Foods High in Magnesium & Zinc
Magnesium and zinc are minerals essential for human health. Magnesium plays an important role in bone health and blood pressure regulation. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for magnesium for men is 420 milligrams, or mg, and for women, 320 mg. Zinc is important for the metabolism of the foods you eat, DNA synthesis and wound healing. The RDA for zinc is 15 mg for men and women. In this article, 420 mg is used to calculate the percentage of RDA met for magnesium for each food item.
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The best food source of magnesium and zinc are oysters. A 3-ounce portion of cooked oysters provides 81 mg of magnesium, or 19 percent of the RDA, and a whopping 154 mg of zinc, which is well over 1,000 percent of the RDA. A 3-ounce portion of queen cooked crab offers 53.5 mg of magnesium and 3.1 mg of zinc, making it a good food source of magnesium and an excellent food source of zinc. A 3-ounce cooked serving of bay or sea scallops offers 46 mg of magnesium, or about 11 percent of the RDA, and 2.4 mg of zinc, or 16 percent of the RDA. A serving of Alaskan king crab, 1 leg, or about 134 grams, cooked provides 84.4 mg of magnesium, or 20 percent of the RDA, and 10.2 mg of zinc, or nearly 70 percent of the RDA for this mineral.
Nuts and Seeds
Roasted pumpkin seeds provide the most magnesium and zinc. A 1/4-cup serving offers 303 mg of magnesium, or over 70 percent of the RDA, and 4.2 mg of zinc, or 28 percent of the RDA. Second in line are toasted sesame seeds. A 1/4-cup serving offers 111 mg of magnesium and 3.3 mg of zinc, or over 20 percent of the RDA for both minerals. The nut that provides the most of these important minerals is the Brazil nut. A 1/2-cup serving of whole nuts offers 250 mg of magnesium, or nearly 60 percent of the RDA, and 2.7 mg of zinc, or 18 percent of the RDA. Cashews and cashew nut butter are rich in these minerals. A 1-ounce serving of dry roasted cashews offers 75 mg of magnesium and 1.6 mg of zinc, or 18 and 11 percent of the RDA, respectively. A 2-tablespoon serving of cashew nut butter offers 82.6 mg of magnesium and 1.6 mg of zinc, making it a good food source of both nutrients.
Legumes, Grains, and Yogurt
Soybeans are an excellent food source of magnesium and zinc. A 1/2-cup serving of raw soybeans provides 261 mg of magnesium, or over 60 percent of the RDA, and 4.5 mg of zinc, or nearly 1/3 of the RDA. Most fortified, ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are vitamin and mineral fortified. A 1/2-cup serving of ready-to-eat wheat germ cereal, toasted, offers 181 mg of magnesium and 9.4 mg of zinc, or over 40 and 60 percent of the RDA for these minerals, respectively. A 1/3-cup serving of 100 percent bran cereal, such as Kellogg’s® All Bran™, provides about 81 mg of magnesium and 3.7 mg of zinc. Yogurt is the only dairy product that offers appreciable amounts of these minerals. Eight-ounce low-fat, fruited yogurt offers about 37 mg of magnesium and 1.8 mg of zinc, qualifying it as a good food source of both of these minerals–good food sources provide at least 10 percent of the RDA for a nutrient.
Foods Rich in Zinc and Selenium
Your body requires the essential nutrients zinc and selenium on a daily basis to function properly. Zinc helps your body make proteins, heal wounds and maintain its immune function, while selenium is an antioxidant that aids in reproduction and thyroid hormone metabolism. Many foods that are rich in zinc are also excellent sources of selenium, and they’re also high in protein.
The amount of zinc and selenium your body needs daily is based on your age and gender. For example, adult men need 11 milligrams of zinc each day, while adult women require 8 milligrams, pregnant women need 11 milligrams and nursing women require 12 milligrams, according to the Institute of Medicine. The IOM also notes that the daily selenium needs are 55 micrograms for adult men and women, 60 micrograms for pregnant women, and 70 micrograms for breast-feeding women.
Meat, Poultry and Seafood
Protein-rich beef, turkey, chicken, shrimp, lobster and fish are all excellent sources of both zinc and selenium. For example, 3 ounces of beef provides about 7 milligrams of zinc and 33 micrograms of selenium, while 3 ounces of chicken contains about 2.4 milligrams of zinc and 22 micrograms of selenium. Three ounces of crab provides 6.5 milligrams of zinc, and 3 ounces of shrimp contains about 40 micrograms of selenium, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements.
Dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt and cheeses, are dietary sources of both zinc and selenium, although they are generally lower in these nutrients than meats, poultry and seafood. The Office of Dietary Supplements reports that 1 cup of yogurt provides 1.7 milligrams of zinc and 8 micrograms of selenium, and 1 cup of low-fat milk contains about 1 milligram of zinc and 8 micrograms of selenium. Cottage cheese is a rich source of selenium, providing about 20 micrograms per cup.
Nuts and Legumes
Nuts — including cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts — and legumes, such as baked beans, lentils, chick peas and kidney beans, are excellent sources of zinc and selenium. The Office of Dietary Supplements reports that Brazil nuts are packed with 544 micrograms of selenium in just 1 ounce, which is about six to eight nuts, while one-half cup of baked beans provides almost 3 milligrams of dietary zinc.
Eating nuts supplies you with protein, fiber and healthy fats and also helps you meet your daily needs for magnesium and potassium. However, most nuts are a better source of magnesium than potassium. These minerals are essential for fluid balance, muscle and nerve function, protein synthesis, blood sugar control, blood pressure regulation, strong bones and a normal heart rhythm. Men need at least 420 milligrams of magnesium per day and women need at least 320 milligrams, according to the Institute of Medicine. Both men and women need at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily. Because they are high in healthy fats, nuts are a concentrated source of calories, so limiting yourself to one portion is a good idea.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture notes that almonds are a good source of both magnesium and potassium. From one-third cup of almonds you’ll get roughly 349 milligrams of potassium and about 129 milligrams of magnesium. Eating a serving of almonds per day meets about 7 percent of your need for potassium and 31 to 40 percent of your need for magnesium. The nutritional values vary only slightly whether you choose to eat them raw, roasted or blanched.
Cashew nuts are another way to get both magnesium and potassium. A one-third cup serving of roasted cashews contains 272 milligrams of potassium, or 6 percent of your daily need. You’ll also get about 117 milligrams of magnesium, which meets 28 to 36 percent of your daily need. For the least amount of added fat and sodium, choose unsalted, dry-roasted cashews. They make a great snack on their own or can be added to salads or stir fries for extra nutrients and crunch.
Brazil nuts are a less common nut that grow on giant trees in the Amazon jungle in South America. They’re larger than most nuts and have a rich, creamy flavor. Eating a one-third-cup serving gives you 167 milligrams of magnesium and 292 milligrams of potassium. This meets 6 percent of your need for potassium and 40 to 52 percent of your need for magnesium. You can find Brazil nuts in many bulk food sections and they’re commonly added to deluxe mixed nut blends.
Pistachios and Pine Nuts
You can also eat raw or roasted pistachios or dried pine nuts to get more of these minerals. one-third-cup serving of pistachios gives you roughly 420 milligrams of potassium and 50 milligrams of magnesium, which meets about 9 percent and 12 to 16 percent of your needs respectively. From one-third cup of pine nuts you’ll get 269 milligrams of potassium, or 6 percent of your daily need, and 113 milligrams of magnesium, or 27 to 35 percent of your daily need.
Many seeds, while not technically nuts, provide both minerals as well. Roasted pumpkin seeds provide about 147 milligrams of potassium and 42 milligrams of magnesium per one-quarter-cup serving. A one-quarter-cup serving of sesame seeds gives you 126 milligrams of magnesium and 168 milligrams of potassium. Sunflower seeds also provide 44 milligrams of magnesium and 165 milligrams of potassium per one-quarter cup.