What you eat can have a direct impact on what you crave. If you are trying to quit smoking, for example, there are certain foods that will aid the process while some will make it almost impossible for you to kick the butt. It happens because there are certain foods that can worsen the taste of cigarettes while others can enhance it, according to a research by Duke University. Fruits and vegetables, non-caffeinated beverages and dairy products do not combine well with smoking and worsen its taste so it’s good to have them to decrease your cigarette cravings. Alcohol and meat on the other hand does the opposite
Shruti Bharadwaj, Senior Clinical Dietician, Narayana Hrudalaya Multi Speciality Hospital Ahmedabad, tells us the kinds of food that will help you quit smoking and ones that you must avoid.
Foods You Must Have To Quit Smoking
#1. Dairy Products: Taking a glass of low fat milk helps if you are craving for a cigarette. Not only does it not go well with smoking, it also makes the taste of cigarette bad. According to an article published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, most of the smokers said that drinking milk left them with a bitter taste in their mouth. Besides, studies have also shown that if you are a smoker, you are bound to develop deficiencies in your body. Considering milk is a complete food and has essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D, riboflavin, vitamin B12, protein, potassium, zinc, choline, magnesium, and selenium among other things, it is one of the best food to have while attempting to quit smoking.
- #2. Fruits: Fruits will not only help satiate those sweet cravings that you are bound to develop in this strenuous process, it will also pack a nutritional punch. Fruits are an excellent source of fibre, essential vitamins and minerals, and innumerable anti-oxidants. When you quit smoking, you also experience sweet cravings. So instead of gorging on a dessert filled with saturated fats and calories, you can include fruits like grapes, mango, banana and papaya to curb those unhealthy urges.
- #3. Mint or Peppermint: Mint is known for its many medicinal properties. It could be a good way to clear your lungs of nicotine and reduce the bad effects of smoking. Peppermint, a cross between watermint and spearmint has healing properties that could also prevent formation of cancerous cells. Having Mint or peppermint candies could help in two ways – to divert attention from the smoking as you focus on chewing and of course their positive effect on the body.
- #4. Ginseng Tea: There are numerous benefits of ginseng tea apart from its properties that help smokers reduce their cigarette cravings. Drinking ginseng tea reduces dopamine which is associated with pleasure. According to numerous studies, it makes the experience of smoking less appealing for people. Many researchers have vouched for its effectiveness.
- #5 Stay Hydrated: Water is known to flush toxins including nicotin from the body. Staying well-hydrated during the process of quitting smoking will also take care of the overall well-being. Apart from 7-8 glasses of water, one can also have fresh fruit juice with no added sugar, vegetable juice, coconut water etc.
- #6. Foods Rich In Vitamin C: People who smoke have nutritional deficiencies more than who do not. Smoking also prevents absorption of Vitamin C apart from other essential nutrients. One is advised to have loads of food packed with Vitamin C like Oranges, sweet lime, kiwi, grapes and vegetables like green pepper, and broccoli. These foods will restore the levels of Vitamin C and make you feel better overall.
- #7. Include Healthy Evening Snacks: While trying to quit smoking your cravings for snacks go up. Instead of opting for sugary snacks, healthy snacks like a handful of nuts, beans, fruits, boiled chana or popcorn could be picked.
- #8. Smoking apart from other essential nutrients also depletes your Omega-3 levels. You can restore it by consuming flaxseeds and walnuts.
Foods To Avoid
- Caffeinated Drinks: If you are in the process of quitting, you must reduce the intake of caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, alcohol etc to prevent caffeine toxicity. The reason for this is that your body’s metabolism readjusts during this. Besides if you were used to pairing up cigarette with a cup of coffee, it will be a reminder for you to light up again.
- Non-vegetarian Foods like meat, fish etc can also be combined well with cigarette. They may make your body crave for smoking. So avoid that also for the time being.
- Avoid Spicy And Sugary Foods; Cookies: Your cravings for sweets increase when you are trying to quit smoking. Increased sugar is associated with many lifestyle diseases.
- Calorie-laden Food: Smoking is also associated with weight gain, so you must not indulge excessively in foods that are high on calorie. Overload of calories may increase the risk of other diseases in your body.
If you keep the above points in mind, getting rid of this unhealthy habit may not seem that difficult. One must consult a qualified dietician for giving you a diet plan according to your age and weight. Involving yourself in creative activities and keeping yourself busy will also divert attention from smoking. Making a routine and physical activity can also release hormones that will aid you in kicking the butt. One can also connect with friends and spend more time with family to keep the mind in positive state of mind.
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