Are walnuts rich in magnesium? Other nuts have more?

Walnuts are one of the richest nuts in magnesium. They have up to 201 mg of magnesium per 100g, while a serving provides up to 13.5% of the required daily dose! Only almonds and cashews have a much higher magnesium content.

How much magnesium is in walnuts?

Walnuts are excellent dietary sources of magnesium. They contain 158-201 mg of magnesium per 100g, depending on the variety. This amount is up to 48% of the Daily Value (DV).

For instance, English walnuts have the lowest magnesium content as compared to other walnut varieties. They have 158 mg of magnesium per 100g. A chopped cup has 185 mg of magnesium, while 1/4 cup has 39 mg of magnesium, or 9% of the DV. Furthermore, a handful of English walnuts provides 44.8 mg of magnesium, or almost 11% of the DV.

On the contrary, black walnuts are richer in magnesium than English walnuts. They have 27% more magnesium! Black walnuts have 201 mg of magnesium per 100g. A handful provides 57 mg of magnesium, or 13.5% of the DV.[1]

However, walnut oil has no magnesium at all. Actually, most highly processed foods are poor sources of magnesium. Even walnut-based foods have less magnesium per 100g than whole walnuts. Actually, refined flours, eggs, and all vegetable oils, which are common ingredients in most commercial packaged foods, aren’t good dietary sources of magnesium. Only milk has moderate amounts of magnesium.

Do walnuts have more magnesium than other common nuts?

Walnuts have a moderate amount of magnesium as compared to other favorite nuts. Almonds and cashews are the richest nuts in magnesium. They provide 18% of the DV per serving. In fact, almonds have 71% more magnesium than walnuts!

magnesium (mg)
per 100g
magnesium (mg)
per serving
% DV
pine nuts2517117%
Brazil nuts1.200%
Magnesium in nuts.

Do we absorb the magnesium of walnuts?

It’s estimated that we absorb 30-50% of magnesium of food. The absorption rate depends on the consumed dose. Higher doses of magnesium are associated with lower absorption rates.[2]

How to increase the absorption rates of magnesium of walnuts?

Above all, we should have normal vitamin D levels for optimal absorption of magnesium. Vitamin D at normal levels may enhance magnesium absorption. However, as vitamin D deficiency is pretty common, many people would benefit from taking high amounts of vitamin D from dietary supplements.[3]

What inhibits the absorption of magnesium of walnuts?

We may absorb less magnesium from walnuts, if we:

  • consume too many foods high in phytate, such as beans, whole grains, and nuts.
  • get high doses of zinc or vitamin D. Also, too much zinc may interfere with the absorption of calcium. Walnuts have decent amounts of calcium as well.
  • smoke
  • drink too much alcohol
  • take certain drugs

What’s the recommended daily intake?

The recommended daily intake of magnesium is approximately 420 mg for adult men and 320 mg for adult women. Teenagers and pregnant women have high magnesium needs (360-410 mg) as well. Children require lower dosages.

Do walnuts help us meet our daily needs of magnesium?

Actually, walnuts and most nuts help us meet our daily needs of magnesium. A serving provides up to 18% of the DV.

However, we should be very cautious with portion sizes. Overconsumption of walnuts can make you gain weight. Walnuts have many calories!

When should I eat walnuts?

The best time to eat walnuts for weight loss is between meals, as a healthy snack. You can eat walnuts on an empty stomach. Walnuts are low in carbs and sugar. They don’t spike blood sugar levels. On the contrary, walnuts control glycemic response! Moreover, fiber and protein in walnuts promote satiety.

Another great time to eat walnuts is before bed. Walnut consumption is beneficial for a good night’s sleep!

Can we get too much magnesium from walnuts?

Healthy people can’t get too much magnesium from walnuts. In fact, there hasn’t been established a maximum safe dose of magnesium for food. Only for dietary supplements. The kidneys eliminate excess amounts in the urine.

However, patients with impaired renal function or kidney failure can get too much magnesium from magnesium-rich foods, like walnuts. In certain diseases, the kidneys can’t remove excess amounts of magnesium.

Always consult your physician before changing your diet.

Other common foods high in magnesium

Magnesium is naturally found in animal and plant-based foods, as well as certain beverages.

Green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach), beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and certain fruits are good sources of magnesium. In general, foods high in fiber are good sources of magnesium as well.

Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, and spinach are the richest common foods in magnesium. They provide 19-37% of the DV per serving!

Moreover, banana and avocado are the richest fruits in magnesium.

Whole grains also have decent amounts of magnesium. Avoid refined grains, though. The removal of the nutrient-rich germ and bran substantially lowers their magnesium content.

Tap and bottled water can also be a good source of magnesium.

Dietary surveys in the United States consistently show that many people consume less than the recommended daily intake of magnesium. But, following a well-balanced, plant-based diet can provide more than enough magnesium.

Health benefits of magnesium

Magnesium is vital for good health. It’s the 4th most abundant mineral in the body. It acts as a cofactor for more than 300 enzymes and plays a key role in DNA synthesis! 

Magnesium is involved in energy production, glycemic control, protein synthesis, myocardial contraction, blood pressure regulation, nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and muscular relaxation.

Also, magnesium plays a key role in bone development and mineralization. It’s essential for the metabolism and activation of vitamin D, which helps regulate calcium and phosphate homeostasis to influence the growth and maintenance of bones. Thus, adequate magnesium intake decreases the risk of osteoporosis.[4]

Furthermore, magnesium is necessary for the synthesis of glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant. Thus, it helps the body fight oxidative stress.