Emotional stress, the need to fit in when socializing, peer pressure, you name it — there are many factors that can make you start and maintain this not-so-healthy habit. But we’re not here to judge you. In fact, we’re here to help you with tips on how to maintain your body as healthy as possible while you smoke.
One (and perhaps the most important) way to minimize the damage to your body that’s done by smoke, is maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, but before we jump into what you should eat if you’re a daily smoker, let’s take a look on what smoking actually does to a body!
What are the health effects of smoking?
Smoking consumes or, in worst cases, even destroys many vital substances because of the toxins that a person inhales — they can reach most parts of the body through the bloodstream.
Researches show that smoking is the leading cause of death that can be preventable in the United States. If a person is a long-term smoker, there’s a higher chance for him to develop:
In fact, smoking can cause cancer in other body parts, other than the lungs, as well. So in order to prevent these illnesses from actually developing, you should seriously think about a nutritious diet.
How to keep your diet balanced?
It is important to keep your diet balanced as it supplies all the needed nutrients for your body in order to work properly and effectively. If you choose to eat processed foods, you have to keep in mind that your body can be more prone to many diseases, infections, and low energy.
Processed foods contain much lower amounts of valuable substances, that are reducing even more through heating processes, scalding, and peelings. However, a balanced diet contains many nutrients that are beneficial for your body’s functioning. This kind of diet mainly consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and lean proteins.
Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet
In order to get as many nutrients as possible, try consuming more fruits and vegetables as they contain antioxidants along with many vitamins. Research done in 2017 found that ex-smokers who consumed at least two servings of fresh tomatoes, along with apples and other fruits full of vitamin C and antioxidants every day, had a far slower drop in lung function.
It is recommended to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, that are bought in local markets or even grown in your own garden because long transportations and long-time storing can significantly reduce the amount of vitamins and minerals.
Use high-quality oils
If you decide to cook something or maybe you want to add some more moisture to your salad, consider switching to higher-quality oils. Oils like olive, walnut, sesame, and even soybean oil are important sources of vitamin E and omega-3 — elements that are important to your body!
These oils also can positively affect your cholesterol levels, and smokers often have higher “bad” cholesterol levels than non-smokers. You should closely observe your blood fat and cholesterol levels. The main risk of smoking is an increase in these values, which have horrible long-term and even fatal effects on the cardiovascular system.
Implement drinking more water in your daily routine
This one might seem obvious. For almost every problem drinking water seems to be a part of the solution, but it’s actually very important for smokers to really take this advice into account.
Many pieces of research show that smoking often causes mucus formation in the bronchi, causing breathing problems and lowering the overall quality of life. Drinking water can actually reduce the amount of mucus in the bronchi. However, try to avoid dairy products, as they tend to do the opposite — increase mucus formation.
Make more dishes with legumes and nuts
Smoking is often a cause for reduced bone density, as well as reduced serum levels of vitamin D, that’s why it’s especially important to pay particular attention to the supply of calcium.
Foods like legumes (especially beans, lentils, and peas) and nuts (like almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts) are rich in calcium, but you have to keep in mind to take them in moderation — try not to overconsume them! For example, nuts are very high in calories, so eating a large amount of them in one day can lead you to gain weight, so be careful and mindful of that.
As you can see, there are ways to compensate your body for smoking — and you can do that by eating healthy and balanced meals. One more tip — seek a balance between an acidic and alkaline diet, consume less meat, avoid white flour and refined sugar, and eat fish more often!
That doesn’t mean that you have to go all “green” — the main rule is to keep your diet versatile. Make a special place in your meals for vegetables and fruits, as well as cereal products, legumes, fish, and, in small quantities, you can also eat meat, eggs, and high-quality fats. Oh, and herbs and spices also provide important nutrients, so don’t forget about them as well!