Higher magnesium intake is associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk
Diabetes, and in particular Type 2 diabetes, is a growing health concern worldwide. Untreated or poorly controlled diabetes increases risks of many health conditions. Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes. Experts agree that diet plays an important role in the development and progression of type 2 diabetes. According to epidemiological evidence magnesium intake may be related to the incidence of diabetes. Magnesium is found primarily in whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables, and is an essential cofactor in enzymes involved in glucose metabolism.
In a study published in Diabetes Care, researchers conducted a meta-analysis to examine the association between magnesium intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study included 13 prospective cohort studies and 536,318 participants. The included studies were published between 1999 and 2010 and involved follow-ups of up to 20 years.
After adjusting for geographic location, follow-up length, gender, or family history of type 2 diabetes, the combined studies indicated a significant (22%) reduction of risk of type 2 diabetes when comparing the highest magnesium intake group to the lowest. The inverse association was also more pronounced in overweight individuals, suggesting that high magnesium intake may have greater effects on improving insulin sensitivity in overweight individuals who are prone to insulin resistance. In the analysis of dose-response it was found that for every 100 mg/day increment in magnesium intake there was a 14% reduction in type 2 diabetes risk. The results of this study provide additional evidence that magnesium, in a dose-dependent manner, is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Jia-Yi Dong et al. Magnesium Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Diabetes Care 34:2116–2122, 2011.
An Attitude of Gratitude
Adopting an attitude of appreciation towards the things in your life makes an enormous difference to your level of happiness. People who consciously attempt to be thankful and appreciative tend to feel happier and at peace to a greater extent than others.
According to a research project from the University of Miami, people who practice some form of conscious gratitude:
- exercised more regularly, were healthier, slept better and felt more optimistic.
- made more progress towards personal goals
- were more alert, enthusiastic and could handle stress more effectively
Some people are naturally more optimistic and positive than others, and some studies suggest that, to a certain degree, our genes determine happiness. However, even the most pessimistic of souls can develop a more optimistic and happier mindset with gentle and persistent practice. Here are some ideas for feeling happier and more at peace:
Be careful when you make comparisons
It’s natural to compare ourselves with others, and many of us tend to compare ourselves with those who are better off. Of course, we all encounter problems and obstacles every day, but most of them are trivial compared with the problems many people experience. For instance, we all know that people experience serious illness or live constantly with great pain.
Is the glass half empty or half full? Of course, there are people who are more successful, wealthier, have a ‘better’ job, etc., and it is easy to be envious of them. But there are so many others who are worse off than ourselves, so why not focus on how fortunate we are? Feelings of envy are corrosive and can cause great damage to your happiness and self esteem, so choosing the right comparisons is important.
Be more conscious about the things we take for granted
Many of the things we should be thankful for get forgotten because we are so used to them, and it is only when we lose them that we remember how fortunate we were. I recently had a minor leg injury which made me realize how precious the ability to walk really is! Don’t wait until something’s gone before you are grateful – your sight, your health, your family – take some time to appreciate these wonderful things.
See the good in every situation
Situations are rarely ‘all good’ or ‘all bad.’ These are, to a large extent, labels we put on situations whereas, in reality, it is our response to the situations that determines what kind of experience it is. Even in the most apparently awful situation, we can derive some benefit if we have the right mindset. I think most people would agree that growth and development usually involves some degree of pain, and so challenging situations are opportunities for such growth.
Keep a gratitude journal
This is something very concrete you can do to ensure that gratitude is a conscious and regular part of your day or week. Making a list of the good things in our life can be a wonderful experience. Although we might not think we have much to be grateful for, when we start writing, it becomes clear that we do have a lot going for us. At the end of the day, why not take ten minutes to list a few of the good things that happened during the day? You will end up with a record of things you are grateful for which it will be very helpful to read in times of stress or unhappiness.
Little things matter
A dripping tap soon fills a bucket until it is overflowing. The same is true of anything in life, and developing appreciation is no different. Appreciating the many small things in your day will lead to greater and greater levels of gratitude and happiness. When someone smiles at you, when you receive a small complement, when the bus is on time, when a friend sends you a nice message… these are all things to be thankful for.
As with all things, success requires persistence. A little bit of gratitude every day can, over time, make a big difference to our level of happiness and well being.