Health Topics

Healthy Living

June 2011
Comfort Food to Quit Smoking
Priyanka Singh
Smoking is a slow but a powerful addictive. Many people think that smoking is a good stress buster, which on the contrary, has a lasting irreversible effect on our body. Each cigarette produces thousands of toxins that reach our blood stream. The effects of these toxins on our appearance and health are very gradual of which the smoker is initially not aware of.

Smoking, in long term, can lead to changes in appearance like dark lips, yellow teeth, wrinkles and various lethal diseases like oral and lung cancer. Expectant parents also put their unborn children to various health hazards.

Whether you are ready to stop smoking or you are trying or you have already stopped smoking, one has to prepare his body to fight against the poisonous toxins produced by the smoke. According to the study conducted by Duke University psychologist, F.Joseph McClernon, PhD, there are some foods and beverages that taste better to smokers than others like caffeinated alcohol beverages and meats. Vegetables and dairy products tend to make smoking taste worse.

The following foods and supplements will help you in combating the smoking effects.

Various medical professionals suggest an increase in vegetable intake, as they keep mouth and hands of the smokers occupied in a similar way as the cigarette does. The physical act of smoking is similar to picking up and eating a piece of food. In addition, brightly coloured vegetables and fruits have anti-oxidants that detoxify the body.

Dairy products
Dairy beverages and products are often helpful in quitting smoking. The enzymes left in the mouth after eating dairy products chemically react with the smoke. The chemical reaction produces an unpleasant aftertaste.

Coenzyme Q 10
It is a powerful anti-oxidant that protects the cells of the body and lungs. Co Q 10 also assists the oxygen flow to the brain. Studies have shown that smoking may dramatically speed up age-related memory loss. The sources of Coenzyme Q 10 are meat, chicken and eggs, soyabean oil, rapeseed oil, sesame and cottonseed oil, corn oil, various nuts and beans, vegetables like spinach, broccoli, sweet potato, capsicum, garlic, peas, and cauliflower.

Irreversible harm to the lungs of smokers can occur before we notice the symptoms. Pycnogenol helps to protect and also repair our lungs. It also reduces inflammation. It is a pine bark extract and is not found in an ordinary diet.

Vitamin B complex and Folic acid
Vitamin B complex is considered useful to the enzyme system at a cellular level, which helps in dealing with damage done to the cells by smoking. B vitamins are essential for energy production, amino acid metabolism, cell division and more. Sources of B vitamins are: whole grains, potatoes, banana, lentils, chili peppers, beans, temph, nutritional yeast, brewer’s yeast, molasses, etc. Sources of folic acid are leafy vegetables, legumes, sunflower seeds, liver and kidney.

Vitamin C and E
Smoking rapidly depletes Vitamin C. This is because vitamin C actively combats the negative effects of smoking on our bodies and must be continually replenished. This vitamin is critical for smokers and those quitting the habit.

Avoid alcohol
Alcohol increases the urge of smoking. Nicotine and alcohol both cause the body to produce increased amounts of dopamine, which is a chemical the brain produces when it senses pleasure. Therefore, many medical professionals recommend lowering alcohol intake when trying to stop smoking.

Avoid caffeine
According to a study conducted by Duke University (2009) on a sample of smokers, caffeine is reported to cause smoking to taste better. Researchers believe that the acidity of caffeinated beverages such as coffee and soft drinks may contribute to this phenomenon. Foods and beverages that have acidic properties cause taste buds to sour faster than those that do not.

Smoking cessation requires enthusiasm, self-discipline, as well as perseverance to end the habit of smoking completely. And including above said foods and supplements would definitely help in combating the ill effects of smoking for previous smokers, current smokers or who are trying to quit smoking.

Priyanka Singh is lifestyle counsellor, Apollo Life New Dehli