Not every smoker is interested in quitting, but for those of you who are trying to quit smoking, implementing simple dietary changes may be the way to go. While smokers try everything from hypnosis to electronic cigarettes, research is showing that if you simply eat more fruit and vegetables, you may have an easier time staying tobacco-free for longer. The research should be of even greater interest to those who want to quit smoking naturally.
Quit Smoking Naturally
For the study, which was published online by University of Buffalo public health researchers, authors from UB’s School of Public Health and Health professions surveyed 1,000 smokers aged 25 and older from across the nation. Fourteen months after the survey, the authors followed up with the respondents to see if they stayed tobacco-free during the previous month.
What they found was that those who consumed the most fruit and vegetables were 3 times more likely to abstain from tobacco for at least 30 days than those consuming small amounts of fruit and vegetables. In addition, those consuming more fruit and vegetables smoked less often per day, waited longer before having their first daily cigarette, and scored better on a nicotine-dependent test.
“Other studies have taken a snapshot approach, asking smokers and nonsmokers about their diets,” says Gary A. Giovino, PhD, chair of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at UB. “We knew from our previous work that people who were abstinent from cigarettes for less than six months consumed more fruits and vegetables than those who still smoked. What we didn’t know was whether recent quitters increased their fruit and vegetable consumption or if smokers who ate more fruits and vegetables were more likely to quit.”
So how could increased consumption of fruit and vegetables help people to quit smoking naturally and save people from the detrimental effects of smoking?
- Less nicotine dependence.
- High fiber content makes people feel fuller – since smokers sometimes confuse hunger with smoking urges.
- Unlike meats, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages, fruit and vegetables don’t enhance and may even worsen the taste of tobacco.
- Engaging in a healthier lifestyle could consciously and subconsciously cause smokers to further shift out of an unhealthy lifestyle involving smoking.
While not everyone wants to quit smoking, most agree that quitting can be extremely difficult. For those who want to quit smoking, and especially for those who want to quit smoking naturally, this research should be a positive boost. If you don’t want to quit, but want to want to quit, then see what happens when you quit smoking – it may be enough to ignite that mental shift you’re searching for.
“We may have identified a new tool that can help people quit smoking,” says Jeffrey P. Haibach, MPH, first author on the paper and graduate research assistant in the UB Department of Community Health and Health Behavior. “Granted, this is just an observational study, but improving one’s diet may facilitate quitting.”