Weeks of eating truck stop food isn’t good for your health. In addition to excessive sugar, fats, and salt, the food can cause a nutrient deficiency. If you tend to favor a single dish repeatedly, or limit yourself to unhealthy side dishes such as fries or deserts, you may not get all your essential vitamins and minerals. This can also happen if you buy a limited selection of food for cooking in your rig. A nutrient deficient diet causes a number of unusual symptoms. Here are four nutrient deficiencies and their symptoms:
- Cracks at the corners of your mouth. This means you have a deficiency of B vitamins such as riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), and B12 as well as zinc and iron. Include spinach, sea food, nuts, poultry, oysters, clams, eggs, sun-dried tomatoes, salmon, and tuna in your diet.
- Frequent muscle cramps in your toes, feet arches, calves, and the back of your legs. These symptoms indicate a lack of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Foods that supply these nutrients include bananas, apples, grapefruit, almonds, hazelnuts, cherries, squash, and broccoli.
- Numbness or tingling on your body and especially in your hands and feet. B vitamins such as B6, B9, and B12 are essential for peripheral nerve health. Their deficiency can also cause fatigue and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Include spinach, asparagus, eggs, poultry, beets, beans, clams, and oysters, in your diet.
- Unexplainable sadness. This mood disorder is caused by a vitamin D deficiency and often happens to people living in high northern latitudes, which receive little sunlight in the winter. The skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Either get out of your commercial or owner operator truck and take daily walks, or consume more salmon, tofu, fortified cereals, or fortified milk. Vitamin D deficiency also inhibits the body’s ability to absorb calcium, which can cause weak and brittle bones.
In addition to the above foods, take a daily multivitamin just in case you’re leaving something out of your diet. However, multivitamins by themselves are not a substitute to eating healthy food.