The benefits of quitting smoking far outweigh the chance of early weight gain. Researchers at the Harvard Institute of Public Health found that if a woman stops smoking immediately, her risk of heart disease from smoking can drop from day one.
What can you do to prevent the possible weight gain?
Now, more than ever, is an important time to listen to your body. When it comes to your diet, the answer is simple: protein-rich foods combined with slow-releasing carbohydrates. As you reduce the nicotine load in your diet, withdrawal symptoms will directly effect your blood sugar and adrenal hormone levels. If you enter a blood sugar valley, it will be difficult to fight the urge to smoke. A diet with high-quality carbohydrates will stablilize your blood sugar and lessen the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms.
Unless you're quitting cold turkey, your nicotine load will probably be reduced gradually as you undergo nicotine replacement therapy or use smoking-cessation medication. Your body will undergo gradual changes toward better health. Your nerve endings start to regrow, improving your sense of taste and smell. Circulation is enhanced. Lungs clean up and work more efficiently. Carbon monoxide levels drop. Oxygen levels normalize. Your risk of respiratory problems, multiple forms of cancer, stroke, diabetes, and heart disease decrease significantly.
As you clear out smoking from your agenda, you need to strenghten your body's ability to detoxify and clear out the deadly toxins from cigarette smoke.
A well-planned nutrition and exercise program will speed up the detoxification process. Make sure you stay properly hydrated with pure water throughout the day to help flush out toxins, including nicotine. When the body is dehydrated, you are more likely to experience nicotine cravings. The process is similiar to when thirst is confused for hunger.
Free radical-fighting antioxidants like vitamins A, C, and E are crucial to strengthen the immune system. A history of smoking not only depletes these nutrients but also increases the body's need for them. Along with nutrient-rich food sources of these vitamins, a high-quality multivitamin like EnergyFirst Multivitamin and Mineral Plus ACE will help restore your body's supply.
Omega-3 fatty acids will also help speed up the process of detoxification. According to a study presented at the World Congress of Cardiology, omega-3 fatty acids reduces stiffness of arteries caused by smoking and improves their elasticity.
Fend off Cravings
As your taste buds enhance and your nicotine exposure decreases, food cravings may start to increase. Much like carb cravings, an unsteady blood sugar level can increase nicotine cravings. Avoid skipping meals as this will offset your blood sugar levels. Skipping meals sets you up for failure in two ways: it will either make it hard for you to say no to another cigarette or it will make it hard to keep your weight under control.
Avoid refined carbohydrates that can easily trigger cigarette cravings. Refined carbohydrates and sugars won't leave you feeling satisfied after a meal, thus encouraging weight gain.
Avoid triggers you've associated with smoking in the past. For example, if you are used to drinking a cup of coffee with your cigarette, change it up! It's important to break any associations you have with that cigarette. Start your morning with a cup of tea or an EnergyFirst shake instead. Replacing caffeinated beverages will help you avoid the jitters associated with nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms. The slow-releasing carbohydrates and high-quality protein in your shake will help keep your blood sugar stable. You'll be setting yourself up for success.
Regular physical activity can also help reduce nicotine cravings. Your exercise program can relieve withdrawal symptoms, reduce stress, and help prevent the weight gain associated with quitting smoking.
In a study published by the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, eleven different medicinal Chinese herbs were found to have powerful antioxidant properties able to speed up the metabolism of nicotine to cotinine so that it can be excreted from the body. These herbs, including ginseng and astragalus, were found to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms as well.
A diet high in fruits and vegetables, especially green superfoods, will help increase the alkaline balance of the body. This will reduce the acidic state of a smoker's body and help reduce cravings. Green superfoods include spinach, spirulina, wheat grass, and broccoli. One scoop of our Greenergy superfood blend has the nutritional equivalent of 5 servings of green superfoods.