Sunflower seeds are a popular, healthy snack and are a perfect choice for various activities, from watching a baseball game to ice fishing. While everyone knows baseball players love sunflower seeds, did you know that sunflower seeds are also the snack of choice for many of the over 3.5 million truck drivers across the United States?
Sunflower seeds are one of the most popular snacks among truckers for how easy they are to transport, the vitamins they contain to help you remain alert and awake, their affordability, and so much more.
Staying Awake and Alert
Staying awake while driving any vehicle is important, but it's vital for truck drivers. It can be difficult to do so sometimes, however, since they drive long distances to load and unload at all hours of the day. One way truckers stay awake is to ensure that the meals and snacks they eat contain certain vitamins, specifically vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, and K.
Eating the recommended daily value of each vitamin is incredibly important for your overall health. Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E and contain vitamin B6 as well, making them great snacks for those long, late-night drives.
To amplify their effect and remain healthy, truckers should also consider a healthy balance of protein-rich foods, such as meat and eggs, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Leafy, green veggies will contain many of these vitamins, and proteins such as red meat and eggs are rich in B vitamins and vitamin A, respectively.
Truck drivers spend most of their time sitting in the driver’s seat and driving for extended periods of time. Some trips take hours, while others can stretch over multiple days. This, coupled with the commonly unhealthy food choices truckers find at truck stops and restaurants, can cause health problems if you aren't careful. To remain healthy, they need to watch what they eat and how much they eat.
For meals, this can be pretty simple. Counting the calories in meals is important for diets and has become incredibly common. However, you may forget to count how many calories are in your snacks. This is where sunflower seeds come into play, as you could sit and eat sunflower seeds for an hour straight and only consume a few hundred calories. If you did this with other snacks, you would reach and potentially surpass the number of calories recommended for the entire day.
As mentioned, sunflower seeds have a lot of health benefits, but, believe it or not, they also provide mental health benefits. For example, they can help you focus, and they do this in a few ways.
Many of the vitamins in sunflower seeds protect your cells from free radicals that would otherwise damage them, and some even help contribute to brain health. One vitamin, in particular, thiamine, or B-1, can improve a variety of things, from easing depression and stabilizing your mood to improving your concentration and memory.
The second method is actually how you eat them: you crack the shell open, usually with your teeth, remove the kernel, and dispose of the shell. This process, while simple, can help you focus by providing a small, repetitive task that one can do absentmindedly.
While this may sound far-fetched at first, we do it all the time with many things, from the fidget toys that help those with ADHD to even chewing gum. Truck drivers need to focus on driving, and eating sunflower seeds helps them do just that.
Availability and Affordability
To add to all of these benefits, sunflower seeds are inexpensive and readily available. You may recognize them as the snack you see near the cash register of every grocery store or gas station, usually sitting right next to the candy and gum, and you’d be right.
No matter where you shop or which gas station you visit, you’ll see at least one brand of sunflower seeds for sale. They’re also found in every truck stop, making them an easily accessible snack for truck drivers to enjoy. You can find even our sunflower seeds in many common truck stops, such as Love’s, Buc-ee’s, and many more!
While this is a bonus, this isn’t a unique property of sunflower seeds; you can find many kinds of snacks at truck stops, such as beef jerky, pistachios, and cashews. However, these snacks can be more expensive than the bags of sunflower seeds they sit next to, and they contain many more calories.
If you have to choose only one, be sure to seriously consider sunflower seeds. However, don’t be afraid to also grab cashews or pistachios, as they have their own unique flavors and health benefits that can complement the sunflower seeds. Just make sure you watch how many you eat.