Your body requires many different vitamins and minerals to function. Because you cannot produce the necessary minerals, you must consume them in foods. Magnesium, one essential mineral, supports the function of every organ in the body. The National Institutes of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board recommends that the average adult male consume 420 mg per day, while the average female should consume 310 mg to 320 mg per day to avoid a magnesium deficiency. Many different fruits and vegetables contain magnesium.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, collard greens and cabbage are a good source of magnesium. Spinach provides a significant amount of magnesium toward your daily intake --157 mg in a cup, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database. The same serving size of cooked collard greens contains 38 mg of magnesium, while one cup of cooked cabbage provides 12 mg of magnesium.
Legumes, including peanuts, soybeans, lentils, beans and peas, serve as a good source of magnesium. The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements says that one-half cup of soybeans contains 75 mg of magnesium. One oz. of dry roasted peanuts contains 50 mg of magnesium. One-half cup of cooked lentils contributes 35 mg of magnesium toward your daily intake. The different varieties of peas and beans also contain significant levels of magnesium, ranging from 35 mg to 45 mg per one-half-cup serving.
Many fruits also contain magnesium. One banana provides 32 mg, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database. One cup of fresh, raw blackberries contains 29 mg, while one cup of fresh, raw raspberries contains 27 mg. A 1-oz. serving of avocado has 8 mg; five dates, 18 mg; and one cup of watermelon, 15 mg.
Role of Magnesium
It is important to eat a diet that includes many of these magnesium-rich fruits and vegetables each day. Magnesium plays a vital role in the formation of strong bones, with 50 percent of all magnesium in the body found in the bones, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Magnesium also activates enzymes that support more than 300 chemical reactions in the body. Magnesium maintains normal nerve function, keeps the heart beating rhythmically, supports a healthy immune system and helps to regulate both blood pressure and blood sugar levels. The magnesium in your body also affects the level of other minerals, such as calcium, zinc, copper and potassium.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA recommend a diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables. They help you maintain your health, prevent chronic diseases and manage your weight. Focusing on fruits and vegetables that contain significant levels of magnesium helps to prevent a deficiency. If you suffer from a digestive disorder that interferes with the absorption of nutrients, such as Crohn's disease, it is even more important to consume fruits and vegetables that contribute magnesium.
- National Institutes of Medicine: Food and Nutrition Board: Dietary Reference Intakes
- National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Magnesium
- Linus Pauling Institute: Legumes
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Fruit and Vegetable Benefits