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No Smoking Day: 5 foods to help quit smoking and what to avoid

Quitting smoking is hard but many things can help you achieve your goal. Here are 5 foods to avoid smoking and some foods to avoid.
foods to avoid smoking
These foods can help you ditch your smoking cravings! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Published: 13 Mar 2024, 08:59 am IST
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The tobacco epidemic is one of the most significant threats to public health in the world, claiming over 8 million lives annually, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). This staggering figure includes 7 million direct tobacco-related deaths and approximately 1.3 million fatalities among non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke. Such statistics are enough to convince every smoker to consider quitting smoking. Smoking a cigarette comes with a host of health problems, affecting various body parts such as the heart, hormones, metabolism, and even the brain. However, quitting smoking can initiate the process of reversing these adverse effects on the body. If you are someone who wants to quit smoking or is already trying, you may try adding these foods and drinks to your diet.

5 foods to avoid smoking

Fighting cigarette and tobacco cravings is hard, but not impossible. While certain foods may not directly help you quit smoking, they can help reduce the craving to smoke. These foods have a positive effect on tobacco and nicotine withdrawal, which may help people quit smoking, says Dr Akshay Budhraja, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine specialist, tells HealthShots.

Here are 5 foods that you should eat to control your craving to smoke:

1. Vitamin C-rich foods

Foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, and bell peppers, can help reduce cravings for nicotine. Vitamin C is known to enhance the body’s ability to absorb nicotine and flush it out of the system more efficiently. In fact, vitamin C boosts the immune system, which may have been weakened by smoking, and promotes overall health during the quitting process. Additionally, foods packed with vitamin D and vitamin B12 are also good for smokers, since smoking is known to cause decreased absorption of nutrients, leading to deficiency.

Vitamin C
Add foods rich in vitamin C to quit smoking. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Dairy products

Dairy products such as milk, cream, butter, yogurt, and cheese, contain a compound called casein, which has been found to reduce the desire for nicotine. According to Dr Budhraja, “Milk and dairy products are known to change the taste of cigarette smoking, which may help in quitting smoking if a person is willing to.”

3. Green tea

Green tea is one of the most effective drinks to avoid smoking. It is rich in antioxidants and contains a compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to reduce nicotine craving and withdrawal symptoms such as strong urge to smoke, restlessness, trouble sleeping, etc. Drinking green tea throughout the day can help curb cravings and provide a calming effect, making it an excellent alternative to reaching for a cigarette.

4. Chewing gums

“Chewing gum serves as a distraction from cravings and keeps your mouth busy, reducing the desire to smoke,” says Dr Budhraja. Opt for sugar-free gum to avoid unnecessary calories and maintain oral health. The act of chewing gum also stimulates saliva production, which can help flush out toxins from the body and reduce the urge to smoke.

5. Fruits and veggies

Snacking on fruits and vegetables can help satisfy cravings while providing essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre to support overall health. Crunchy vegetables like carrots and celery can be particularly helpful for satisfying the oral fixation associated with smoking. Additionally, fruits offer natural sweetness without the harmful additives found in cigarettes, making them a healthier alternative for satisfying cravings.

5 things to avoid when you want to quit smoking

When you aim to quit smoking, certain foods can hinder your progress and increase the likelihood of smoking. Here are 5 foods to avoid when you are trying to quit smoking:

1. Coffee

Avoiding coffee is crucial, as it is often associated with triggering cravings due to its caffeine content.

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2. Alcohol

People often smoke when they drink alcohol. According to a study published by Nutrition Research and Practice, alcohol is something that makes smoking taste better.

alcohol disorder
Avoid both smoking and drinking for better health! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Meat

Meat, especially processed meats, can contain compounds that may increase cravings for nicotine.

4. Spicy foods

The American Cancer Society advises against consuming spicy foods while trying to quit smoking, as they can exacerbate cravings for cigarettes.

Also read: Can smoking affect your eyes?

5. Sugary foods

Sugary foods can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar levels, which may trigger cravings and mood swings.

By steering clear of these foods and focusing on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, you can better manage cravings and support your journey towards a smoke-free life!

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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