A diet rich in fruits and vegetables could be an important part of helping smokers quit. According to a new study, eating more fruits and vegetables may help you quit and stay tobacco-free for longer. This is the first longitudinal study on the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and smoking cessation.
At the study’s follow-up after 14 months, it was found that smokers who consumed the most fruits and vegetables were three times more likely to be tobacco-free for at least 30 days following smoking cessation, than those consuming the lowest amount of fruits and vegetables. They also found that smokers with higher fruit and vegetable consumption smoked fewer cigarettes per day, waited longer to smoke their first cigarette of the day, and scored lower on a common test of nicotine dependence. These findings were seen even when adjustments were made to take into account age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, household income and health orientation.
It is believed that fruits and vegetables give people more of a feeling of fullness, so that they feel less of a need to smoke, since smokers may sometimes confuse hunger with an urge to smoke. And, unlike some foods which are known to enhance the taste of tobacco, such as meats, caffeinated beverages and alcohol, fruits and vegetables do not enhance the taste of tobacco. In fact, perhaps foods like fruits and vegetables may actually worsen the taste of cigarettes.