Eating a diet rich in magnesium can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to new research.
Scientists from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that high magnesium intake intake was also strongly associated with reduced type 2 diabetes risk which persisted to an extent even when participants were consuming a poorer quality of starchy foods.
Researchers observed data from 42,096 people who had signed up to the Nurses’ Health Study and asked them to complete food frequency questionnaires every four years to assess their dietary intake.
A total of 17,130 incident diagnoses of type 2 diabetes were made during 28 years of follow-up, with researchers investigating the role of magnesium intake in the context of the quality of carbohydrates in participants’ diets.
Because magnesium deficiency is associated with insulin resistance, which causes type 2 diabetes, they hypothesised increased magnesium could be beneficial in preventing these health complications.
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes was shown to be four per cent lower with each additional 50mg per day of magnesium intake. Those with the highest magnesium intake had a 15 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to participants with the lowest intake.
Significantly, greater magnesium intake was associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes among participants who ate a poorer quality of carbohydrate foods, those being starchy foods with less cereal fibre and foods higher on the glycemic index. No significant interaction between magnesium and glycemic load was found.
The findings have been published in the online journal Diabetes Care.
The best sources of magnesium include non-starchy vegetables, such as kale and spinach, as well as nuts, fish, bananas and full-fat yoghurt.
Our award-winning Low Carb Program can help you maximise your magnesium intake on a healthy, low-carb diet. The program also provides a comprehensive guide on where to find low-carb dietary sources of magnesium.

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