Quit Smoking Through Nutrition and Exercise


By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

In shocking news, a disturbing video recently surfaced of a father teaching his baby girl how to smoke cigarettes. He actually held a cigarette up to her mouth and tried to get her to inhale. This may be a rare incident, but today is World No Tobacco Day. And what better time to really explore the nutritional toll smoking tobacco takes on our bodies and be proactive about quitting smoking?   

You probably don’t need me to tell you that smoking tobacco is bad for you, but just in case you need a reminder…

Briefly, the American Cancer Society says that each year smoking causes about 1 out of 5 deaths in the U.S.

In addition to this, smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, HIV, guns and illegal drugs. Smoking not only damages the lungs but also so many other parts of the body, like the heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes and bones. Smoking may cause cancer and increase the risk of developing an array of other problems such as heart disease, stroke, asthma, diabetes and blindness.

As it relates to nutrition, smoking tobacco severely robs the body of critical nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. These are all nutrients which are necessary to keep us healthy.

Smoking has been shown to lower the level of vitamin C and B-carotene in plasma. Cadmium, naturally found in tobacco, decreases the bioavailability of selenium and acts antagonistically to zinc, a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Vitamin E, the principle lipid-soluble antioxidant, may be at suboptimal levels in tissues of smokers,” reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

All of these vitamins and minerals mentioned are important for immune function, heart health, skin health and more.

Another study found evidence that vitamin A depletion induced by cigarette smoke may lead to the development of emphysema.  

“In addition, tobacco constituents have been shown to reduce levels of several vitamins of the B-complex. Nutritional status in smokers may be further compromised by an inadequate diet [smokers are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables],” says the NIH.

There are a few different B vitamins, and they each serve an important function in the body.

“Smoking has a negative impact on the way our bodies use vitamins and nutrients on a daily basis,” according to the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.

“Nicotine and the toxic substances in cigarettes not only drain the body of vitamins and minerals, but they also block absorption of these vital nutrients.”

Reportedly, smoking just one cigarette robs the body of 25mg of vitamin C (the amount of vitamin C in one orange).

Smoking also affects the absorption of vitamin D, and this vitamin helps with the absorption of calcium. This is why smokers have a high risk of developing osteoporosis. Smoking may even deplete probiotics, beneficial bugs, from your gut.

How can you be proactive?

Consider quitting! This will not be an easy feat, because cigarettes are highly addictive. However, there are tools in your arsenal you can use that you may not even be aware of.

  • Aerobic exercise may be one way to successfully quit smoking. Exercise may help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms. And remember, you have to fuel your body properly if you want to be able to perform physical activities that may help fight addiction.
  • There is some evidence that watercress may detoxify carcinogens in smokers. So you may want to incorporate this vegetable in your diet to reduce the negative impact of smoking.
  • There are also some studies which suggest that high doses of vitamin C may reduce some of the damage caused by prolonged smoking.

Good nutrition and physical exercise can go very far in keeping you healthy and may help with your efforts to quit smoking.

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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