Magnesium is an essential mineral required by our body. It is one of the seven macro-minerals that are required in large amounts, including calcium, potassium, sodium, chlorine, phosphorous, and sulfur. Inside body, this macro-mineral performs many important functions and its deficiency can cause various disorders.
Magnesium is required in every age group. In children and during growing age, magnesium is needed for building strong bones and supporting growth. It also contributes toward proper physical and mental growth. Similarly, in women magnesium deficiency can cause weaker bones and osteoporosis. During pregnancy, its deficiency can cause preeclampsia and even premature labour. In middle ages, magnesium is required for regulating blood pressure, blood sugar levels, normalising heart rhythm, reducing the risk of diabetes, heart attack, and osteoporosis.
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Magnesium
|Birth to 6 months||30 mg*||30 mg*|
|7–12 months||75 mg*||75 mg*|
|1–3 years||80 mg||80 mg|
|4–8 years||130 mg||130 mg|
|9–13 years||240 mg||240 mg|
|14–18 years||410 mg||360 mg||400 mg||360 mg|
|19–30 years||400 mg||310 mg||350 mg||310 mg|
|31–50 years||420 mg||320 mg||360 mg||320 mg|
|51+ years||420 mg||320 mg|
Vegetarian Food Sources of Magnesium
Magnesium is found in various foods. Foods which are fibrous, generally contain it. But food processing techniques can reduce or destroy magnesium. For example, refining out wheat bran and germ from wheat grains, lowers the magnesium content by 80 percent. Similarly overcooking, boiling significantly lowers magnesium content.
|Food||Milligrams (mg) per Serving|
|Almonds, dry roasted, 28 gms||80|
|Spinach, boiled, ½ cup||78|
|Cashews, dry roasted, 28 gms||74|
|Peanuts, oil roasted, ¼ cup||63|
|Cereal, shredded wheat, 2 large biscuits||61|
|Soymilk, plain or vanilla, 1 cup||61|
|Black beans, cooked, ½ cup||60|
|Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tablespoons||49|
|Bread, whole wheat, 2 slices||46|
|Avocado, cubed, 1 cup||44|
|Potato, baked with skin, 3.5 ounces||43|
|Rice, brown, cooked, ½ cup||42|
|Yogurt, plain, low fat, 8 ounces||42|
|Breakfast cereals, fortified with 10% of the DV for magnesium||40|
|Oatmeal, instant, 1 packet||36|
|Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup||35|
|Banana, 1 medium||32|
|Milk, 1 cup||24–27|
|Raisins, ½ cup||23|
|Broccoli, chopped and cooked, ½ cup||12|
|Rice, white, cooked, ½ cup||10|
|Apple, 1 medium||9|
|Carrot, raw, 1 medium||7|
You can protect yourself from magnesium deficiency by having well balanced diet that includes green leafy vegetable, cereals, dry fruits, legumes, fruits and milk. Along with that, try not consume too much sugar, soda, salt, protein, and fatty food. These are not only junk foods, which are health hazard but also depletes magnesium from the body.
For example, fat blocks absorption of magnesium in the body; salt, sugar causes excretion of magnesium through kidney. Carbonated cold drinks also causes magnesium deficiency as it contains large amount of sugar and phosphates. Phosphate has tendency to combine with magnesium thus making less availability of magnesium for absorption. Certain diseases, and intake of medicines (contraceptive pills, diuretics, insulin, antibiotics) increases demand of magnesium in the body.
Even calcium supplementation without enough magnesium can cause loss of magnesium. It is also important to note, approximately 30% to 40% of the dietary magnesium consumed is typically absorbed by the body. Therefore try to have good fibrous diet, which is well balanced and nutritious, to avoid deficiency of various essential nutrient in the body and at the same time give up habit of consuming junk foods.