Magnesium, potassium and donuts

are donuts plant foods?

are donuts plant foods?

Plant based diets are looking better everyday.  One reason: minerals. It might sound strange, since people tend to associate minerals like iron or calcium with animal foods, but our diets are lacking in key minerals that are found predominantly in plant foods.

Take magnesium.  A new study from Harvard combined diet and health data on over 300 thousand people.  Higher intake of magnesium was linked to higher levels in blood, which were linked to a significant reduction in heart disease.  Where do we get magnesium: whole grains, greens, legumes, nuts, potatoes, tomatoes.

The recommended daily potassium intake for an adult is 4700 mg, but diet surveys show most people under consume potassium from food.  Averages range from 3300 mg for men to a paltry 2400 for women.  Potassium is closely linked to blood pressure.  As potassium intake improves, blood pressure improves.  Where do we get potassium? fruit like bananas and oranges, legumes, potatoes, tomatoes, greens, nuts and whole grains.  Plus the form of potassium in plant foods is especially beneficial, since it neutralizes acidity.

Calcium is another mineral critical to bone strength, and the highest calcium foods are milk, yogurt and cheese.  While yogurt popularity is exploding, milk consumption continues to fall.  A recent survey showed that over half of adolescents and adults didn’t drink any milk on a given day.  Just over half of teens drink milk regularly, which means at a period of peak bone growth, calcium intake is falling.  For more on these minerals, check out the Radio Nutrition podcast.

Dunkin Donuts latest breakfast sandwich won’t help you eat more plant foods.  It’s made with a sliced glazed donut, a fried egg-like substance (not a real fried egg) and bacon, and comes in at 360 calories.  While the calorie total isn’t terrible, the lack of nutritional substance is.  Can donuts be considered a plant food?  Well technically, but regardless of calorie count, this isn’t a great breakfast idea.

photo: Dunkin’ Donuts

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