What You Need to Know About Magnesium

foods high in magnesium like nuts, avocado and dried fruit

Magnesium is an important mineral that your body needs to be healthy. It helps to keep your heart healthy by working with other minerals to control blood pressure. Magnesium also helps keep your muscles, bones and nerves healthy. Read on to learn more about what foods have magnesium and how much you need.

How much magnesium do I need?

The amount of magnesium you need depends on your age, sex and life stage. The table below shows you how much you need:



Amount needed per day

Men 19 to 30

400 mg

Women 19 to 30

310 mg

Men 31 and older

420 mg

Women 31 and older

320 mg

Pregnant women 19 to 30

350 mg

Pregnant women over 30

360 mg

Breastfeeding women 19 to 30

310 mg

Breastfeeding women over 30

320 mg

At any age, it is important to have no more than 350 mg of magnesium per day from supplements. Magnesium from food and water is safe to have above this amount.

Food sources of magnesium 

Legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, leafy greens and whole grains are the best sources of magnesium.

The table below shows foods that contain magnesium:


Serving Size

Magnesium (mg)

Pumpkin or squash seeds

60 mL (1/4 cup)


Brazil nuts

60 mL (1/4 cup)


Sunflower seeds

60 mL (1/4 cup)


Black-eyed peas/cowpeas

175 mL (3/4 cup)


Soy cheese

50 g (1 ½ oz)


All Bran cereal

30 g (1/3 cup)

83 to 111


60 mL (1/4 cup)

88 to 109

Soy nuts

60 mL (1/4 cup)


Tofu (prepared with magnesium chloride or calcium sulphate)

175 mL (3/4 cup)

55 to 99

Wheat germ cereal

30 g (1/3 cup)


Beans (any variety)

175 mL (3/4 cup)

58 to 89

Prickly pear

1 fruit



125 mL (1/2 cup)


Swiss chard

125 mL (1/2 cup)


Soy yogurt

175 g (3/4 cup)


Bran flakes cereal

30 g

49 to 69

Edamame/baby soy beans

125 mL (1/2 cup)


Potato with skin

1 medium

47 to 52

Do I need a magnesium supplement? 

No. A healthy individual does not need a magnesium supplement if they are following Canada’s Food Guide. Scientists have not seen any benefit in taking magnesium supplements for health issues like lowering blood pressure, lowering the risk of heart disease or preventing bone loss. If you are at risk for getting high blood pressure, you should eat a diet rich in magnesium along with potassium and calcium. The bottom line is that it’s best to get the magnesium you need from food. 

At any age, it is important to have no more than 350 mg of magnesium per day from supplements. Magnesium from food and water is safe to have above this amount.

Meal and snack ideas 

  • Add legumes to your diet more regularly. 
  • Add nuts and seeds to baked goods, yogurt, salads, granola and cereal.
  • Try a delicious nut butter like almond or cashew nut butter for a satisfying spread.
  • Read about these nutritious and delicious vegetables and great ways to add them to your diet.
  • Try this magnesium rich swiss chard and navy bean soupfor a filling lunch.
  • Choose whole wheat breads instead of white bread.
  • Add bran flakes or bran buds to your cereal or yogurt.

Try these other nutritious recipes that are rich in magnesium: 

Toasted pumpkin-seed brittle

Sweet chilli tofu stir-fry

Tea poached salmon with fruit salsa

You may also be interested in:  

What you need to know about calcium

All about beans

Last Update – March 21, 2019

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