As if it’s really earth-shattering new, a new analysis from the National Institutes of Health looked at lifestyle factors and found that five lifestyle changes can go a long way toward cutting the odds of getting type 2 diabetes. These factors are: 1) healthy diet, 2) exercising regularly, 3) moderate alcohol consumption, 4) not smoking for at least 10 years, and 5) keeping body fat to an upper limit of 18.5% for men and 24.9% for women. These changes cut the risk 72% for men and 84% for women. Diabetes is not to be ignored-it leads to stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, peripheral neuropathy, and is the leading cause of limb amputations. My great-grandfather had both legs amputated at the knees, and I’ve seen first-hand the damage diabetes can do-the disease is prevalent on my Mother’s side of the family. It’s true that there are medications to treat diabetes, but recently, the FDA announced that those taking piolitazone (Actos) for one year or longer have a 40% increased risk for bladder cancer. Isn’t life all about beating the odds?

Magnesium is an oft-neglected mineral that provides remarkable and diverse benefits. It’s the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body after calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. It is needed for energy production, muscle and nerve relaxation, fat and protein synthesis, and calcium metabolism. In fact, you can take all the calcium you want but won’t build one molecule of bone without magnesium present.

According to the USDA, two-thirds of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Stress, genetics, and medications (diuretics to control blood pressure) all contribute to depleting magnesium. Magnesium also helps improve fasting blood sugar levels, better insulin resistance, and lower blood pressure, important factors for diabetics. Magnesium is also needed to maintain telomere length, an important marker of aging (the longer the telomere, the younger the cell). Good sources are dark green vegetables, halibut, almonds, cashews, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, and lentils.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.