Would adding magnesium prime your immune system to fight cancer and infections?


Experts define magnesium as an "essential macromineral", meaning you need it in fairly large amounts to remain healthy.

Get too little and there are links to a wide range of diseases and worse outcomes with cancer treatment. Get enough and studies with mice have shown that magnesium makes the immune system stronger and more able to eliminate infected and cancerous cells. It also contributes to healthy bones, a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes and better cardiovascular health. Need more reasons to make sure you're getting enough magnesium? It also has an important role with nerve transmission, regulating blood pressure and immunity. In fact, magnesium is important for hundreds of cellular functions in the body, many of which are involved with immune system function.

How do you know you're getting enough? Recommended dietary allowances for adults are 400 - 420 for men and 310 - 320 mg for women. What are some foods you should be incorporating into your diet and how much do they provide? You might want to make consuming a handful of nuts part of your daily diet. Brazil nuts are the most mineral-dense, with 350 mg of magnesium per 3.5 oz, cashews offer 250 mg, peanuts 160, walnuts 150 mg and hazelnuts 160 mg.

According to The Cleveland Clinic, here are some additional examples of good foods to consider:

  • Pumpkin seed - kernels: Serving Size 1 oz, 168 mg

  • Almonds, dry roasted: Serving Size 1 oz, 80 mg

  • Spinach, boiled: Serving Size ½ cup, 78 mg

  • Cashews, dry roasted: Serving Size 1 oz, 74 mg

  • Pumpkin seeds in shell: Serving Size 1 oz, 74 mg

  • Peanuts, oil roasted: Serving Size ¼ cup, 63 mg

  • Cereal, shredded wheat: Serving Size 2 large biscuits, 61 mg

  • Soymilk, plain or vanilla: Serving Size 1 cup, 61 mg

  • Black beans, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 60 mg

  • Edamame, shelled, cooked: Serving Size ½ cup, 50 mg

  • Dark chocolate -60-69% cacao: Serving Size 1 oz, 50 mg

Smooth peanut butter, whole wheat bread, avocado, baked potato with skin, brown cooked rice, plain low fat yogurt, fortified breakfast cereals, milk, halibut, raisins, oatmeal and other foods with lesser amounts can also be contributors.

In general rich sources of magnesium are greens, nuts, seeds, dry beans, whole grains, wheat germ, wheat and oat bran. While you should focus on food first, it's a good idea to keep magnesium on hand to supplement when you're not getting enough and two doses a day is recommended.

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