Learning About Magnesium

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What is magnesium?

Magnesium is a mineral that plays many important roles in your body. For example, magnesium helps keep your blood pressure regular and your heart rhythm steady. It helps build your bones and teeth. When you're sick, magnesium helps your body fight infections. And magnesium helps produce energy for your body to use.

Most adults need 300 to 400 milligrams (mg) of magnesium a day. Magnesium is found in foods, especially nuts, whole grains, dark green vegetables, seafood, and cocoa. It's also available as a supplement. Most people can get enough magnesium through a healthy diet that emphasizes unprocessed foods, including whole grain products.

What are some foods that contain magnesium?

Magnesium is found in many foods in varying amounts. Sometimes the ingredients added to foods make a difference. A plain bagel contains 8 milligrams (mg) of magnesium. But a multi-grain bagel has 69 mg.

This list shows the magnesium levels in a variety of foods and their portion sizes:

  • Almonds, ¼ cup = 97 mg
  • Artichoke, 1 = 50 mg
  • Avocado, ½ cup = 22 mg
  • Banana, 1 cup mashed = 61 mg
  • Baked beans, ½ cup = 33 mg
  • Beef, ground, 3 oz = 17 mg
  • Beef, top sirloin, 3 oz = 20 mg
  • Bread, wheat bran, 1 oz = 23 mg
  • Chocolate, dark, 1 oz = 41 mg
  • Hazelnuts, ¼ cup = 47 mg
  • Kale, cooked, 1 cup = 23 mg
  • Lima beans, large, ½ cup = 41 mg
  • Potatoes, russet, baked, 1 cup = 90 mg
  • Salmon, canned, 3 oz = 27 mg
  • Spinach, raw, 1 cup = 24 mg
  • Tuna, canned, 3 oz = 29 mg
  • Turkey, ground, 3 oz = 21 mg

Who may need extra magnesium?

Some illnesses and medicines may change how much magnesium you can absorb from food. Or they can cause your body to release more magnesium through urine than it should. Examples of these illnesses include Crohn's disease, celiac disease, and type 2 diabetes. People with these conditions may need to increase the amount of magnesium they consume. Your doctor can tell you if you need more magnesium.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.