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Top Five Foods with Magnesium to Protect Against Heart Disease

Soybeans/Edamame

An important new meta-analysis that was featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition links magnesium intake to a lower risk of heart disease. This examination by researchers from Harvard included 16 studies showing that magnesium may in fact offer protective effects even against the most deadly form – fatal ischemic heart disease.

The combined studies had a sample size of 313,041 subjects, both male and female. In the groups there were about 12,000 with cardiovascular disease and over 7,500 with ischemic heart disease. It also recorded that over 2,600 had fatal ischemic heart disease events. The studies specifically looked at the amount of serum magnesium intake and levels in the body.

The conclusion offered strong results. There was found to be a 30 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease with each 0.2 micromole per liter increase in magnesium and a 22 percent lower risk of ischemic heart disease with each 200 milligram per day increase in magnesium intake.

The National Institutes of Health states that magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. Approximately 50 percent of total body magnesium is found in bone. The other half is found predominantly inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1 percent of magnesium is found in blood, but the body works very hard to keep blood levels of magnesium constant.

Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong.

Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, promotes normal blood pressure, and is known to be involved in energy metabolism and protein synthesis. There is also an increased interest in the role of magnesium in preventing and managing disorders such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Dietary magnesium is absorbed in the small intestines. Magnesium is excreted through the kidneys.

You can introduce magnesium into the body through supplements, but always consult your physician before starting any new supplement. You can also find magnesium-rich foods from the following sources:

  1. Wheat bran, crude- ¼ cup
  2. Almonds, dry roasted – 1 ounce
  3. Spinach, frozen – cooked ½ cup
  4. Raisin bran cereal – 1 cup
  5. Soybeans, matured and cooked – ½ cup