Are you a smoker who is trying to kick the habit? Upping your consumption of fruits and vegetables may make it easier to quit and remain tobacco-free, according to a new study published in the scientific journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo Department of Community Health and Health Behavior surveyed 1000 smokers from across the country about their efforts to abstain from tobacco, following up their initial interviews with another 14 months later. They found that smokers who included the most fruits and vegetables in their diets were three times more likely to have been tobacco-free for the previous 30 days compared to those who consumed the least amount of produce. Those who ate the most fruits and vegetables were also more likely to smoke fewer cigarettes a day and to score lower on a test for nicotine dependence.
While the researchers who conducted the study can't say for sure why fruits and vegetables may make it easier to avoid smoking, they speculate on several explanations. These foods may help people feel fuller longer, so they don't confuse hunger with the urge to smoke. And according to Jeffrey Haibach, first author on the paper, unlike foods such as meat, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages that enhance tobacco's taste, ″Foods like fruit and vegetables may actually worsen the taste of cigarettes.″
Further study is needed at determine the exact mechanisms of this effect, but in the meantime, there is no downside to including more fruits and vegetables, with their many known health benefits, in your diet, especially as you work on the difficult task of quitting smoking.
To read more about this research, go to: University of Buffalo News Center.
Article published on June 13, 2012.