Foods to boost magnesium

Foods to boost magnesium

How much?

The recommended daily intake (RDI) for magnesium is:


  • 19-30 years: 400mg
  • 30+ years: 420mg


  • 19-30 years: 310mg
  • 30+ years: 320mg

Why we need it

Magnesium is vital for normal muscle and nerve function (including heart rhythm). Magnesium plays a major role in regulating blood pressure and it is essential for strong teeth and bones.

Can we get too much?

High magnesium intakes from food have not been shown to be harmful although the recommended upper limit from supplements is 350mg each day as higher levels can cause diarrhoea.

How to get magnesium

Peas, beans, other green vegetables, legumes, seeds, nuts, fish and shellfish are good sources of magnesium. The last National Nutrition Survey found average intakes for all age groups were lower than the RDI.

Each of these food quantities provides around 40 mg of magnesium

  • 3/4 cup cooked chick peas
  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 150g (raw weight) terakihi fish fillet
  • 1 cup peas
  • 13 almonds

Did you know? In New Zealand, those over 65 years old are only getting on average 74 per cent (men) and 78 per cent (women) of the RDI for magnesium.

Author: Rose Carr

Healthy Food Guide

First published: Jan 2011

2017-04-03 17:21:53

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