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A diet high in magnesium may help prevent type 2 diabetes, especially in people who are overweight, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers evaluated the diets of more than 85,000 women and more than 42,000 men, in data supplied over 18 years for the women and over 12 years for the men. Their report, published in 2004 in Diabetes Care, found that the men and women whose diets included the largest amounts of magnesium were the least likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The research also showed most of the participants in the study consumed magnesium through foods, such as whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables; less than 5 percent took magnesium supplements.