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Want to quit smoking? Here's help

Some simple lifestyle modifications can help you kick the butt. Studies have shown that there are certain foods that actually make cigarettes taste worse. Here are some easy ways to stay smoke-free.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 01, 2010 17:40 IST
Dr. Anjali Mukerjee

Smoking

Smoking is often considered a sign of machismo. It does not take long for a naive teenager to get addicted to smoking. Often, the ones who are addicted claim that they are in control of the number of cigarettes they smoke. However, the fact is that there is no ‘safe’ level of smoking.

What does that mean?
Smokers, occasional or frequent, have double the risk of dying from coronary heart disease compared to those who have never smoked. They are also at higher risk of lung and other form of cancers. Diabetics who smoke greatly increase the risk of poor circulation to their hands and feet, which may lead to gangrene. What smokers really need are some simple lifestyle modifications to kick the butt.

Certain foods help
Studies have shown that there are certain foods that actually make cigarettes taste worse. These foods also reduce the addictive effect of nicotine and help you to stay smoke-free for a longer period of time.

Milk and other dairy items: Research suggests cigarettes dipped in milk and then dried taste terrible when lit.

Vegetables: Celery, beans, brinjal and cucumbers make cigarettes taste horrible.

Water and juice: Non-caffeinated beverages like water and juices also make cigarettes taste bad. Also, since cigarettes rob the body of moisture, these fluids replenish the much-needed water.

Oats: Oatmeal as well as oat bran also help to reduce the urge to smoke. In Ayurveda, oats are recommended to deal with opium addiction.

Alkaline foods: Beetroot, spinach, figs and leafy vegetables help reduce the urge to smoke, whereas acidic foods like alcohol, chicken, mutton, eggs, cheese, coffee, peanuts, and plums increase it.

Avoid acidic foods and beverages: If you are using nicotine gum to suppress your cravings, avoid eating and drinking acidic things like colas, coffee, beer, and eggs at least 15 minutes before using the gum. It makes the gum less effective in preventing the craving.

Detoxify the body
Cigarette smoke contains more than 300 chemicals that fill the body with unwanted toxins. Those who quit must take care of what they eat after kicking the butt:

Cut down on caffeine intake. Nicotine stimulates the nerves and quitting makes a person nervous. Hence, avoid caffeinated beverages.

Increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables in the form of salads and juices.

Vitamin C-rich foods such as oranges, lemons and pomegranates are good micronutrients to reduce nicotine intake.

The anti-inflammatory effect of sulphur-rich foods like garlic, onions and broccoli negates the damage of toxins generated by cigarette smoke.

Eat small meals every 2-3 hours. This helps deal with the hunger pangs that occur due to withdrawal symptoms.

A glass of red wine a day lowers the risks of lung cancer. But don’t overdo it, else you will have one more addiction to battle with. Grape juice serves the same purpose.