Quit­ting Time

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - /// Dr. Michele Burk­lund, NMD

Have you— or some­one you love— tried to quit smok­ing, but never found suc­cess? This holis­tic ap­proach in­te­grates the lat­est research, sci­ence- backed nat­u­ral reme­dies, and other proven tech­niques to help you quit— and stay smoke- free.

When was the last time you smelled the sub­tle flo­ral scents within the air or re­ally tasted your food? Do you miss hav­ing fresh breath and clothes that don’t smell of smoke? Are you tired of get­ting short of breath when you do just a lit­tle bit of car­dio ex­er­cise? Have you tried to quit smok­ing, but found your­self back at it? These nat­u­ral stop- smok­ing aids can help.

It is es­ti­mated that 36.5 mil­lion adults in the United States cur­rently smoke cig­a­rettes, which means, most likely, you or some­one you know has bat­tled with smok­ing. These days ev­ery­one is fa­mil­iar with the im­pact smok­ing has on the body, so why do some peo­ple still do it? Why can’t they sim­ply quit? Most likely, friends and fam­ily have en­cour­aged them to stop at some point or an­other, but to no avail. Un­der­stand­ing the eff ects, which in­clude pre­ma­ture aging, an in­creased risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease, nu­tri­ent defi cien­cies, and de­creased life span, is some­times not enough to over­come the ad­dic­tion. They might have tried to quit nu­mer­ous times, and maybe they even made it a week or two, but some­how they al­ways end up go­ing back.

To some, smok­ing a cig­a­rette is more than just a bad habit; it’s a rit­ual that is used to ad­dress many phys­i­cal and emo­tional states. In or­der to fi nally end the ad­dic­tion to smok­ing, and to pre­vent fu­ture re­lapses, you need a holis­tic ap­proach— one that in­te­grates both phys­i­cal and emo­tional symp­toms along with a real, con­crete plan. By in­te­grat­ing the lat­est research, sci­ence- backed nat­u­ral reme­dies, and other proven tech­niques, it is pos­si­ble to quit smok­ing, and stay smoke- free.

Treat­ing the Phys­i­cal Symp­toms

Nico­tine with­drawal can be­gin within 30 min­utes of your last cig­a­rette. The fi rst days are the most in­tense, but re­mem­ber that these crav­ings be­come less fre­quent and less in­tense with time. Here are some proven tech­niques for deal­ing with those crav­ings:

Ex­er­cise: A study pub­lished by the Jour­nal of Psy­chophar­ma­col­ogy found that ex­er­cise had a pos­i­tive eff ect on smok­ing. The trial in­cluded 15 diff er­ent stud­ies that eval­u­ated variables, in­clud­ing the de­sire to smoke and the strength of the de­sire. Again and again re­searchers found that many diff er­ent ex­er­cises, in­clud­ing yoga and high- in­ten­sity ac­tiv­i­ties, had pos­i­tive re­sults on re­duc­ing crav­ings. So, next time you have a crav­ing, try em­brac­ing the out­doors and go for a 15- minute walk in­stead.

Deep Breath­ing: Tech­niques that fo­cus on breath work, such as tak­ing a se­ries of deep breaths, di­aphrag­matic breath­ing, and di­rected breath­ing, are an eff ec­tive and easy way to re­duce crav­ings. A study pub­lished in The Jour­nal of Ad­dic­tive Be­hav­iors found that tak­ing a

se­ries of deep breaths ev­ery 30 min­utes sig­nifi cantly re­duced smok­ing with­drawal symp­toms, in­clud­ing crav­ings and ir­ri­tabil­ity. Have an urge? Try tak­ing sev­eral deep breaths and no­tice that de­sire be­gin to slip away.

Treat­ing the Emo­tional Symp­toms

Feel­ings such as ir­ri­tabil­ity, anx­i­ety, and even de­pres­sion can oc­cur as the body be­gins to with­draw from nico­tine. Break­ing the psy­cho­log­i­cal ad­dic­tion can be diffi cult be­cause the lim­bic sys­tem, also known as the re­ward cen­ter of the brain, is stim­u­lated with each cig­a­rette. The urge to light up can feel un­com­fort­able as the brain and body be­gin to detox­ify. The good news is that in as lit­tle as a month after your last cig­a­rette, a large num­ber of nico­tine re­cep­tors in the brain will re­turn to nor­mal. Re­mem­ber that each day will get bet­ter, and the crav­ings will de­crease as your brain chem­istry re­bal­ances.

Feel­ing Ir­ri­ta­ble? Try tak­ing GABA, a calm­ing neu­ro­trans­mit­ter that could help re­duce crav­ings. A 2013 study per­formed by the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia’s Depart­ment of Psy­chi­a­try an­a­lyzed the role that GABA plays in nico­tine ad­dic­tion, and con­cluded that in­te­grat­ing this sup­ple­ment could be use­ful in pro­mot­ing smok­ing ces­sa­tion.

Can’t Re­lax? Try this 10- minute tech­nique: A re­cent study re­vealed that in­di­vid­u­als who were ex­pe­ri­enc­ing acute nico­tine crav­ings and who par­tic­i­pated in a 10- minute re­lax­ation tech­nique re­ported sig­nifi cantly lower crav­ings after­ward. Par­tic­i­pants also re­ported lower lev­els of ir­ri­tabil­ity, ten­sion, and rest­less­ness com­pared to the con­trol group. Next time you’re feel­ing the urge, fi nd a quiet place and slowly re­lax the mus­cles in your body, start­ing with your feet and work­ing your way up all the way to the crown of your head.

Ad­dress­ing the Trig­gers

These are mo­ments in your daily life that ex­ac­er­bate the crav­ing for cig­a­rettes. For ex­am­ple, maybe ev­ery morn­ing you used to have your fi rst cig­a­rette with a cup of coff ee. Or per­haps you al­ways lit up when drink­ing al­co­hol. Ac­knowl­edg­ing these sit­u­a­tions and cre­at­ing new patterns can help. Write down the mo­ments where your crav­ings are the most in­tense and think of new, health­ier al­ter­na­tives that can take their place. Here are some ideas to get you started.

RE­PLACE

Coff ee with green tea Al­co­hol with kom­bucha Hang­ing out with smok­ers with join­ing an ex­er­cise class

A study pub­lished by The Jour­nal of Nu­tri­tional Bio­chem­istry found that drink­ing green tea reg­u­larly might pro­tect smok­ers from ox­ida­tive dam­age, and could also re­duce their risk of cancer by de­creas­ing the free rad­i­cals as­so­ci­ated with smok­ing. Re­plac­ing your morn­ing coff ee with a cup of green tea not only re­duces the urge for a cig­a­rette, but also nour­ishes the body by replenishing much- needed an­tiox­i­dants.

Re­plen­ish

Did you know that smok­ing ac­tu­ally re­duces the amounts of cer­tain nu­tri­ents in your body? An ar­ti­cle from Progress in Food and Nu­tri­tion Sci­ence Jour­nal found that smok­ing could lower plasma lev­els of vi­ta­min C and be­tac­arotene, as well as re­duce the bioavail­abil­ity of se­le­nium. Some stud­ies have also in­di­cated that smok­ers have sub­op­ti­mal lev­els of vi­ta­min E, a po­tent an­tiox­i­dant, and some of the B vi­ta­mins. The bright side is that the body be­gins to re­bal­ance it­self in as lit­tle as 20 min­utes after your last cig­a­rette. In just eight hours after quit­ting, the car­bon monox­ide level in the blood re­turns to nor­mal, and the oxy­gen lev­els in­crease. Heal your body from the in­side out with whole foods, nu­tri­ent- packed smooth­ies, and vi­ta­mins.

Nour­ish

Nour­ish the body with foods high in vi­ta­min C, such as citrus fruits, pa­payas, bell peppers, guava, Brus­sels sprouts, caulifl ower, toma­toes, and straw­ber­ries. You can re­store lost an­tiox­i­dants with beta carotene- rich foods such as car­rots, sweet pota­toes, and dark leafy greens, in­clud­ing kale and spinach. In­creas­ing your in­take of vi­ta­min E will help re­build your body’s re­serves. Try eat­ing fruits, veg­gies, and nuts. Av­o­ca­dos, al­monds, olive oil, and kiwi are some great ones to try.

Detox

A re­port pub­lished by the U. S. Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices found that cig­a­rettes con­tain more than 7,000 chem­i­cals, in­clud­ing hun­dreds of harm­ful sub­stances, and at least 70 that are linked to cancer. Chem­i­cals such as am­mo­nia, which is used for clean­ing prod­ucts; car­bon monox­ide, found in car ex­haust;

and even ar­senic, found in prod­ucts like rat poi­son, were all de­tected in cig­a­rette smoke. The body does a great job at detox­i­fy­ing it­self and works around the clock to elim­i­nate tox­ins, but some­times it needs a lit­tle help.

Here are some easy ways to sup­port the body’s nat­u­ral detox­ifi cation path­ways:

Drink Wa­ter: Flush out tox­ins by drink­ing about 6– 8 ( 8 oz.) glasses of wa­ter per day. Try adding a slice of lemon for a vi­ta­min C boost.

NAC: N- acetyl cysteine ( NAC) is well- known as a po­tent an­tiox­i­dant and detox­ifi er, but it’s also used as a “mu­colytic” for its abil­ity to break up mu­cus, mak­ing it eas­ier to cough up. As the lungs be­gin to heal, you might fi nd your­self cough­ing more than usual. This oc­curs as the cilia re­gen­er­ate and more mu­cus is cleared, as this is part of the nor­mal heal­ing process. NAC can help sup­port the lungs’ nat­u­ral abil­ity to heal and detox­ify.

Cas­tor Oil Packs: This tra­di­tional rem­edy has been used to re­duce infl am­ma­tion, aid detox­ifi cation, and pro­mote heal­ing. Try this time- tested folk treat­ment: ap­ply it top­i­cally over your liver and lungs to sup­port their re­ju­ve­na­tion.

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