Today’s smokers have an entire arsenal of smoking cessation aids to help them quit – more than ever before. But many people are either turned off by many of the aids available, or just simply cannot afford the high prices of patches, prescriptions, or hours of hypnosis sessions.
Good news for these folks: there are some methods of quitting that don’t require a doctor’s approval and that are easy to access. In fact, they are found right in your local grocery store.
Some studies have shown certain foods may help alleviate cigarette cravings or even make the taste of cigarettes repulsive even for the most avid of smokers.
What are These Smoking Cessation Foods?
Research has shown that drinking milk prior to smoking makes cigarettes taste unappealing to study participants. The same effect can be had by dipping cigarettes into milk ahead of time and allowing them to dry. Most respondents claimed their cigarettes had a bitter aftertaste. When cigarettes taste disgusting they don’t seem nearly as appealing, even for those with full-blown nicotine addictions. This goes for most other dairy products as well, such as cheese, yogurt, and cream.
Snacks with lots of salt
Choose your poison on this one. Whether you like potato chips, salted nuts, or popcorn with loads of salt and real butter, salty snacks have shown to reduce nicotine and tobacco cravings. Just make sure if you have high blood pressure to speak with a doctor before beginning a sodium-rich diet.
Namely, snack-like veggies such as celery, carrots, eggplant, squash, and cucumbers. Not only are these snacks better for the waistline than many others, but they also have the same taste effect as milk. Additionally, many vegetables take longer to chew than other snacks, so they’ll keep your mouth busy while you work through tobacco cravings.
Foods rich in vitamin C
Smoking cigarettes depletes the body’s vitamin C stores, so this is a good idea for other reasons as well. But some research suggests that restoring vitamin C in the body may also help reduce cigarette cravings. While citrus fruits are the more commonly known vitamin-C rich foods (think oranges, grapefruits, and nectarines), there are plenty of other fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C. Strawberries, broccoli, peppers, and kale all have more vitamin C than oranges, as well as more exotic fruit like papaya.
Foods to Avoid
Knowing which foods to consume is one thing, but it’s also a good idea to avoid foods which are most likely to trigger tobacco cravings. Trigger foods may vary based on the individual. For instance, if you enjoyed smoking while eating chocolate cake, then chocolate cake is probably going to be a trigger food. Other well-known foods that enhance the flavor of tobacco include red meat, alcohol, and caffeine-containing foods and beverages such as chocolate and coffee.
The Sugar Paradox
Sugar consumption has shown conflicting results in studies as a smoking deterrent and a smoking trigger. Some studies have shown that participants who consumed glucose tablets, such as those sold for diabetics, reported fewer cigarette cravings. Others have shown that giving in to sugar cravings while quitting may help prevent a relapse. However, conflicting studies have also shown that the consumption of sugar-laden foods may have the opposite effect, causing more intense nicotine cravings.
The bottom line on sugar is that it’s not healthy for you, whether you smoke or not. If you crave a sugary snack and feel that eating it would keep you from smoking, it is the lesser of the two evils, at least for a while. Additionally, trying to give up sugar (which can also be addictive) at the same time as trying to quit smoking may prove distracting or lead to more intense cravings for both. If you find you have a more intense sweet tooth while quitting, choose fruit whenever possible, since natural sugars are healthier than heavily refined snacks. Fruit also has the added health boosts of fiber, vitamins, and phytonutrients. If sugary foods are triggers for you, however, it’s best that you avoid them altogether.