Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Magnesium Sources: From Nigerian Soil to Table

Last Updated on November 21, 2023


Magnesium Sources From Nigerian Soil to Table: Magnesium is a crucial mineral that plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy diet and overall well-being.

Nigeria, known for its fertile soil, is abundant in resources rich in magnesium.

This blog post aims to explore the various sources of magnesium found in Nigerian cuisine.

Nigeria’s diverse soil types offer a wide range of magnesium-rich sources, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.

These natural sources provide an excellent opportunity for Nigerians to incorporate magnesium into their daily meals.

Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, ugu, and amaranth are high in magnesium content.

These vegetables are widely consumed and form an integral part of Nigerian dishes such as soups and stews.

Additionally, fruits like bananas, avocados, and plantains are not only delicious but also contain significant levels of magnesium.

Including these fruits in one’s diet can provide a natural and tasty way to meet daily magnesium requirements.

Nigerian cuisine also boasts an array of nuts and seeds that are rich in magnesium, such as peanuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.

These can be easily incorporated into snacks, desserts, or added as toppings to enhance the nutritional value of meals.

Furthermore, exploring the traditional fermented food culture in Nigeria unveils fermented products like ogi and kunnu made from millets or sorghum.

These fermented foods are not only tasty but also contain good amounts of magnesium.

In review, Nigeria’s vast soil resources offer abundant sources of magnesium that can be included in various Nigerian dishes.

By incorporating these natural sources into their diets, Nigerians can ensure they meet their daily magnesium requirements and enjoy the many health benefits this mineral provides.

Leafy Greens: A Rich Magnesium Source in Nigeria

When it comes to magnesium sources, Nigeria is blessed with an abundance of leafy green vegetables.

These highly nutritious greens not only add color to our plates but also provide us with numerous health benefits.

Ugu (Fluted Pumpkin)

Ugu, also known as Fluted Pumpkin, is a popular leafy green vegetable in Nigeria.

It is not only delicious but also a powerhouse of magnesium.

Consuming Ugu regularly can help maintain healthy bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Efo Tete (African Spinach)

Efo Tete, commonly referred to as African Spinach, is another leafy green with high magnesium content.

It not only provides a rich source of this essential mineral but also contributes to improved digestion and a stronger immune system.

Ewedu (Jute Leaves)

Ewedu, or Jute Leaves, are not only a great source of magnesium but also rich in fiber.

Regular consumption of Ewedu can aid in digestion, prevent constipation, and promote a healthy gut microbiome.

Soko (Celosia argentea)

Soko, also known as Celosia argentea, is a leafy green vegetable commonly found in Nigeria.

This nutritious vegetable offers a significant amount of magnesium, contributing to improved muscle function and overall cardiovascular health.

These leafy greens, including Ugu, Efo Tete, Ewedu, and Soko, not only provide ample magnesium but also offer a range of other essential nutrients.

Advantages of consuming these vegetables

Some of the advantages of consuming these vegetables include:

Enhanced Nutritional Profile

Leafy green vegetables are low in calories and packed with essential vitamins and minerals, making them an excellent addition to a balanced diet.

Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases

Regular consumption of these vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

Improved Digestive Health

Leafy greens are rich in fiber, promoting healthy digestion, preventing constipation, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Boosted Immune System

The vitamins and antioxidants found in these greens help support a healthy immune system, reducing the risk of infections and illnesses.

Optimal Bone Health

With their high magnesium content, leafy greens contribute to maintaining strong bones, preventing bone loss, and reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

Incorporating these leafy greens into our daily diet is simple and can be done in various ways.

They can be used in salads, steamed, or added to soups and stews.

Ensuring we consume an adequate amount of these vegetables allows us to reap their numerous nutritional benefits and harness the power of magnesium for our overall well-being.

Read: Vitamin A in Nigerian Foods: For Eyesight & Immune System

Whole Grains

Whole grains are a diverse group of foods commonly consumed in Nigeria. These include:

Brown rice

A staple in many Nigerian households, brown rice is a whole grain that is packed with magnesium. A 1-cup serving of cooked brown rice contains about 84 milligrams of magnesium.


Oats are another popular whole grain option in Nigeria. They are rich in magnesium, with a 1-cup serving of cooked oats providing approximately 61 milligrams of magnesium.


Millet is a gluten-free grain that is commonly consumed in Nigeria.

It is not only a good source of magnesium but also provides essential nutrients like iron and vitamin B.

A 1-cup serving of cooked millet contains around 102 milligrams of magnesium.

Whole wheat bread

Whole wheat bread is a nutritious alternative to refined white bread.

It is made from whole grain wheat flour, which retains the magnesium-rich bran and germ.

Two slices of whole wheat bread contain approximately 46 milligrams of magnesium.

Whole wheat pasta

Whole wheat pasta is a healthier choice compared to regular white pasta.

It is made from whole grain wheat, providing more magnesium and other nutrients.

A 1-cup serving of cooked whole wheat pasta contains about 55 milligrams of magnesium.

Incorporating these whole grains into the diet has several advantages for magnesium intake and overall health:


Whole grains are naturally rich in magnesium, an essential mineral that plays a vital role in numerous bodily functions.

Adequate magnesium intake helps maintain healthy bones, regulate blood sugar levels, and support cardiovascular health.


Whole grains are an excellent source of dietary fiber, which promotes healthy digestion and helps prevent constipation.

High-fiber foods like whole grains also support weight management by keeping you feeling fuller for longer.


Whole grains are not only a good source of magnesium but also provide a range of other essential nutrients such as fiber, B vitamins, iron, and antioxidants.

These nutrients work together to support overall health and well-being.

Reduced risk of chronic diseases

Consumption of whole grains has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

The combination of magnesium and other beneficial compounds in whole grains contributes to these health benefits.

Sustained energy levels

Whole grains are digested more slowly compared to refined grains, resulting in a steady release of energy.

This prevents blood sugar spikes and crashes, keeping you energized throughout the day.

In the end, whole grains are a valuable source of magnesium in the Nigerian diet.

Incorporating whole grains like brown rice, oats, millet, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta can help increase magnesium intake and provide numerous health benefits.

With their rich nutrient profile and role in reducing the risk of chronic diseases, whole grains are an important component of a nutritious and balanced diet.

So, start including these magnesium-packed whole grains in your meals today for better health and well-being.

Read: The Role of Calcium in Traditional Nigerian Dishes


The Popularity and Significance of Legumes in Nigerian Cuisine

Legumes hold a prominent place in Nigerian cuisine, cherished for their taste and nutritional value.

These plant-based protein powerhouses form the base of many traditional Nigerian dishes.

From the popular dish known as moi moi, which features steamed bean pudding, to Ewa Agoyin, a savory dish made with mashed beans, legumes are woven into the culinary fabric of Nigerian cuisine.

Not only are legumes rich in proteins, but they also serve as excellent sources of dietary magnesium.

Legumes That Are Excellent Sources of Magnesium

  1. Kidney Beans: These vibrant beans are not only packed with magnesium but also provide a good amount of fiber.

  2. Chickpeas: Known for their versatility, chickpeas are not only a great magnesium source but also offer a range of other essential nutrients.

  3. Lentils: With their earthy flavor and impressive nutrient profile, lentils are a fantastic way to incorporate magnesium into your diet.

  4. Black-eyed Peas: Besides being an excellent source of magnesium, black-eyed peas are also rich in folate and iron.

  5. Soybeans: These legumes pack a double punch of magnesium and complete plant-based protein.

Unveiling the Nutritional Profile and Potential Health Benefits of Legumes

Legumes are a nutritional powerhouse, providing a variety of essential nutrients.

They are low in fat and high in fiber, making them ideal for maintaining a healthy digestive system.

Legumes are also abundant in vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, which plays a vital role in maintaining healthy bones and supporting overall heart health.

Moreover, legumes have a low glycemic index, making them perfect for regulating blood sugar levels.

Regular consumption of legumes has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancers.

Incorporating Legumes into Your Diet

  1. Soups and Stews: Add kidney beans, lentils, or black-eyed peas to your favorite soups and stews for a nutritious boost.

  2. Salads: Sprinkle chickpeas or soybeans over your salads to elevate the protein content.

  3. Dips and Spreads: Use legumes, such as chickpeas, to make delicious and healthy dips like hummus.

  4. Side Dishes: Whip up flavorful side dishes using legumes like lentils or black-eyed peas.

By incorporating legumes into your diet, you can easily increase your magnesium intake and reap the numerous health benefits they offer.

Read: Iron-Packed Foods in Nigeria: Combating Anaemia Naturally

Magnesium Sources: From Nigerian Soil to Table

Nuts and Seeds

Types of Nuts and Seeds Commonly Found and Consumed in Nigeria

  1. Almonds: Almonds are a popular choice and contain high levels of magnesium.

  2. Cashews: Cashews are rich in magnesium and are commonly used in Nigerian cuisine.

  3. Pistachios: Pistachios are an excellent source of magnesium and provide various health benefits.

  4. Sesame Seeds: These seeds are commonly used in Nigerian cooking and are a good source of magnesium.

  5. Pumpkin Seeds: Pumpkin seeds are highly nutritious and contain a significant amount of magnesium.

  6. Sunflower Seeds: Sunflower seeds are a tasty snack and are packed with magnesium.

  7. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are rich in magnesium and are often consumed for their numerous health benefits.

  8. Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are becoming increasingly popular in Nigeria and are a good source of magnesium.

Nuts and Seeds as Notable Sources of Magnesium

Including these nuts and seeds in your diet can significantly boost your magnesium intake.

Almonds, cashews, pistachios, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are all excellent sources of magnesium.

Health Benefits of Incorporating Nuts and Seeds into the Diet

  1. Improved Heart Health: Magnesium-rich nuts and seeds can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.

  2. Supports Bone Health: Adequate magnesium intake is essential for bone health, and nuts and seeds can contribute to this.

  3. Blood Sugar Control: Consuming magnesium-rich foods like nuts and seeds may help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

  4. Reduced Inflammation: The anti-inflammatory properties of magnesium can help alleviate symptoms of inflammatory conditions like arthritis.

  5. Enhanced Digestion: Nuts and seeds contain fiber that promotes healthy digestion and prevents constipation.

  6. Boosted Brain Function: Magnesium is important for cognitive function, and including nuts and seeds in the diet can support brain health.

  7. Energy Production: Magnesium plays a vital role in energy production, and consuming nuts and seeds can help combat fatigue.

  8. Muscle and Nerve Function: Adequate magnesium intake supports proper muscle and nerve function, reducing the risk of cramps and spasms.

  9. Better Sleep Quality: Magnesium can help relax muscles and promote better sleep, making nuts and seeds a good bedtime snack.

  10. Weight Management: Nuts and seeds are nutrient-dense and can promote feelings of fullness, assisting with weight management.

Incorporating a variety of nuts and seeds into your diet is an excellent way to increase your magnesium intake and enjoy their numerous health benefits.

Read: Top Foods Rich in Iron Consumed in Nigeria Today


Seafood plays a significant role in Nigerian cuisine, thanks to the country’s coastal location.

The importance of seafood in Nigerian cuisine due to its coastal location

When it comes to seafood options rich in magnesium, Nigerians have plenty to choose from:

Specific seafood options rich in magnesium

  1. Mackerel

  2. Tilapia

  3. Shrimp

  4. Crab

  5. Clams

The nutritional advantages and potential health benefits of consuming seafood for magnesium intake

Consuming seafood provides several nutritional advantages along with potential health benefits for magnesium intake.

Seafood is not only a rich source of magnesium but also provides the body with essential vitamins and minerals.

Regular seafood consumption can contribute to a well-balanced diet and overall improved health.

In addition to high magnesium content, seafood is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which offer numerous health benefits.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in seafood have been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease and improving brain health.

Seafood also contains high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair.

Moreover, seafood is low in saturated fat, making it a healthy choice for those watching their cholesterol levels.

Integrating seafood into your diet can also boost your immune system and support overall wellness.

Seafood is an excellent source of vitamins, including vitamin D, vitamin B12, and vitamin E.

Vitamin D, in particular, is crucial for maintaining bone health and proper immune system function.

Adding seafood to your meals is easy and versatile, as there are numerous recipes that showcase its flavors.

Pan-seared tilapia or grilled shrimp can be paired with a variety of vegetables and grains for a wholesome, magnesium-rich meal.

When purchasing seafood, it’s crucial to ensure its freshness and quality to get the maximum nutritional benefits.

If you live in an area with limited access to fresh seafood, frozen options are a convenient and equally nutritious alternative.

However, it’s essential to avoid breading or frying seafood, as it can reduce its nutritional value.

Seafood should be cooked using healthier methods such as grilling, baking, or steaming to retain its nutritional benefits.

In summary, seafood is an excellent source of magnesium for Nigerians due to their coastal location.

By incorporating seafood into their diet, Nigerians can enjoy a wide range of health benefits and improve their overall well-being.


To recap, Nigerian cuisine offers a variety of sources for magnesium, including leafy greens, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and seafood.

These foods are not only rich in magnesium but also readily available and accessible throughout the country.

Incorporating these magnesium-rich foods into our diets is crucial to ensure adequate intake and promote overall wellness.

Magnesium plays a vital role in numerous bodily functions, from muscle and nerve function to immune system support.

By incorporating leafy greens like spinach and kale, whole grains such as brown rice and millet, legumes like lentils and black beans, nuts and seeds such as almonds and pumpkin seeds, and seafood like fish and shrimp, we can easily meet our magnesium needs.

Adding these foods to our daily meals can be as simple as making a green smoothie with spinach and chia seeds for breakfast, enjoying a salad with leafy greens and nuts for lunch, and including whole grains or legumes in our dinners.

Making conscious choices to include these magnesium sources in our diets will not only enhance our overall health but also contribute to reducing the risk of magnesium deficiency-related health conditions.

So, let’s take advantage of the abundance of magnesium-rich foods in Nigeria and make them a regular part of our meals.

By doing so, we can ensure that our bodies receive the necessary magnesium intake for optimal function and well-being.

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