Magnesium Intake Lowers Risk for Chronic Illness

As we gather together to enjoy special meals and the company of friends and family this holiday season, we also inch closer to a new year and with it, the promise for continued or renewed good health, happiness and prosperity.  A new year offers a fresh opportunity to learn more about health and longevity and recommit to lifestyle choices that will improve well-being.

Older adults in good health, who exercise regularly and eat a nutritious diet may still be missing an important dietary mineral that can help prevent stroke, heart disease and diabetes.  But according to a recent Harvard study, up to 80 percent of adults are deficient in this important mineral that supports a wide range of the body’s processes, including breaking down sugars and producing proteins.

Many older adults, especially men over the age of 70, don’t get the recommended 420mg a day of magnesium they should from the foods they eat.  Women should consume 320mg of magnesium daily which can be found in foods like almonds, spinach, peanuts, avocados, black beans, wild salmon, pumpkin seeds and, good news, dark chocolate.  People with impaired kidney function should not ingest too much magnesium; talk with your doctor before making any dietary changes.

Research has also linked higher magnesium intake with a lower body mass index and waist circumference and a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes.  By following a heart-healthy diet like the DASH diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, whole grains and fish, adults can naturally increase their magnesium intake.  Some health conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS),  or poorly controlled diabetes can make people more susceptible to low magnesium levels.  Certain medications can also interfere with magnesium absorption.

Learn more about dietary magnesium and chronic illness prevention by following this link to Harvard Health.