CAN A HEALTHY DIET COUNTERACT THE EFFECTS OF SMOKING?
EATING well helps keep us healthy – but can it ‘undo’ the damage associated with cigarettes?
Katie Edmunds, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, says...
“Smoking is by far the biggest preventable cause of cancer. It has a huge impact on our health, with two out of three long-term smokers dying from smoking-related illnesses, including cancer, heart and lung diseases.
“While most people will know the link between smoking and lung cancer, the risks don’t stop there. Smoking tobacco increases the risk of 13 other types of cancer too, including mouth, bowel and bladder cancer.
“And that’s just cancer risk. Smoking also causes heart disease and a host of other lung conditions. But there is some good news: stopping smoking makes a difference.
“Unfortunately, the serious, damaging effects of smoking cannot be cancelled out by having an otherwise healthy lifestyle, like keeping fit and eating healthily. The only way to avoid more damage, is to give up smoking completely.
“Stopping isn’t easy, and it may take multiple attempts to give up for good, but it’s important to keep trying. How you choose to quit is up to you, but prescription medication and support from a specialist at your local Stop Smoking Services gives you the best possible chance of success.
“That’s not to say you shouldn’t bother trying to eat healthily too. Even if it can’t undo the harmful effects of smoking, it still has some great benefits.
“The food we eat can help us keep a healthy weight and directly reduce the risk of a wide range of diseases, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. This is particularly important, because keeping a healthy weight is the second best thing you can do to cut the risk of cancer, after not smoking.
“A healthy, balanced diet is high in fibre, fruit and vegetables, and low in processed and red meat, and high-calorie foods and drinks. Try to be moderate in your eating habits, but there’s no need to join the latest diet fad.
“Eating healthily is important, but stopping smoking is the best thing a smoker can do for their health.”
Giving up is the only way forward