According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a 2014 National Survey of Long-Haul Truck Driver Health and Injury reports that about 22% of truck drivers across the country have high cholesterol levels. To add, the survey shows that the likelihood increases with a corresponding increase in body mass index (BMI). High cholesterol is a prevalent health condition in truck drivers that can cause heart diseases and strokes. In truck drivers, it is commonly caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. An increasing risk in obtaining high cholesterol levels can mean the end of your driving career, so increase your intake of these foods that lower cholesterol levels in truck drivers.
Foods That Lower Cholesterol Levels in Truck Drivers
What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in your body that produces hormones to help your body break down food. Because cholesterol travels in your bloodstream, it is important that you have a healthy amount to prevent blockage. There are two types of proteins that help carry cholesterol throughout your body: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (“bad” fats) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (“good” fats). In particular, LDL cholesterol increases blockage in your arteries while HDL cholesterol helps maintain a smooth travel of cholesterol from your body to your liver.
High cholesterol levels are caused by an increase in LDL cholesterol, which comes from saturated fats and trans fats. Specifically, saturated fats can be found in meat and dairy products while trans fats are located in fried and packaged food. Instead of consuming food with high levels of LDL cholesterol, strive for eating food with HDL cholesterol such as those rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Now that you’ve learned about the causes of high cholesterol levels, start implementing healthy eating habits into your lifestyle to decrease your cholesterol levels. However, with that being said, what are some foods that lower cholesterol levels in truck drivers?
1. Soluble Fiber
Foods rich in soluble fiber are great for lowering your LDL levels. Strive to increase your fiber intake by eating oats, beans, vegetables, and fruits.
- Breakfast: Incorporate oats into your breakfast for a healthier option. Oats, oatmeal, and chia seeds make the perfect combination for a fiber rich breakfast.
- Lunch and Dinner: A healthy eating habit stems from managing what you eat as well as your portion intake. For a fiber rich diet, include beans and vegetables into your meal planning. In fact, eggplants, spinach, and okras are great vegetables to include in your diet. Another source of fiber that you can include in your diet is whole grains. When in doubt, opt for a whole grain version of your carbohydrates for a healthier heart food choice.
- Snacks: Snacking is a big part of everyone’s eating habits. However, this can also be the downfall of your health as it can be very easy to binge-eat unhealthy snacks – especially foods with high trans fats. In order to combat this, implement healthy snacking habits by consuming nuts and fruits rich in fiber. Almonds, pistachios, and peanuts are healthy nuts that contain fats healthy for your heart. Likewise, fruits such as apples, grapes, and strawberries are also good for your health.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Who knew that the latest avocado trend is actually healthy for you? Avocado is one of the healthiest food due to its high content of healthy fats. Aside from soluble fibers, omega-3 fatty acids are foods that lower cholesterol levels in truck drivers. Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats commonly found in fish. With that being said, aim to increase your intake of salmon and tuna. Aside from being a source of fiber, nuts are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Specifically, nut oils and nuts such as flaxseeds, walnuts, and soy are great foods to consume for its omega-3 content.
Soluble fibers and omega-3 fatty acids are two foods that lower cholesterol levels in truck drivers. Managing your cholesterol levels is important to maintaining your health. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that truck drivers should regularly go to the doctor to get their cholesterol levels checked every five years in order to ensure that they are in the best shape. Now that you know all about the importance of maintaining your cholesterol levels down, implement these healthy eating habits today!
Want more ways to stay healthy on the road? Check out these 5 exercises for truckers!