Foods like dark chocolate, which are high in magnesium, can dramatically reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, says a new study published in the British Journal of Cancer.
Researchers at Indiana University suggest people eat foods rich in magnesium - or take supplements - to help fend off cancer.
‘Every 100-milligrams-per-day decrease in magnesium intake is associated with a 24% increase in the occurrence of pancreatic cancer. This study suggests people eat foods rich in magnesium or take supplements.’
AdvertisementPancreatic cancer arises when cells in the pancreas begin to multiply out of control and form a mass. These cancer cells have the ability to get into other parts of the body. The most common type of pancreatic cancer known as pancreatic adenocarcinoma accounts for about 85% of cases. These adenocarcinomas start on the part of the pancreas that make digestive enzymes.
According to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, United States, pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers with a five-year relative survival rate of just 6 percent. The organization adds that about 73% of the patients will die in the first year of diagnosis.
"Pancreatic cancer is really unique and different from other cancers. The five-year survival rate is really low, so that makes prevention and identifying risk factors or predictors associated with pancreatic cancer very important," said study co-author Dr. Ka He, of the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington.
Earlier studies have shown that magnesium intake is linked to the risk of diabetes. Diabetes is known to be a risk factor for pancreatic cancer. And still, not many studies have explored the role of magnesium in pancreatic cancer.
The study involved more than 66,000 men and women between the ages of 50 to 76. Researchers analyzed the direct link between magnesium and pancreatic cancer. The aim was to determine if gender, body mass index, age, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and magnesium supplementation played a role.
Of the total participants, many as 151 people developed pancreatic cancer. The study found that every 100-milligrams-per-day decrease in magnesium intake was associated with a 24% increase in the occurrence of cancer.
They also confirmed that the effects of magnesium on pancreatic cancer weren't affected by age, gender, body mass index or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug use.
However, they found taking magnesium supplements (from a multivitamin, or individual supplement) played a role in modifying pancreatic cancer.
Study leader Daniel Dibaba, a Ph.D. student at the University, said: "For those at a higher risk of pancreatic cancer, adding a magnesium supplement to their diet may prove beneficial in preventing the disease. While more study is needed, the general population should strive to get the daily recommendations of magnesium through diets, such as dark, leafy greens or nuts, to prevent any risk of pancreatic cancer."
A Word of CautionSeveral studies in the past have shown the health benefits of dark chocolate. However, health experts say that more research is needed before you start overindulging on this treat. Chocolate contains large amounts of butter, sugar, and cream, which can break your diet. If you rely on the occasional piece of chocolate to satisfy a craving or to get these health benefits, that's fine. Consuming too much can have adverse health effects.
One bar of milk chocolate that has 44 grams contains 235 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 221 grams of sugar. Dark chocolate of 28.35 grams contains 156 calories, 9 grams of fat, five from saturated fat, and 13 grams of sugar.
Saturated fat elevates blood cholesterol and puts you at risk of heart problems and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, the added sugar in chocolate has no nutritional value, which can cause heart disease and weight gain. If you're going to indulge in chocolate, cut out other treats on that day or walk an additional 30 minutes to counteract the extra calories you're getting.