October 5, 2021

Foods High in Magnesium | Diet & Fitness

Magnesium plays a crucial role in anyone’s healthy diet - including people with diabetes. It contributes to over 300 chemical reactions in the human body! To make sure you’re getting enough of the magnificent mineral known as magnesium, read on

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Home / Living with Diabetes / Foods High in Magnesium | Diet & Fitness

Magnesium and Your Health

A healthy diet is crucial in diabetes management. Have you been living with diabetes for a while? If so, you already know about eating a balanced diet, avoiding simple sugars and unhealthy fats, and counting carbs. Along with these steps, you should make sure your diet includes sufficient amounts of nutrients like magnesium.

Magnesium plays a crucial role in anyone’s healthy diet – including people with diabetes. It contributes to over 300 chemical reactions in the human body! To make sure you’re getting enough of the magnificent mineral known as magnesium, read on for US MED’s list of magnesium-rich foods.

How Magnesium Helps People with Diabetes

Many bodily functions rely on magnesium, from muscle movements to heartbeat regulation. If you have diabetes, however, it’s especially crucial to prioritize this nutrient in your everyday diet.

The reason: insulin resistance is associated with lower-than-normal magnesium levels. In people with type 2 diabetes, magnesium deficiencies can arise as a result. These deficiencies are less common in people with type 1 diabetes but can still occur.

Are you not sure how much magnesium you should aim to include in your diet? Here are the recommended daily allowances for this nutrient:

  • Men: 400-420 mg
  • Women: 310-320 mg

Building Your Magnesium-Powered Diet

If you haven’t considered the impact of magnesium on your health, don’t worry too much! Getting more magnesium doesn’t have to be complicated – you just have to make dietary choices that incorporate this mineral. Here are our recommendations for high-magnesium foods that can fit neatly into a diabetes diet.

Broadly speaking, some of the richest magnesium sources out there include fish, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes. And as we previously mentioned, men should aim to get 400-420 mg of magnesium per day while women should aim for 310-320 mg.

Fish: A Top Source of Magnesium

Fish is a healthy, low-fat source of protein that can also be high in magnesium and other minerals. Of course, it’s crucial to make sure you’re eating the right types of fish when you’re concerned about your magnesium levels. To get higher amounts of magnesium in your diet, focus on eating:

  • Atlantic pollock
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • Chinook salmon
  • Halibut

Vegetables and Fruits That Have Magnesium

Many different fruits and veggies are high in magnesium, too! A single prickly pear contains about one-quarter of your daily magnesium requirement.


Unfortunately, prickly pears can be challenging to find. However, these common vegetables and fruits also contain quite a bit of magnesium:

  • Tamarind
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach
  • Edamame
  • Potatoes (with the skin on)

Whole-Grain Products with Magnesium

Whole grains are one of the healthiest sources of carbohydrates for people with diabetes. Luckily, several whole-grain products are packed with magnesium, too.

The next time you go out grocery shopping, look for cereals fortified with magnesium. Grains like bran, toasted wheat germ, and cooked quinoa can also boost your magnesium levels.

Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds with Magnesium

Fish aside, most meat-based protein sources aren’t exceptionally high in magnesium. However, it’s easy to find in dairy products like yogurt and cheese. This nutrient is also commonly found in various meat alternatives, including:

  • Cooked beans, tempeh, and black-eyed peas
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Peanut butter
  • Tofu
  • Flaxseed
  • Soy nuts

Magnesium in Your Water

In addition to the food you eat, your water may contain a bit of magnesium! Tap water, mineral water, and bottled water can all feature this nutrient. That said, not all water sources contain magnesium, so don’t rely on water to fulfill your magnesium needs.

Magnesium-Enhanced Products

If you’re particularly concerned about your magnesium intake, you may want to look at taking magnesium supplements. You can also find magnesium in some products like weight loss shakes and meal replacement bars.

On the other hand, some medications can hurt your ability to absorb magnesium. These include antibiotics, large doses of zinc, and bisphosphonates.

Magnesium Serving Sizes

Naturally, different foods include different amounts of magnesium. These serving sizes should help you track how much magnesium you’re getting.

Fish and Other Meats

  • Salmon, Atlantic, farmed: Serving Size 3 oz, 26 mg
  • Halibut, cooked: Serving Size 3 oz, 24 mg
  • Chicken breast, roasted: Serving Size 3 oz, 22 mg
  • Beef, ground, 90% lean: Serving Size 3 oz, 20 mg

Vegetables and Fruits

  • Spinach, boiled: Serving Size ½ cup, 78 mg
  • Black beans, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 60 mg
  • Avocado, cubed: Serving Size 1 cup, 44 mg
  • Potato, baked with skin: Serving Size 3.5 oz, 43 mg
  • Banana: Serving Size 1 medium, 32 mg
  • Raisins: Serving Size ½ cup, 23 mg
  • Broccoli, chopped & cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 12 mg
  • Apple: Serving Size 1 medium, 9 mg
  • Carrot, raw: Serving Size 1 medium, 7 mg

Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds

  • Pumpkin seed – kernels: Serving Size 1 oz, 168 mg
  • Pumpkin seeds in shell: Serving Size 1 oz, 74 mg
  • Almonds, dry roasted: Serving Size 1 oz, 80 mg
  • Cashews, dry roasted: Serving Size 1 oz, 74 mg
  • Peanuts, oil roasted: Serving Size ¼ cup, 63 mg
  • Soymilk, plain or vanilla: Serving Size 1 cup, 61 mg
  • Black beans, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 60 mg
  • Edamame, shelled, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 50 mg
  • Peanut butter, smooth: Serving Size 2 tablespoons, 49 mg
  • Kidney beans, canned: Serving Size ½ cup, 35 mg

Other Foods

  • Cereal, shredded wheat: Serving Size 2 large biscuits, 61 mg
  • Dark chocolate – 60-69% cacao: Serving Size 1 oz, 50 mg
  • Bread, whole wheat: Serving Size 2 slices, 46 mg
  • Rice, brown, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 42 mg
  • Yogurt, plain, low fat: Serving Size 8 oz, 42 mg
  • Breakfast cereals fortified: Serving Size 10% fortification, 40 mg
  • Oatmeal, instant: Serving Size 1 packet, 36 mg
  • Cocoa powder– unsweetened: Serving Size 1 tablespoon, 27 mg
  • Rice, white, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 10 mg

Does Magnesium Have Side Effects?

It’s rare to experience side effects from overly high levels of magnesium, but it can happen. These situations can be related to taking supplements in excessive amounts or taking some laxatives. If you’ve taken too much magnesium, you may have weak muscles or feel sleepy or overexcited.

There are also symptoms associated with a lack of magnesium. These, too, are relatively uncommon; however, they are seen more often in people with type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms caused by low magnesium levels fall into three categories. In the early stages of magnesium deficiency, symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Limited appetite
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

A moderately low level of magnesium can result in:

  • Tingling and numbness
  • Seizures
  • Cramps and muscle contractions
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Personality changes

Finally, severely low magnesium can result in low levels of calcium and potassium in your bloodstream.

Only a few small clinical trials have evaluated the benefits of supplemental magnesium for diabetes. More research is necessary to determine the best type of magnesium for glucose control. If you have a deficiency, remember to talk to your doctor to see if supplementation is right for you.

Manage Diabetes With Help From US MED

Whether you’ve been taking magnesium seriously for years or you’ve never considered its impact on your health before, we hope this article has given you helpful advice. To learn more about eating a diabetes-friendly diet, take a look at US MED’s blog!

Another great way to make diabetes management easier is ordering diabetes supplies from US MED. We’re a trusted supplier of products like these, and we have accreditation from the NABP, URAC, and ACHC. To get started, check out our CGM systems, traditional blood glucose monitors, and insulin pumps!

Medline Plus
Shirley DeLeon Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist

Medical Review by Shirley DeLeon, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

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