Magnesium is one of those spectacularly essential minerals whose deficiency seems to be linked to many ailments. Healthy levels of magnesium are linked to better athletic performance, lower levels of depression, decreased risk of type 2 diabetes, better blood pressure, reduced inflammation markers, and has been shown to lower the risk of migraine occurrence.
Magnesium has also been shown to have incredibly powerful positive effects for premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
With that said, many of us aren’t getting enough. This is partly due to the traditional American diet, but it’s also due to the fact that “magnesium is one of the major minerals — which means that ‘higher amounts are needed compared to [other] trace minerals’” and, being a major mineral, magnesium “works in tandem with the 300 plus enzymes that ‘help to regulate many bodily functions, including the production of energy, body protein and muscle contractions,’ healthy bones, and healthy heart function.”
How much magnesium is enough?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has outlined recommended dietary allowances (RDA) — “average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97% – 98%) healthy individuals” — for magnesium depending on age, gender, and pregnancy. Men between the ages of 19 and 30 years of age should shoot for 400 milligrams, while those who are 31 and 50 years of age should consume 420 milligrams. On the other hand, women 19 to 30 are recommended 310 milligrams and 31 to 50 are recommended 320 milligrams. These recommended amounts change for women who are pregnant or lactating — a bit more if you’re pregnant, around 350 milligrams, and a bit less if you’re lactating, around 310 milligrams.
Luckily — in order to consume the recommended amount of magnesium and reap those benefits — magnesium is easily obtained naturally through a variety of nutrient-rich and tasty plant-based foods!
Dark chocolate is one of those decadent treats that also happens to be super healthy for you! With that said, for the healthiest option with the most nutrients, look for dark chocolate that is 70 percent or higher cacao content. One bar of 70 to 85 percent dark chocolate has 230 milligrams of magnesium. That’s 58 percent of your daily value (DV) of magnesium! Dark chocolate is also packed full of powerful antioxidants called flavanols and is a great plant-based source of “iron, copper, and manganese and contains prebiotic fiber that feeds your healthy gut bacteria.”
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that this magnesium-rich plant-based food is super easy to bake with! Begin your morning with this Super Quick Chocolate Porridge, find that mid-day boost of energy with this Hot Chocolate ‘Macaccino,’ make a quick snack out of these Dark Chocolate Almond Truffles, or even make your own dark chocolate bar with this 3-Ingredient Dark Chocolate Recipe.
Source: Golden Banana Milkshake
This easy-to-pack, satisfyingly sweet, and versatile fruit is not only packed full of potassium but also happens to be a great natural source of magnesium. One cup of mashed banana has over 60 milligrams of magnesium which is 15 percent of your daily value. While bananas are famed for their potassium content, they are also rich in “vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and fiber,” and, unripe bananas in particular, have a high content of undigestible resistant starch, which has been linked to “lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and improve gut health.”
If you’re used to beginning your day with sugar-filled cereal or granola, try swapping out the traditional with a banana-sweetened, nutrient-rich recipe such as this Yogurt Power Bowl, these Banana Tahini Muffins, or this rich Golden Banana Milkshake.
Avocado happens to be one of the most nutrient-dense plant-based foods available to those on a plant-based diet. This fruit is rich in healthy fats including monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids, and saturated fats, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E, K, B6, B12, niacin, folate, and choline, as well as a slew of minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, and selenium. When it comes to magnesium, avocado is a champion with one seeded fruit offering up over 39 milligrams, which is 10 percent of your daily value. Avocados help reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol, and make you feel full longer!
This versatile fruit can be served up as a powerfully nutritious breakfast — such as this Key Lime Pie Smoothie Bowl — a satisfying lunch — such as this Buffalo Sweet Potato, Black Rice, and Avocado Wrap — indulged in as a hearty snack — such as this Chickpea Salad Stuffed Avocados — or even used to thicken your favorite dessert recipe — such as this Avocado Tofu Chocolate Mousse.
Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, are one of my all-time favorite seeds! They are easily added to salads, smoothies, oatmeal, or veggie bowls. Their nutty flavoring is rich, yet not overpowering. Plus, these little nuggets are incredibly nutrient-dense. One ounce of pumpkin seeds (28 grams) offers up a whopping 150 milligrams of magnesium, 37 percent of your daily value, along with protein, fiber, healthy fat, vitamins A and K, folate, choline, and a slew of other minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. Pumpkin seeds are also one of the few plant-based sources of selenium!
While pumpkin seeds are completely safe and rather delicious consumed raw, they can also be combined into other recipes such as this Zucchini Garlic Cakes with Corn, Salsa, Smoky Tomato Sauce, and Pumpkin Seeds or this Parsley and Pepita Falafel Salad or pulverized into dips and dressings such as this Spicy Chipotle Salad Dressing or this Parsley Pumpkin Seed Pesto.
Nuts are a staple in any plant-based diet. Most varieties are rich in healthy fats and natural oils making them excellent for creating dairy-free milk alternatives — such as these simple Almond Milk and Cashew Milk recipes — as well as nut-based cheeses — such as this 5-Ingredient Almond Feta Cheese or this Herb and Garlic Almond Cheese. Almonds are a great source of magnesium with one cup of almonds — such as in this Almond Milk recipe — offering up 255 milligrams, which is 64 percent of your daily value. Almonds are also a great source of vitamin E, folate, and choline, as well as calcium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium. On top of that, almonds are one of the best sources of omega-6 fatty acids, one cup has over 11,000 milligrams!
Legumes are a great source of magnesium, as well as many other essential nutrients. Beans, in particular, are one of the most plant-based friendly recipe ingredients, especially as a ‘meatless’ recipe option. Black beans are one of the most magnesium-rich of the legume family with one cup offering 120 milligrams which is 30 percent of your daily value. Black beans are also incredibly rich in protein, dietary fiber, and calcium. Black beans aren’t just great in meatless recipes — such as this Mushroom, Beet, and Black Bean Burger — they also happen to be a wonderful dessert recipe such as in these Black Bean Fudge Brownies With Sweet Potato Caramel or this Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Fudge Brownie Cake recipe.
Those that are practicing a plant-based, gluten-free diet oftentimes struggle to find natural sources of all the essential vitamins and minerals. Luckily, buckwheat is a naturally gluten-free and nutrient-dense source that is packed full of magnesium! One cup of buckwheat groats has over 85 milligrams of magnesium — 21 percent of your daily value — along with protein, fiber, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids, phosphorous, potassium, and selenium. Buckwheat is also naturally low in sugar, making it a healthier option for some than some other grains. Gluten-free baking oftentimes relies on the nutrient-dense content of buckwheat such as these Buckwheat Pies with Chicory and Olives, these Buckwheat Apple Pie Pancakes, or these Sugar-Free Carob and Coconut Brownies.
Cashews are not only a great source of magnesium — one ounce has over 81 milligrams of magnesium which is 20 percent of your DV — but they also happen to be one of the best nuts to bake with. Due to their high healthy fat and oil content, cashews pulverize easily into dairy-free cheese — such as in this Roasted Garlic and Fresh Herb Cream Cheez or this Cashew Mozzarella that Melts — are great thickeners — like in this Potato Dumplings in Spiced Tomato Sauce — and are slightly sweet making them excellent for creamy baking recipes such as in this Raw Carrot Cake with Cashew Lemon Frosting.
You can’t go to the grocery store without picking up a package of this pseudocereal. Quinoa is gluten-free and incredibly nutrient-dense. Mixed with the right ingredients, quinoa is great for any meal of the day such as this blueberry sweetened Quinoa and Spiced Blueberry Bircher, this earthy Quinoa Salad with Turmeric Tahini Dressing, or this rich and filling Sweet Potato, Quinoa, and Red Lentil Stew. One cup of cooked quinoa has 118 milligrams of magnesium — 30 percent of your DV — as well as calcium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, selenium, and manganese. Quinoa is also a great plant-based source of dietary fiber and protein.
If pumpkin seeds just aren’t your jam, try out chia seeds. When soaked in liquid, these minuscule seeds gain a gelatin shell enhancing their size and creating a wonderfully nutrient-rich natural thickening agent. Chia seeds are also a great source of antioxidants, fiber, protein, and healthy fats such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. When it comes to strict vegan cooking, chia seeds are an essential component.
They are great for vegan yogurts, such as this Cardamom Coconut Chia Pudding, baked goods, such as this Raw Chia Caramel Pecan Pie, or these Strawberry Pistachio Chia-Oat Bars, or as a thickening agent, such as in this Creamy Chia Cheddar Sauce or this Peach and Lavender Chia Jam.
Brazil Nuts are most well known for their natural source of selenium — an essential mineral that plays an important role in both metabolism and thyroid function. Yet, brazil nuts are also a rich source of magnesium with one ounce offering up 106 milligrams — which is about 27 percent of your DV — along with protein, healthy fat, fiber, phosphorous, calcium, potassium, zinc, and vitamin E. Brazil nuts are excellent fatty nuts for dairy-free cheese such as this Brazil Nut Cheese or this Brazil Nut Vegan Parmesan, as well as selenium and magnesium-rich milk, such as this Brazil Nut Milk.
Along with beans, peas are also a great magnesium-rich legume option! One cup of cooked peas has over 70 milligrams of magnesium, 18 percent of your daily value. Plus, due to their high nutrient-content, peas are also “rich in fiber and have a low glycemic index (GI),” which has been linked to “lower cholesterol, improved blood sugar control and decreased heart disease risk.” Peas are naturally sweet and tender making them great for soups and stews — such as this Stew With Brown Lentils, Peas, and Corn, this Super Simple Curry Potato, or this 15-Minute Zucchini, Pea, and Watercress Minestrone — as well as a fresh addition to salads — such as this Hearty Superfood Salad with Arugula, Kale, and Beets or this White Bean and Pea Salad with Spring Herb Pistou.
I’ve found that kale is a love it or hate it type of plant-based food. With that said, there are a variety of creative ways to integrate kale into your daily meal regimen and even more reasons to attempt the integration! Kale is a superfood, meaning it’s incredibly nutrient-dense and is also packed full of other nutritional goodies such as antioxidants. One cup of chopped kale has over 22 milligrams of magnesium, 6 percent of your DV, along with vitamins A, C, and K, folate, other minerals such as calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, and it is also a great natural source of sodium.
For those that are on the hate-end of the kale enjoyment spectrum, try some of these integrative-kale recipes such as this Star Fruit Delight Smoothie, these Argentinian Empanadas Two-Ways, or these Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Kale Pesto.
Like chia seeds and beans, chickpeas are a staple in plant-based diets. Plus, they’re a great source of natural magnesium! One cup of cooked chickpeas has over 78 milligrams of magnesium which is about 20 percent of your daily value. On top of that, chickpeas are a great source of plant-based protein, fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, calcium phosphorous, potassium, selenium, vitamin A, and folate. While these legumes are great in their whole-form — such as this Curried Red Rice, Broccoli, and Chickpea Salad — they are oftentimes pulverized or mashed to provide the ‘meat’ in meatless or stuffed recipes such as this Comforting ‘Chicken’ Noodle Soup, these Mini Quinoa and Chickpea Cakes, this Chickpea ‘Meat’ Sauce Over Pasta Shells, or these Cauliflower Chickpea Patties.
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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