When you quit smoking, your body undergoes quite a change. You have to detoxify, and various body tissues need to heal. It’s a good idea to support your health as you go through the transition. In fact, good nutrition and healthy habits may make quitting easier. Here are some ideas and tips.
Try to give your body lots of rest during this time. Without the “rush” of nicotine from cigarettes, you may feel washed out, nauseated, or otherwise generally yucky. Resting helps your body to build new tissue and heal. Resting does not mean you don’t move around; just try to take a break from all the running around and stress for a while.
Exercise is said to help the body detoxify by increasing circulation and other ways. Few would argue that exercise is a boost to your health, whether you smoke or not. Incorporating regular exercise may help you quit if you use it as a distraction tool – maybe you could take a brisk walk or bike ride when you feel a craving for nicotine. Just don’t walk or bike to the store to buy more cigarettes!
Your body will need lots of nutrients to support it during this transition. Vitamin C is said to be very important for soon-to-be-ex-smokers, and it is an important antioxidant vitamin. Magnesium is important for muscle relaxation and nerve function. Fruit and vegetable juices can help deliver lots of nutrients and could make a healthy addition to your diet. Berries may help, too, as their antioxidant activity is well known.
Foods with a lot of Vitamin C include bell peppers, citrus fruits, mangoes, and broccoli. Magnesium-rich foods include black beans, most nuts, spinach, and whole wheat bread.
B-complex vitamins are also something to consider – they are reputed to boost the immune system. Try snacking on raw celery sticks to get some B vitamins. Cauliflower, bell peppers, tuna and greens (like kale) are also good sources of these important vitamins.
Herbal and nutritional supplements may be helpful. A good multi-vitamin is probably a good place to start. You might consider some herbal supplements or teas that can help boost your system while you quit smoking. There are actually herbal and nutritional supplements that are blended specifically to help smokers who are quitting.
Some soothing herbal teas that might help include chamomile, lemon balm, and/or catnip tea (yes, the same catnip cats go crazy for!). Herbal blends that contain oat straw and dandelion may also help – oat straw has magnesium, and dandelion is purported to help prevent and treat water retention.