A new analysis of studies – the largest one to date – concluded that a diet rich in magnesium may reduce the risk of diseases including coronary heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes. The review involved data from more than one million people across nine countries.
For the analysis, data from 40 studies published between 1999 to 2016 were used to investigate associations between dietary magnesium and various diseases. In all the studies, levels of dietary magnesium were determined using a self-reported food frequency questionnaire or a 24-hour dietary recall.
The researchers found that people whose diets provided the most magnesium had a 10% lower risk of coronary heart disease, 12% lower risk of stroke and a 26% lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who consumed the least.
The results indicated that consuming an extra 100 mg magnesium per day could reduce risk of stroke by 7% and type 2 diabetes by 19%.
Low levels of magnesium in the body have been associated with a range of diseases but no conclusive evidence connected dietary magnesium and health risks. The new findings provide the most up-to-date evidence supporting a link between the role of magnesium in food and reducing the risk of disease.
How much magnesium do you need?
Magnesium deficiency is relatively common, affecting up to 15% of the general population.
Men and women, over age 30, require 420 and 320 milligrams of magnesium each day, respectively. Adults aged 19 to 30 need 400 (men) and 310 (women) milligrams per day.
The mineral is needed to maintain healthy blood pressure; it also helps regulate blood sugar (glucose) by influencing the release and activity of insulin, the hormone that clears sugar from the bloodstream.
Food sources of magnesium
Some of the best food sources of magnesium include black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans, soybeans, firm tofu, spinach, Swiss card, halibut, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, yogurt and wheat germ. Magnesium-rich foods are also a good source of fibre, folate and potassium and low in sodium, attributes that may also play a role in keeping you healthy.
The new evidence suggests that boosting your daily magnesium intake by 100 milligrams helps guard against stroke and type 2 diabetes.The following foods each contain 100 milligrams of the mineral:
Halibut, 3.5 oz.
Almonds, 30 nuts
Swiss chard, cooked, 2/3 cup
Cashews, 24 nuts
Soybeans, cooked, 2/3 cup
Spinach, cooked, 2/3 cup
Peanuts, 56 nuts
Tofu, firm, 1 cup
Wheat bran, raw, ¼ cup
Wheat germ, 1/3 cup
Yogurt, plain, nonfat, 2.25 cups
Sunflower seed, 2/3 cup
Baked beans, 1.25 cups
Brown rice, cooked, 1.25 cups
Black beans, cooked, ¾ cup
Kale, cooked, 1.25 cups
Lentils, cooked, 1.5 cups
Kidney beans, 1.5 cups
Avocado, California, 1.5
Source: BMC Medicine, December 8, 2016.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.