A linchpin in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, magnesium sometimes seems like the forgotten mineral. Sure, people commonly wonder if they're getting enough calcium or potassium, but how often is their attention drawn to their need for magnesium? Seeing as it's vital to 300 biochemical functions in the body, magnesium deserves a closer look.

Magnesium ranks fourth in presence among the other minerals in the body, and when it comes to heart health, it maintains a healthy heart rhythm and normal blood pressure. A study in 2000 found that magnesium supplements allowed heart disease patients to exercise for a protracted period of time and improved the ability of the blood vessels to transfer more blood to the body parts in need of it. And according to an article published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Americans who are middle-aged or older are not getting enough of it and other micronutrients such as vitamin C in their diet.[1]

How can you incorporate more magnesium into your day-to-day and get the recommended amount—which stands at 420 milligrams for men and 320 for women? Below are five ideas that will deliver the minerals you need.

Breakfast: Add a banana to your bran flakes, your shredded wheat, or your oatmeal, and you've fulfilled a quarter of your magnesium requirement for the day. With the additional potassium and fiber you're taking in, you're also doing your heart health a whole lot of good. At 45 milligrams, yogurt is another decent source of magnesium, plus it provides abundant stores of heart-healthy calcium and bad-cholesterol-reducing active cultures.

Mid-morning snack: A half a cup of raisins makes a great pre-lunch treat. Protecting bone health as well as heart health, raisins offer 25 milligrams of magnesium as well the antioxidant richness of flavonols.

Lunch: Lentils, or another member of the legume family such as kidney beans or pinto beans, with brown rice is a good pairing if you want to up your magnesium intake for improved heart health; a half-cup serving of each provides 40 milligrams and 35 milligrams, respectively. A peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread will also bestow about 75 milligrams of magnesium.

Mid-afternoon snack: You can save the peanut butter for an afternoon spread on apples slices, which contain a litany of phytonutrients that promote heart health. Almonds or cashews pass on plenty of magnesium at about 80 milligrams per one-ounce serving

Dinner: At about 215 milligrams, a three-ounce serving of halibut combined with spinach and baked potato slices with the skins left on them comprises magnificently magnesium-rich supper. Spinach alone is tremendous for heart health, offering other DASH diet minerals such as calcium, antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene, and the homocysteine-lowering B vitamin folate.

[1] Burnett-Hartman et al. Supplement Use Contributes to Meeting Recommended Dietary Intakes for Calcium, Magnesium, and Vitamin C in Four Ethnicities of Middle-Aged and Older Americans: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2009; 109 (3): 422 DOI: 10.1016/j.jada.2008.11.023; http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090301094252.htm