CAN A HEALTHY DIET COUN­TER­ACT THE EF­FECTS OF SMOK­ING?

Coventry Telegraph - - HEALTH & LIFESTYLE -

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

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