Smoking cigarettes has become a major health problem around the globe. According to WHO, tobacco kills nearly 6 million people every year.
In addition, it can lead to a number of serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
However, quitting cigarettes is a challenging task. The nicotine withdrawal symptoms are incredibly intense and they can last for weeks, even months.
One way to ease these symptoms is by adding certain foods into your diet. These foods are proven to be an effective natural remedy, with some of the most effective including green tea, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and turmeric.
In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at a number of the best and worst foods you can include in your diet when trying to quit cigarettes. We’ll also look to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
Best Foods For Quitting Cigarettes
1. Green Tea
Green tea contains high amounts of antioxidants called catechins. It’s also a great food to add to your diet considering it helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Ginger is known to have impressive anti-inflammatory properties. This is incredibly important when it comes to quitting cigarettes as it can help to reduce the inflammation caused by cigarette smoke.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants which helps to prevent free radicals from damaging cells. Free radicals cause damage to DNA and other cell components. Other findings also suggest that a high intake of raw garlic can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer.
It’s been shown that cinnamon is able to improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is one of the main causes of weight gain, therefore this can be helpful in reducing fat accumulation. It’s also been proven that cinnamon can prevent lung cancer, a problem that can often be triggered by excessive smoking.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, which is an essential compound that can fight against cancer. This compound is also important in the sense that it has the potential to lower levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol.
When quitting cigarettes, there’s every chance that you’ll have the urge to constantly snack, mainly because you can no longer keep your hands and mouth occupied with a cigarette. Not only does snacking on air-popped popcorn keep you busy, but it can also help you feel full, reducing the urge to light a cigarette.
Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are associated with the reduced risk of suffering from health issues such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Turmeric is one of the very best spices for weight loss. Not only is it great for shedding pounds, but it can also boost your metabolism and significantly improve digestion.
9. Frozen Grapes
After quitting cigarettes, there’s every chance that you’ll start to crave sweet snacks. Indulging in these sweet cravings is beneficial because it prevents you from reaching for a cigarette. However, instead of grabbing processed desserts, frozen grapes are the healthiest option for satisfying the craving.
Replacing cigarettes with an excessive amount of food is a common problem, so it’s important that you’re consuming healthy, nutritional food in order to keep off the pounds. One of the best additions you can make to your post-cigarette diet are high-fiber beans.
11. Cinnamon Sticks
Simply sucking on a cinnamon stick can provide you with a nice taste with absolutely no calories. Furthermore, they can also give you something to chew on and play with in your hands – replicating the shape and size of a cigarette.
Worst Foods For Quitting Cigarettes
The vast majority of sodas are packed full of sugar. However, sugar isn’t a good or healthy addition for anyone who wants to quit smoking.
2. Fried Food
Fried foods are usually high in trans fats. This isn’t the type of diet you want when trying to quit smoking as trans fats can increase the risk of serious health issues such as the development of heart disease.
Coffee and cigarettes often go hand-in-hand, making it incredibly difficult to keep drinking coffee without the urge of smoking a cigarette. What’s more, caffeine also delivers an extra buzz to the stimulating effect of a cigarette, meaning coffee will often trigger a stronger craving.
Similar to coffee, many people often pair drinking alcohol with smoking cigarettes. This is why it’s a good idea to abstain from consuming alcohol during your first cigarette-free month. This is when the potential for relapse is at its highest. Alcohol is also a highly addictive substance and can cause severe damage to the liver.
Almost all chocolates are rich in saturated fats. This is definitely something to avoid adding to your diet when quitting cigarettes because saturated fats increase “bad” cholesterol levels.
6. Processed Meat
Processed meat is filled with a range of different preservatives and additives, so these ingredients may make you feel sick. It’s also worth noting that some types of meat, such as beef, can increase the risk of lung cancer.
7. Dairy Products
Many of the most popular dairy products like cheese and ice cream tend to have a high salt content. This is less than ideal when it comes to remaining a healthy weight after giving up cigarettes as salt will make you retain more water, thus your body weight becoming heavier in the process.
8. Fast Food
While fast food might be something you’re fancying after quitting cigarettes to provide some much-needed comfort, try and avoid it. This is because it’s typically high in both calories and unhealthy fats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do I Need To Quit Smoking?
The longer you smoke, the greater your chances are of getting ill. If you continue to smoke for an extended period of your life, you could end up suffering from conditions like emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and even lung cancer.
Can I Still Drink Any Alcohol After Quitting Cigarettes?
Yes, although it’s a good idea to limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage per day. Drinking too much alcohol while quitting smoking can lead to dehydration, which can result in headaches and dizziness.
How Long Does It Take To Stop Smoking?
It can take around four weeks to get rid of nicotine completely, but this depends on how addicted you are to cigarettes in the first place. For example, some smokers find they need to stay away from their habit for up to six months before they finally kick the habit.
What Does It Take To Stay Tobacco-Free?
It takes willpower. If you don’t believe that you can do this, then you probably won’t. But if you really want to give up smoking, then you need to be strong enough to resist the temptation of a cigarette.
How Do I Get Through The Rough Spots After I Quit?
There will be times when you’ll crave a cigarette, but just remember that it’s not going to help you. Instead, focus on staying positive by reminding yourself of how far you’ve come and what you’ve achieved.
Can I Still Smoke While I’m Pregnant?
Yes, you can continue to smoke while you’re pregnant. However, it’s important to note that there are certain risks associated with smoking while you’re pregnant. These include premature delivery, low birth weight babies, miscarriage, and even increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or other complications.
How To Quit Smoking Cold Turkey?
Cold turkey has been proven to work, but it’s not recommended for everyone. If you’ve tried everything else and still find yourself unable to kick the habit, then this method might be right for you.
The main reason why cold turkey doesn’t work for every smoker is because there are some smokers who experience withdrawal symptoms even before they smoke their first cigarette. These symptoms include headaches, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, restlessness, and muscle aches.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for the easiest way to stop smoking and stay away from cigarettes, then you should know there are many options available to you. Some of these methods include consuming the right foods, as well as using patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, and more.
In fact, each of the options listed above have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s best to choose the one that suits you best.
However, regardless of which option you decide to use, you need to make sure that you stick to it until you’ve successfully stopped smoking. This means that you shouldn’t try anything new to speed-along the process, just be patient. Good luck!