Magnesium is an essential nutrient that can be found in a variety of food and drinks.

Magnesium is a mineral found in food and drink all over the world. It plays a role in hundreds of your body’s everyday chemical reactions. It’s also linked to a bunch of health benefits. Thirsty? Let’s find out what drinks have magnesium in them so you can top yourself up on the go.

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Photography by Juan Moyano/Stocksy United

Experts recommend men get 400–420 milligram (mg) of magnesium per day. For women it’s 310–320 mg, or 350–360 mg if you’re pregnant. With that in mind, let’s take a look at which drinks have the most magnesium.

DrinkDaily Value (DV)
Beer, 1 can (356 g)5.1%
Orange juice, 1 cup (248 g)6.5%
1% milk, 1 cup (244 g)6.38%
Red wine, 5 fluid ounces4.19%
White wine, 5 fluid ounces3.5%
Hot chocolate, made with dry mix and water, 1 packet (206 g)5.88%
Naturally sparkling mineral water, 8 fluid ounces6.29%
Cherry juice, 1 cup (269 g)7.05%
Watermelon juice, 8 fluid ounces5.71%

There’s also the usual line-up of mineral drinks on the market. Many contain added magnesium, but that isn’t always a good thing. Some commercial mineral drinks contain too much magnesium. A single serving could take you way over the recommended daily allowance (RDA), so be mindful of labels.

Drinks aren’t the only way to get magnesium from your diet. Here’s a quick list of foods that are solid sources of the stuff.

FoodDaily Value (DV) per cooked cup
Swiss chard36%
Beet greens23%
Acorn squash21%
Black beans29%
Navy beans23%
Brown rice14%

So, why drink more magnesium in the first place? The potential benefits of magnesium may include:

  • heart health
  • migraine relief
  • improved sleep
  • anti-inflammation
  • balanced blood sugar
  • enhanced exercise performance
  • reduced depression or anxiety symptoms

Here’s a breakdown of these benefits.

Magnesium for sleep

Magnesium is often found in sleep supplements. Magnesium may help you fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply, and regulate sleep.

May prevent certain chronic conditions

Magnesium deficiency in the body is linked to conditions like:

  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • heart disease
  • skeletal problems
  • muscular problems
  • metabolic syndrome

Your workout could get a boost from magnesium

Some studies have linked magnesium supplements to greater exercise benefits, like improved mobility and more muscle mass. It may also help folks stay fit as they age.

Just keep in mind, we need more research to really understand the full range of benefits.

Magnesium might help tackle depression and anxiety

Multiple studies have linked magnesium to our brain’s ability to resist depression and anxiety. We need more high-quality evidence before we can explain the exact nature of that link. But if your mood has dipped, consider whether the cause might be dietary.

Blood sugar may benefit from magnesium

There appears to be some link between magnesium intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Some research claims it affects our insulin sensitivity, important in controlling blood sugar levels.

However, there are a lot of big questions we still need to answer in this area. It’s possible that magnesium supplements might only help if you start out with a magnesium deficiency. How helpful it is for health people isn’t fully known.

Magnesium might improve heart health

Researchers have associated healthy levels of magnesium with a lower risk of heart disease. This might also be true for heart risk factors associated with other conditions like diabetes.

Other risks to heart health don’t appear to be improved by magnesium, however. We’ve seen no proven effects on things like cholesterol levels.

Your body could use magnesium to fight inflammation

We have some evidence that links magnesium deficiency to increased inflammation. Those with chronic inflammation might potentially benefit from a regular supplement.

This becomes more and more valuable as we get older. Our bodies become subject to more oxidative stress, making it harder (and more important) to fight inflammation.

Magnesium might prevent migraines

Migraine is the pits, causing anything from a really bad headache to nausea and vision problems. Studies suggest that a lack of magnesium in the diet can be a factor behind migraines. But again, we need more research to fully understand how well it works.

Magnesium may help healthy bones

Anywhere from 5060 percent of the magnesium in your body gets stored in the bones. It stands to reason that it would be doing something useful there. In fact, research links healthy magnesium levels to a lower risk of osteoporosis.

Ingesting enough magnesium could help your bones stay stronger for longer. This is another situation where the benefits get more pronounced with age. Older folks are more prone to trips and falls, so it pays to strengthen ourselves however we can.

It’s very rare for someone to overdose on magnesium. Your kidneys are pretty good at getting rid of it via your pee. Cases where people have had too much magnesium are usually the result of laxatives and antacids. These can contain more than 5,000 mg which is … a lot.

If you’re taking magnesium supplements or medications containing high doses of it, talk to a doctor if you experience:

  • nausea
  • lethargy
  • vomiting
  • depression
  • trouble peeing
  • difficulty breathing
  • low blood pressure
  • stomach pains or cramps

It might also be worth talking to a nutritionist if you have any kidney problems and you’re thinking about magnesium supplements. Depending on how your kidneys process the mineral, you may need to limit your intake.

If you feel like you’re not getting enough magnesium in your diet, there are plenty of drinks that can help. Swapping your lunchtime cola for a tall glass of OJ could pay off big. But don’t go obsessing over one mineral, look at the full picture.

Balancing your diet and lifestyle is the surest path to improving your mood and securing better long-term health.