For men, boosting the intake of magnesium, a mineral found in leafy greens, nuts and legumes, can help significantly reduce the risk of colon cancer, says a new research from Japan.

Magnesium has been shown to guard against high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, migraines and osteoporosis. Now, the new study suggests that the health benefits of the mineral extend even further.

Previous research in animals showed the ability of magnesium supplements to reduce experimentally induced colon tumours, reports The Globe and Mail.

The current study followed 87,117 Japanese men and women, aged 45 to 74, for eight years to determine whether dietary magnesium could help prevent colon cancer.

Among men, those who consumed at least 327 milligrams of magnesium a day were 52 per cent less likely to develop colon cancer, compared to those whose daily diets provided less than 238 milligrams.

Magnesium intake was not linked to the risk of colon cancer in women.

The study has been published in the April issue of the Journal of Nutrition.