We don't tend to think about magnesium the way you do protein, fat, or even minerals like iron and calcium. But here's an important memo: Your body needs magnesium to function, as well as to regulate blood sugar, create healthy muscle, and do all the important functions that keep you ticking along. Magnesium is a food we need to get more of since 80 percent of Americans are deficient or lacking in magnesium, which can hurt your metabolism on a cellular level.

Here is the latest on why magnesium is so important to your health and how much magnesium you should be getting every day.

Check out this helpful list of foods that are rich in magnesium, and these delicious recipes that will make it super easy to get the magnesium that your metabolism requires to be healthy. Below are 11 plant-based and magnesium-rich recipes to make.

What is Magnesium and why is it important?

Magnesium is a micro-nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy. Magnesium is important for everything from regulating muscle and nerve function, to controlling your blood sugar levels, as well as keeping blood pressure in check and making sure you can turn protein into muscle and lay down healthy bone mass. Magnesium even helps regulate your body's DNA, which means cell growth, healthy cell turnover, and whether you stay healthy or get sick. Do we have your attention yet? Magnesium is a "do it all" nutrient!

Four primary ways magnesium benefits you (that you can see – since there are countless other cellular functions that magnesium is critical for throughout the body. Magnesium helps you:

  • Get a better night's sleep
  • Prevent muscle cramps
  • Fight stress and elevate your mood
  • Reduce joint pain

Magnesium Helps Your Metabolic Processes

Magnesium is an essential nutrient that "plays a crucial role in many physiological functions," according to scientists. "It is critical in energy-requiring metabolic processes, in protein synthesis, membrane integrity, nervous tissue conduction, neuromuscular excitability, muscle contraction, hormone secretion, and in intermediary metabolism."

How Much Magnesium Per Day?

So how much magnesium should you be getting every day? The amount of magnesium you need depends on your age and gender, according to the National Institutes of Health, which published a paper on this topic for consumers who are worried about whether they are getting enough magnesium. Essentially you need more magnesium as you age, and men need more than women.

Average daily recommended magnesium in milligrams (mg), as per the NIH.

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Magnesium [1]
AgeMaleFemalePregnancyLactation
Birth to 6 months30 mg*30 mg*
7–12 months75 mg*75 mg*
1–3 years80 mg80 mg
4–8 years130 mg130 mg
9–13 years240 mg240 mg
14–18 years410 mg360 mg400 mg360 mg
19–30 years400 mg310 mg350 mg310 mg
31–50 years420 mg320 mg360 mg320 mg
51+ years420 mg320 mg

Foods High in Magnesium

Tofu is rich in magnesium, with 37 mg per half cup. So are lentils, which have 71 mg in a cup. How to get the magnesium you need? Here are the foods that are highest in magnesium:

  • Pumpkin seeds, roasted (1 ounce) have 156 mg
  • Chia seeds, 1 ounce has 111 mg
  • Dry Roasted Almonds (1 ounce) have 80 mg
  • Spinach, boiled, ½ cup 78 mg
  • Cashews, dry roasted, 1 ounce has 74 mg
  • Lentils, 1 cup, has 71 mg
  • Peanuts, oil roasted, ¼ cup has 63 mg
  • Cereal, shredded wheat, 2 biscuits have 61mg
  • Soymilk, plain or vanilla, 1 cup has 61 mg
  • Black beans, cooked, ½ cup has 60 mg
  • Edamame, shelled, cooked, ½ cup has 50 mg
  • Peanut butter, smooth, 2 tablespoons has 49 mg
  • Baked Potato with skin, 3.5 ounces has 43 mg
  • Brown Rice, cooked, ½ cup has 42 mg
  • Fortified Breakfast cereals, 1 serving has 42 mg
  • Tofu, cooked, half cup, has 37 mg
  • Instant Oatmeal, 1 packet has 36 mg
  • Kidney beans, ½ cup has 35
  • Banana, medium, has 32
  • Avocado, cubed, ½ cup, 22 mg

11 Recipes With Magnesium-Rich Foods:

It's easy to get your daily requirement of magnesium from a plant-based diet if you eat the above foods often. Here are 11 recipes that make it super easy to get all the magnesium your body needs.

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1. One Pot Recipe: Healthy Moroccan-Style Vegan Lentil Stew

This stew is thick, hearty, warming, and comforting –– perfect for colder days. It’s packed with protein-rich lentils, nutritious veggies, and flavorful, aromatic spices that make your kitchen smell wonderful.

Recipe: Moroccan-Style Vegan Lentil Stew

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2. Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

This vibrant sweet potato and lentil Shepherd’s pie is packed with hearty vegetables and savory spices like thyme and rosemary. It’s guaranteed to fill your kitchen with warm and cozy aromas that will put you in a festive mood.

Recipe: Vegan Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

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3. Lentil Sweet Potato Salad

Looking for a hearty salad recipe that's full of flavor? Make this sweet potato and lentil salad on a bed of kale and top it with hummus.

Recipe: Lentil Sweet Potato Salad

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4. Vegan Lentil Burger

This low-calorie recipe combines lentils with fresh vegetables, herbs, and seasonings with an egg replacement made with flax seeds and water to form the perfect patty.

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5. Spicy Maple Mustard Tofu With Vegetables,

Turn up the heat with this Spicy Maple Mustard Tofu, an easy-to-make dish with a sweet and tangy flavor, loaded with vegetables to fuel your body. Serve it over a bed of brown rice and garnish it with fresh herbs, chili peppers, and toasted cashews.

Recipe: Spicy Maple Mustard Tofu With Vegetables

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6. Vegan Baked Tofu Teriyaki

Making a delicious teriyaki sauce has never been easier –– this one takes just five minutes. Mixed in with some crispy baked tofu, rice, and veggies on the side and you’ve got yourself a flavorful, high protein meal so good you’ll be getting for up seconds.

Recipe: Vegan Baked Tofu Teriyaki

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7. Vegan Kung Pao Tofu

If you’re craving a dish packed with veggies with a bit of a kick then we've got you covered with this Vegan Kung Pao Tofu. This is an easy recipe to make whether you want to make dinner for the whole family or meal prep dinner for the next few days.

Recipe: Vegan Kung Pao Tofu

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8. Crispy Baked Tofu

These tofu slices are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. This easy recipe is delicious on its own and is even better when paired with your favorite dipping sauce.

Recipe: Crispy Baked Tofu

Love kale? Make this healthy plant-based salad recipe.
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9. Kale Salad with Creamy Vegan Chipotle Dressing

This salad features a mix of hearty kale, colorful butternut squash, beets, protein-packed chickpeas, and quinoa. Did you know quinoa contains 8 grams of protein in just one cup? It’s no wonder the ancient Inca civilization considered it a sacred food.

Recipe: Kale Salad with Vegan Creamy Chipotle Dressing 

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10. Pear Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

If you're not getting enough greens, this sophisticated fall salad will convince you to load up on a few more servings. Nourishing and festive, our Pear Salad is dressed with a Maple Mustard Vinaigrette, perfect to make during the fall season. 

This salad is loaded with fiber from all the veggies and is high in protein thanks to the quinoa. If you want to up the protein content, feel free to toss in a cup of chickpeas or some tofu. This salad will keep you full, satisfied, and energized with all the highly nutritious ingredients.

Recipe: Pear Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

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11. Salad with Creamy Hemp Balsamic Dressing

The salad bowl calls for fiber-filled foods like chickpeas, quinoa, cauliflower, and nuts helping you feel fuller longer so you won't feel the need to reach for the bag of chips or any other unwanted calories. If one of your goals is to eat healthier and get back in shape, eating a salad for lunch every day will set you on the right track

Recipe: Loaded Salad with Creamy Hemp-Balsamic Dressing