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If you want to protect yourself against heart disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes, fill up on magnesium-rich green leafy vegetables.

A study published in the journal BMC Medicine found that people who ate the highest amounts of dietary magnesium had a 10 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease, a 12 percent lower risk of stroke and a 26 percent lower risk of type-2 diabetes, compared to those who ate foods with the lowest amounts of magnesium.

Translation: Eat your veggies, lots of them, and you’ll stay much healthier.

“Low levels of magnesium in the body have been associated with a range of diseases, but no conclusive evidence has been put forward on the link between dietary magnesium and health risks,” said lead study author Dr. Fudi Wang. ”Our meta-analysis provides the most up-to-date evidence supporting a link between the role of magnesium in food and reducing the risk of disease.”

Magnesium is a mineral that is vital for human health and normal biological functions. It helps to regulate several biochemical systems in the body including muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control and blood pressure regulation. It also manages protein production and the synthesis of nucleic acids such as DNA.

“The current health guidelines recommend a magnesium intake of around 300mg per day for men and 270 mg per day for women. Despite this, magnesium deficiency is relatively common, affecting between 2.5 percent and 15 percent of the general population,” said Dr Wang, who is from the School of Public Health at Zhejiang University. “Our findings will be important for informing the public and policy makers on dietary guidelines to reduce magnesium deficiency related health risks,”

More than one million people across nine different countries provided the data needed for this study. This analysis, on the dietary benefits of magnesium and its health outcomes, is the largest one conducted to date.

 

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