Magnesium is an essential mineral abundant in your bones and cells. Along with playing a key role in helping your organs function, magnesium assists in energy production, activates enzymes and regulates your body's levels of calcium, copper, vitamin D, potassium and zinc. Insufficient magnesium can result in anxiety, sleep disorders, abnormal heart rhythms, muscle spasms and weakness. A variety of vegan foods contain high levels of this mineral.
Green vegetables are one type of vegan food containing magnesium. As the Office of Dietary Supplements explains, chlorophyll—which imparts a green color to vegetables—contains magnesium in its chemical makeup, so vegetables with green coloration are generally high in this mineral. Canned spinach is a particularly rich source of magnesium, containing 81 mg in half a cup. Likewise, cooked beet greens contain 49 mg per half-cup, and cooked artichoke hearts contain 50 mg per half-cup.
Nuts and Seeds
Most nuts and seeds contain ample magnesium, although the exact amount varies between types. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, 1 ounce of pumpkin seed kernels contains 151 mg of magnesium, 1 ounce of Brazil nuts contains 107 mg, 1 ounce of almonds contains 78 mg, 1 ounce of cashews contains 74 mg, 1 ounce of pine nuts contains 71 mg and 1 ounce of peanuts contains 50 mg.
Grains, particularly whole grains, are rich sources of magnesium. One half-cup of buckwheat flour contains 75 mg of this mineral, one-half cup of dry quinoa contains 89 mg, one-half cup of dry bulgur contains 57 mg, one-half cup of dry oat bran contains 55 mg and one-half cup of cooked brown rice contains 42 mg. As the Office of Dietary Supplements explains, the refining process removes the magnesium-rich bran and germ from grains, making refined grains like white flour lower in magnesium than their unprocessed counterparts.
Most legumes contain significant amounts of magnesium. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, mature, cooked soybeans contain 74 mg of magnesium per half cup, canned white beans contain 67 mg per half cup, cooked black beans contain 60 mg per half cup, cooked baby lima beans contain 50 mg per half cup, cooked navy beans contain 48 mg per half cup, cooked cowpeas contain 46 mg per half cup and cooked great northern beans contain 44 mg per half cup.