We need magnesium for energy production, managing blood glucose levels, blood clotting, regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction, normal heart rhythm and so much more.
Magnesium is also crucial for bone health with over half the approximately 25g of magnesium in an adult body found in the bones.
The amount of magnesium we need increases with higher intakes of calcium, protein and alcohol. Stress, whether physical or mental, may also increase our needs. People with diseases reducing absorption from the gut, such as coeliac disease and Crohn’s disease, people with type 2 diabetes and older people are among those most at risk of not getting enough magnesium.
The daily recommended dietary intake (RDI) for magnesium is 420mg for men and 320mg for women aged 31 and over. Younger men and women need only slightly less than this.
Eating plenty of plant foods is the simplest way to get enough magnesium; they are the best source.
Our sample day menu plan provides around 590mg
- Banana, nut and berry knockout
- 1 slice grainy toast with 1/3 avocado and a sliced tomato
= 140mg magnesium
Our smoothie has 102mg of magnesium, with the banana, milk and LSA being the main contributors at 35mg, 22mg and 20mg respectively; and the Medjool date has 13mg. The toast adds another 16mg, 1/3 avocado 13mg, and a tomato 9mg.
- Chicken antipasto risoni salad with a tablespoon of flaked almonds
- 1 kiwifruit
= 155mg magnesium
Our salad has 122mg of magnesium: the sun-dried tomatoes provide 36mg; the chicken and risoni provide around 28mg each, and the 2 cups of rocket add 17mg. A tablespoon of flaked almonds adds 22mg and a kiwifruit 11mg.
- Meatball couscous salad (pictured at top) with extra hummus
- 1 cup stewed apple with 3 tablespoons Greek-style yoghurt
= 120mg magnesium
Our main has 108mg magnesium, with 30mg from the minced beef in the meatballs. With around 2 tablespoons of hummus in the salad and the same again on top, the hummus provides around 30mg. The couscous adds another 23mg and the lettuce 12mg. Dessert adds around 11mg, from both the apple and yoghurt.
- Trim latte with a Carrot, spinach and pumpkin seed muffin
- 1 serve Pumpkin pikelets with a glass of milk
= 175mg magnesium
The espresso in our latte has around 65mg magnesium, while the milk in both snacks adds around 55mg in total. The muffin has 40mg magnesium with half of that from the pumpkin seeds, and our pikelets contribute 16mg.