January 19, 2017 0423 GMT
Foods like leafy greens, fish, nuts and wholegrain could help reduce the risk of chronic health conditions such as diabetes and even heart disease — experts have revealed, according to express.co.uk.
Experts said previous studies have linked insufficient magnesium levels to a greater risk of developing a wide range of health problems including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Xuexian Fang, a nutrition researcher at Zhengzhou University in China has looked at the link between dietary magnesium and chronic disease.
The team looked at data from 40 studies published from 1999 to 2016 on more than one million people across nine countries.
Compared with people who had the lowest levels of magnesium in their diets, people who got the most magnesium were 26 percent less likely to develop diabetes.
The researchers also found people were 10 percent less likely to develop heart disease and 12 percent less likely to have a stroke.
Combined, the studies in the analysis included 7,678 cases of cardiovascular disease, 6,845 cases of coronary heart disease, 701 cases of heart failure, 4,755 cases of stroke, 26,299 cases of type 2 diabetes and 10,983 deaths.
Researchers looked at the effect of increasing dietary magnesium by 100 milligrams a day.
They found there was no impact on total risk of cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease.
But they did find that increasing dietary magnesium by this amount was tied to a 22 percent reduction in the risk of heart failure, and a seven percent decrease in the risk of stroke.
Increasing magnesium intake was also associated with a 19 percent reduction in the risk of diabetes.
The report concluded: “Increasing dietary magnesium intake is associated with a reduced risk of stroke, heart failure, diabetes, and all-cause mortality, but not CHD or total CVD. These findings support the notion that increasing dietary magnesium might provide health benefits.”
While experts admit it is not fully understood why magnesium improves health, Fang said that the mineral can help reduce inflammation which can lower the risk of developing chronic diseases.
However, they said that the analysis is based on observational studies and can’t prove magnesium directly prevents disease.
Foods high in magnesium include spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, dark chocolate and bananas.