not enough magnesium can lead to hypomagnesemia as described above, with irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure (a sign in humans but not some experimental animals such as rodents), insomnia and muscle spasms (fasciculation). However, as noted, symptoms of low magnesium from pure dietary deficiency are thought to be rarely encountered.
Following are some foods and the amount of magnesium in them:
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