Smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable disease in the U.S. It increases the incidence of atherosclerosis, strokes and a wide range of common viral infections. The Lung Association raves that the benefits of quitting smoking begin as early as eight hours after your last cigarette, when carbon monoxide levels drop in your body and oxygen levels in the blood go back to normal. Within 15 years of quitting, the risk of dying from a heart attack is reduced to that of a person who has never smoked. Not only are damaging effects completely reversible, but the quitter will also save money, smell better, have whiter teeth, clearer skin and better lung capacity. TheTruth.com reports that about 50,000 people in the U.S. die each year from secondhand-smoke-related diseases. Quitting smoking is so hard because of the addictive nature of nicotine. Smoking becomes a habit and a part of our everyday routines, so that the quitter may have trouble, especially in social situations. Smoking may also be used as a crutch to deal with everyday stress or anger. There are many chemical aids to help quit smoking, such as patches and pills. However, natural alternatives may be less invasive and still helpful to the quitter.
Consuming more alkaline foods helps to reduce an acidic state in the body. Making this adjustment will promote conditions ideal for cleansing and detoxifying the body. Alkaline foods help to decrease cravings while acidic foods do not. Alkaline foods to enjoy include: vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes and chicken breast. Acidic foods to avoid include processed and packaged products, red meat, white bread, other flour products and sugar.
Vitamins that help clear toxins out, protect bodily cells and promote a healthy immune system are C, A and E. Vitamin C is found in foods such as strawberries and oranges. Vitamin A is found most abundantly in carrots and other yellow, orange and red vegetables. Vitamin E can be found in a wide range of nuts and seeds, including almonds and flax.
Hydration is an important factor while quitting smoking, as it helps to flush the body of unwanted toxins. Furthermore, dehydration may be a trigger for cigarette cravings in the same way that it is a trigger for hunger cravings. Oftentimes, the body feels as though it needs something, but it simply needs to be better hydrated. Consuming plenty of water or hydrating juices may assist with cigarette cravings, and drinking tea instead of lighting up is an effective distraction from smoking.
- ''Staying Healthy with Nutrition: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine''; Dr. Elson M. Haas; 2006
- The Lung Association: Quitting Smoking
- The Truth: Facts
- Smoke Free: Why is Quitting so Hard?
- The Lung Association: Benefits of Quitting Smoking
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.