Many foods contain magnesium, but the main sources in Australia are cereals and non-alcoholic drinks like coffee and water.
Most people get all the magnesium they need from food. As a general rule, foods that are high in fibre provide magnesium. Some good sources of magnesium include leafy green vegetables — such as spinach — legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Tap, mineral, and bottled waters can also be sources of magnesium, but how much magnesium they contain depends on the brand.
You can get magnesium from the following foods:
- pumpkin seeds, 30g (156mg)
- chia seeds, 30 g (111mg)
- almonds, 30g (80mg of magnesium)
- spinach, boiled, ½ cup (78mg)
- cashews, 30g (74mg)
- peanuts, ¼ cup (63mg)
- soymilk, 1 cup (61mg)
- oatmeal, 1 cup cooked (6 mg)
- bread, whole wheat, 2 slices (46mg)
- avocado, cubed, 1 cup (44mg)
- rice, brown, cooked, ½ cup (42mg)
- milk, 1 cup (24mg)
If you have a high fat diet, you might absorb less magnesium from your food.
Should I take magnesium supplements?
Most young children in Australia get enough magnesium, but more than 1 in 3 people don’t get enough magnesium every day.
People who are especially at risk of not getting enough magnesium are people with diseases like Crohn’s disease and coeliac disease, people with type 2 diabetes, older people and people who have alcoholism.
If you have a magnesium deficiency or certain health problems, your doctor may recommend you take a magnesium supplement. Health problems that can be helped by taking a magnesium supplement include constipation, indigestion, high blood pressure during pregnancy, magnesium deficiency, irregular heartbeat, and the risk of cerebral palsy in pregnancy.
You can’t get too much magnesium from your food, but it is important not to take more than the recommended dose of a magnesium supplement. Having too much magnesium from a supplement can cause diarrhoea, nausea, and stomach cramps.
Magnesium supplements can interfere with other medicines you may be taking, including antibiotics, diuretics, osteoporosis medication, and medicines for acid reflux or stomach ulcers. It’s always important to tell your doctor or pharmacist about any supplements or over the counter medicines you are taking.
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Last reviewed: March 2021