What’s something a trucker can eat that offers a healthy option instead of just calories?
The answer to that is fruit, and bananas especially. They may not be available at every truck stop, although some do carry then, and truckers who stop at Walmart and other stores to stock up can get them there.
Bananas contain a high dose of potassium — an essential ingredient to keep your heart and nervous system in good shape. Potassium is essential for proper muscle contraction and thus plays an important role in muscle-influenced activities including: the normal rhythmic pumping of the heart, digestion, muscular movements, etc.
Some studies have also linked low potassium intake to high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke. Most Americans don’t get enough potassium in their diet (recommended dose is about 4 g per day).
Including a banana (or two) in your diet every day would take you a step closer toward getting your daily recommended dose of potassium, according to the American Heart Association.
Bananas are good for the kidneys and the bones because of the high potassium content of bananas. A normal intake of potassium suppresses calcium excretion in the urine and minimizes the risk of kidney stones. Also, for the same reason (suppressing of calcium excretion), it minimizes the loss of calcium from the body and thereby reduces the risk of osteoporosis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Bananas can act as mood enhancers because they contain tryptophan which is one of the 20 amino acids that are building blocks of proteins. Tryptophan helps the body to produce serotonin — which has a calming effect on the brain and acts as a mild sedative. It should be noted that the only way our body gets its dose of tryptophan is through the diet because it does not produce it naturally.
Bananas are good for your blood because bananas contain a high source of naturally available vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in converting tryptophan to serotonin, and also helps the body to make hemoglobin — a crucial ingredient of your blood.
Vitamin B6 is also essential for antibody production and to maintain a healthy immune response. It also helps to convert carbohydrates to glucose and thereby maintains proper blood sugar levels. A medium banana can take care of one-fifth of your daily recommended intake of vitamin B6 and is one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to increase your dietary intake of the vitamin.
Bananas are good source of dietary fiber. A single serving (one medium-sized banana) contains 16 percent of the daily recommended dietary fiber intake for a normal adult — that’s substantial for a single serving of any food. Fiber-rich diets have also been linked to lower risk of coronary heart disease and of type-2 diabetes.
Bananas are very affordable at about 35 to 40 cents per pound and are generally available in almost all grocery stores; you don’t need to cook them or wash them (unless you want to eat the outer skin) and that makes them ideal as quick lunch substitutes. Consider bananas as an awesome and affordable dietary supplement.
Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.