Lung Cancer: Should You Worry?

By Kristin Bjornsen

The first question most of us ask when someone gets lung cancer is: How much did she smoke? Unfortunately anyone can get the disease without ever lighting up. In fact, about 13 percent of those diagnosed with lung cancer are nonsmokers, according to the American Cancer Society. That sobering bit of information makes a recent report that increasing the amount of magnesium in your diet may decrease your risk for the disease all the more welcome. Epidemiologists at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas recently found that study participants with the most magnesium in their diet had a 53 percent reduced risk of lung cancer. This mineral appears to help DNA repair itself, which is crucial for preventing cells from mutating and becoming cancerous. The researchers recommend getting your RDA for magnesium—320 mg for women and 420 mg for men—by stocking up on magnesium-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard (29.2 mg per cup), halibut (170 mg per 159 g or 5.5 oz), almonds (49 mg per ounce), and black beans (120 mg per cup).