Magnesium in Coffee

Two coffees and a little magnesiumI was out browsing the lists of magnesium rich foods once again – a weird hobby, but that’s what running a website about magnesium foods will do to you.

I came across this list, and was wowed by the number one magnesium super food right at the top. None other than coffee. 15,999 milligrams! That’s an outrageous number, considering your daily requirements are less than 500, or at most 800 if you follow the strongest proponents of magnesium. What does almost 16 grams of magnesium actually mean here? That’s enough to give diarrhea to you even if all you eat are rocks and starchy white rice.

This demonstrates a problem that many such lists have. If they list according to magnesium per 100 gram (about 4 ounces) servings, you’ll get things at the top of the list such as soy sauce, and fresh ground coffee (not the water, just the ground coffee beans).  Try downing 4 ounces of soy sauce or coffee beans in a sitting. You won’t enjoy it, and most likely you’ll stop to get sick before you get even close.

The items at the top of nutrition lists based on one serving size will be top-heavy with things that aren’t meant to be eaten in those volumes.

Lists based on calories have the same issue. While they can be helpful, you will find very low calorie things such as salt, coffee, and kombu seaweed that, once again, cannot be eaten in any bulk.

This is why we need to talk about magnesium foods one by one. So, let’s talk about coffee…

I love coffee, and so I love any excuse to drink more of it. However there’s a problem. Coffee both drains your body of magnesium and contribute. First the contribution:

One 8 oz. cup of coffee will provide you with 7 mg of magnesium. That’s it. If you drink 5 or 6 such cups per day, you’ll get the benefit of 35-42 mg of magnesium. Now, compare that to a cup of spinach, which will give you about 150 mg of magnesium, and a whole lot more nutrition to boot. So yes, coffee gives you some magnesium, but it’s hardly the preferred source.

Now the bad news. Caffeine causes your body to lose magnesium, mainly through the urine. In the long run, coffee probably costs you more magnesium than it gives you.

So, all in all, coffee is not the place to to to get your extra magnesium. On the other hand, if you enjoy drinking coffee, go for it. It does contribute a bit of magnesium to make up for what it takes, and it is one of the most enjoyable things a person can drink.

For a little more on coffee, head over to the Harvard School of Public Health. No matter how much magnesium in coffee there is, this will make you feel good about drinking it.