A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
came to the conclusion that dietary magnesium
intake is inversely associated with the risk of ischemic stroke (these are the strokes caused by blood clots in the brain). The authors performed a meta-analysis, which is a type of study that involves taking the data from previous similar studies and combining them. The authors of the study used the data from seven previous studies and determined that an increased intake of 100 milligrams magnesium per day was associated with an 8 - 9 percent decreased risk of ischemic stroke. Eight or nine percent may not sound like much, but according to the Internet Stroke Center
, stroke is the third highest cause of death in the United States and of those strokes, 88 percent are ischemic strokes, so something as simple as increasing a dietary mineral could be quite significant.
So this could be a good thing, but, it's important to keep a couple of things in mind with this study. The authors of this study looked at dietary intake of magnesium so it doesn't indicate that taking magnesium supplements will have the same decrease in risk, and it's important (I think) to understand that magnesium deficiency symptoms are uncommon. Also, it's possible that the reduction of stroke risk is caused by other factors besides the actual magnesium since foods that contain magnesium are generally healthy fiber-rich foods - things like whole grains, nuts, seeds and green leafy vegetables. Still, I believe it adds some evidence to the idea that eating magnesium-rich plant-based foods is important for good health.