Saturday, July 13, 2024

Magnesium Sources: Nigeria’s Top Native Foods

Last Updated on November 22, 2023


Magnesium in Nigerian Cuisine

  1. Explore Nigeria’s native foods as rich sources of essential magnesium.

  2. Unveil the significance of magnesium for holistic health and well-being.

Importance of Magnesium

  1. Magnesium is vital for nerve function, muscle health, and energy production.

  2. Deficiency links to various health issues, emphasizing the need for magnesium-rich diets.

Overview of Magnesium

Magnesium and its role in the body

Magnesium is an essential mineral that plays a crucial role in the body’s overall functioning.

It participates in over 300 biochemical reactions, including functioning of muscles and nerves, producing energy, and synthesizing protein.

Recommended daily intake of magnesium for adults

The recommended daily intake of magnesium for adult males is 400-420 mg, while for females it is 310-320 mg.

Pregnant and lactating women may require more magnesium, around 350-360 mg per day.

A deficiency in magnesium can lead to various health issues, such as muscle cramps, weakness, and abnormal heart rhythm.

Nigeria’s top native foods that are excellent sources of magnesium

Now, let’s explore Nigeria’s top native foods that are excellent sources of magnesium:

  1. Ugwu (Pumpkin Leaves): This leafy green vegetable is packed with essential nutrients, including magnesium. It can be used in soups, stews, and sauces.

  2. Egusi Soup: Egusi, made from ground melon seeds, is a popular Nigerian soup that contains magnesium-rich ingredients like pumpkin seeds, spinach, and other leafy greens.

  3. Okra Soup: Okra is not only delicious but also a good source of magnesium. It can be cooked into a thick soup using various protein-rich ingredients.

  4. Moin Moin: This traditional Nigerian dish is made from black-eyed peas and is rich in magnesium. It can be steamed or baked.

  5. Efo Riro: A Yoruba delicacy, Efo Riro is a vegetable soup that contains a mix of spinach, pumpkin leaves, and other greens, providing a good amount of magnesium.

  6. Garden Egg: These small, egg-shaped fruits are commonly used in Nigerian cuisine. They are low in calories and high in magnesium.

  7. Beans: Nigerian cuisine often includes different varieties of beans, such as black-eyed beans, brown beans, and butter beans, which are all excellent sources of magnesium.

  8. Groundnut Soup: Groundnut soup, also known as “Ofe-Aku” or “Peanut Soup,” is a favorite dish that contains peanuts rich in magnesium.

  9. Oha Soup: Another delicious Nigerian soup, Oha Soup, is made from Ora leaves, which provide a significant amount of magnesium.

Incorporating these magnesium-rich native foods

Incorporating these magnesium-rich native foods into your diet can help maintain optimal levels of this essential mineral.

Remember, it’s important to consume a diverse range of foods to ensure you’re getting all the necessary nutrients.

So, make these Nigerian delicacies a part of your regular meals and enjoy their health benefits!

Stay tuned for more exciting sections in our blog series on Nigerian cuisine and its nutritional value!

Read: Beverages in Nigeria: Which Ones Offer Rich Minerals?

Magnesium-Rich Nigerian Native Foods

When it comes to obtaining essential nutrients, Nigeria has a plethora of natural foods that are not only tasty but also rich in essential minerals like magnesium.

Magnesium plays a vital role in maintaining good health and is involved in several important bodily functions.

Let’s explore some of the top native foods in Nigeria that are excellent sources of magnesium:


Ewedu is a popular Nigerian vegetable commonly used in soups and stews.

This dark green leafy vegetable not only delights the taste buds but also provides a range of essential nutrients.

Ewedu is an exceptional source of magnesium, containing approximately 88 mg per 100 grams.

It also offers dietary fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, as well as iron and calcium.


In the world of Nigerian cuisine, Ugu, also known as fluted pumpkin leaves, holds a special place.

This vegetable is not only valued for its unique flavor but also for its nutritional benefits.

Ugu is an excellent source of magnesium, containing about 60 mg per 100 grams.

Additionally, it is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium. Its potential health benefits include improved digestion and immunity.


Okra is a widely recognized traditional Nigerian dish that has gained popularity worldwide.

Commonly used in soups and stews, this green vegetable provides a delightful slimy texture and a host of nutrients.

Okra is a significant source of magnesium, with approximately 81 mg per 100 grams.

It is also packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and fiber.

The cultural significance of okra is vast, as it is often used in traditional ceremonies and celebrations.

These three native Nigerian foods are just a few examples of the country’s magnesium-rich offerings.

Incorporating these foods into your diet can help ensure you maintain adequate levels of this essential mineral.

Whether you’re enjoying a hot bowl of Ewedu soup, savoring the rich flavors of Ugu leaves, or relishing the unique texture of okra, you’re not only treating your taste buds but also nourishing your body.

It’s important to remember that while these foods are excellent sources of magnesium, maintaining a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods is key to overall well-being.

So, go ahead and explore the diverse flavors and nutritional benefits of Nigeria’s native foods. Your body will thank you!

Read: The Underrated Minerals: Boron, Molybdenum & Nickel

Magnesium Sources: Nigeria's Top Native Foods

Health Benefits of Magnesium

Health benefits associated with consuming adequate amounts of magnesium

  1. Support for bone health. Consuming adequate amounts of magnesium helps maintain strong and healthy bones.

  2. Regulation of blood pressure. Magnesium plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure levels.

  3. Assistance in energy production. Magnesium is involved in the production of energy in the body.

  4. Promoting proper nerve function. Magnesium helps in the proper functioning of nerves and the transmission of nerve signals.

  5. Benefits for cardiovascular health. Adequate magnesium intake has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Nigeria’s top native foods that are excellent sources of this essential mineral

Now that we have explored the various health benefits of consuming sufficient amounts of magnesium, let’s delve into Nigeria’s top native foods that are excellent sources of this essential mineral.

  1. Egusi Soup: This popular Nigerian soup is made with ground melon seeds and contains a good amount of magnesium.

  2. Bitter Leaf Soup: Bitter leaf, a common ingredient in Nigerian cuisine, is rich in magnesium.

  3. Edikaikong: This traditional Nigerian soup made with various vegetables is a great source of magnesium.

  4. Ukwa (Breadfruit): Ukwa is a delicious and nutritious Nigerian food that provides a good amount of magnesium.

  5. Abacha (African Salad): Made from dried shredded cassava, Abacha is not only tasty but also a good source of magnesium.

  6. Odika: Odika, a soup popularly found in the eastern part of Nigeria, has significant amounts of magnesium.

  7. Nkwobi: This Nigerian delicacy made from cow feet is not only indulgent but also a good source of magnesium.

  8. Ugba (Ukpaka or Oil Bean): Ukpaka is a traditional Nigerian food that contains sufficient amounts of magnesium.

  9. Ofe Nsala: This Igbo delicacy made with assorted meat and spices is a flavorful source of magnesium.

  10. Banga Soup: Made from palm fruits, Banga Soup is not only delicious but also a good source of magnesium.

Adding these native Nigerian foods to your diet can help you meet your daily magnesium requirements and enjoy its numerous health benefits.

It’s important to prioritize a well-balanced diet to maintain overall health.

Remember, a varied diet that includes these magnesium-rich foods, along with other essential nutrients, is crucial for optimal well-being.

Read: Discovering Fluoride in Nigeria’s Drinking Water

Tips for Incorporating Magnesium-Rich Foods into Your Diet

Recipe ideas

  1. Try making a delicious spinach and pumpkin stew using fresh spinach, pumpkin, and local spices.

  2. Make a nutritious breakfast smoothie with bananas, tiger nuts, and powdered moringa leaves.

  3. Prepare a traditional Nigerian soup with ogbono seeds, dried fish, and ugu leaves for a magnesium-packed meal.

Meal planning

  1. Start by listing magnesium-rich foods and create a weekly meal plan incorporating these ingredients.

  2. Have a variety of magnesium-rich foods readily available in your pantry, such as millet, beans, and dark chocolate.

  3. Incorporate a magnesium-rich side dish, like roasted plantains or grilled okra, into your meals regularly.

Dining out options

  1. Visit a local Nigerian restaurant and try their jollof rice made with whole grain rice and garnished with vegetables.

  2. Explore traditional Igbo cuisine by ordering a plate of nsala soup made with catfish and utazi leaves.

  3. Look for yam-based dishes like porridge yam or yam pottage, which are typically rich in magnesium.

By incorporating these tips into your daily life, you can ensure a sufficient intake of magnesium, a vital mineral for overall health and well-being.

Remember, variety is key, so try different recipes and experiment with new ingredients to keep meals exciting and nutritious.

Read: Balancing Diets: How to Get Diverse Minerals in Nigeria


Magnesium plays a vital role in maintaining optimal health.

It is essential for various bodily functions, including nerve and muscle function, blood pressure regulation, and maintaining strong bones.

To ensure overall well-being, it is crucial to include magnesium-rich native foods from Nigeria in your diet.

These foods not only provide an abundant source of magnesium but also offer other essential nutrients.

To take immediate steps towards incorporating these foods into your diet, here’s a simple and delicious recipe you can try: Nigerian Spinach Stew with Fish.

This dish includes ingredients like spinach, fish, tomatoes, onions, and peppers, all of which are rich in magnesium.

Additionally, you can find a comprehensive list of Nigerian native foods that are rich in magnesium on our website.

This list will help you plan meals that are not only delicious but also beneficial for your health.

Remember, incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your diet can have significant benefits for your overall well-being.

So why wait? Take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle by adding these nutritious native foods from Nigeria to your daily meals. Your body will thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *