Reducing The Risk of Dementia By Incorporating Magnesium-Rich Foods Into Your Diet

Reducing The Risk of Dementia By Incorporating Magnesium-Rich Foods Into Your Diet

The human body needs various nutrients to maintain health and bodily functions. Since people were children, they are reminded to always have a balanced diet and to take vitamins. Adults are encouraged to consume supplements to ensure complete wellness — physically, emotionally, and mentally. If you do not have the means or the time to add all nutrition to your diet, supplements can help you a lot. Age is also a factor in why your body requires more of the essential vitamins and minerals. Practicing a good habit of consuming vitamins, supplements, and superfoods can help you avoid severe illnesses.

One of those vital minerals is magnesium which highly contributes to your bodily functions. People take magnesium as a supplement or by eating foods rich in minerals. It aids muscle and nerve function, boosts the immune system, and manages blood pressure. As magnesium plays a key role in your body, medical professionals recommend consuming the macromineral at least 100 milligrams every day. A sufficient magnesium supply gives you the advantage of preventing certain diseases and health complications as you age. Magnesium works wonders such as:

  • Bone health improvement
  • Diabetes prevention
  • Well-maintained cardiovascular health
  • Relieves migraines or headaches
  • Lessens severe PMS symptoms
  • Reduces anxiety

In addition, magnesium has recently been discovered as an effective macro mineral that decreases the risk of dementia. It does not only aid in nerve functions but also protects the brain from age-related shrinkage. Researchers from the Neuroimaging and Brain Lab at The Australian National University conducted the study. The participants included 6,000 people from the UK, ages 40 to 73, who incorporated over 550 milligrams of magnesium in their diet every day. Findings showed that their brains were one year younger at 55 years old than those who take 350 milligrams of magnesium on a daily basis.

Magnesium can support healthy brain development because it defends N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA). The receptors are on nerve cells responsible for better growth, memory, and learning in adult brains. Magnesium shields the NMDA receptors from being vulnerable to weak signals that can overstimulate nerve cells. Low magnesium levels lead to insufficient protection for NMDA receptors causing nerve cell death and brain damage. Your central nervous system deteriorates, and dying neurons can inevitably increase dementia risk.

The degenerative disease has already affected 57.4 million people since 2019. Doing the research has given additional preventive measures and a way to avoid the increase in dementia cases, predicted to be 152.8 million by 2050. "Since there is no cure for dementia and the development of pharmacological treatments have been unsuccessful for the past 30 years, it's been suggested that greater attention should be directed towards prevention," Dr. Erin Walsh, study co-author from ANU, said. "Our research could inform the development of public health interventions aimed at promoting healthy brain ageing through dietary strategies."

Data collected for the study were from the online questionnaire answered by participants. Within 16 months, they answered the questionnaire five times, which tracked their magnesium intake. The dietary sources were 200 foods in different portion sizes, including leafy-green vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. “Our study shows a 41% increase in magnesium intake could lead to less age-related brain shrinkage, which is associated with better cognitive function and lower risk or delayed onset of dementia in later life,” explained Khawlah Alateeq, lead author and scientist from ANU.

Incorporating magnesium-rich foods is highly recommended, primarily in your 40s or earlier. Since there is no permanent treatment for dementia, prevention through lifestyle changes is the best solution to lower your risk. Even at a young age, you should be serious about consuming magnesium-rich foods. The earlier you start, the more effective it is later on in life. Moreover, the authors emphasized that they might have determined modifiable risk factors, but it’s only one-third of the non-genetic risk. Further study must be conducted to identify hidden factors and other unidentified risks.

In addition, the research was also able to determine the difference between magnesium intake in men and women. "We also found the neuroprotective effects of more dietary magnesium appears to benefit women more than men and more so in post-menopausal than pre-menopausal women, although this may be due to the anti-inflammatory effect of magnesium," Khawlah Alateeq shared.

“Lifestyle and particularly diet are highly modifiable factors, and, consequently, could be promising targets for risk-reduction interventions in the population,” the authors said. “Since dietary advice and supplementation are easily scalable, further research on the benefits of dietary magnesium needs to be conducted to provide the necessary evidence base to support possible population health interventions aimed at mitigating age-related neurodegeneration.”

Be wise in preparing meals and do not forget to add the following foods to your diet:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes
  • Fiber-rich whole grains
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Greens (spinach, swiss chard, collard greens)
  • Fruits (avocado, bananas, papaya, blueberries)
  • Vegetables (green peas, sweet corn, potatoes)
  • Dark Chocolate

Start making changes today — take a step toward better brain health regardless of age. You’ll surely find recipes online that fit your taste and are within your budget. Magnesium-rich foods can allow you to age without worries — to fight dementia even before it could develop.

Ergil Ermeno

I strive to learn and excel more in content creation, including blog writing, graphic design, social media posts, and video editing. Photography is one of those skills that I take an interest in. However, I do not use my photography skills for work as I treat the activity as my hobby. My usual subjects are my pets and loved ones. The lovely fur babies at home make photography even more fun, especially now that I am in a remote setup for work.

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