England's recent public smoking ban reminded me there are regular smokers out there still needing to quit. Quitting smoking is one of the healthiest things you can do and I want to be supportive.
So if you're one of them, or if you know someone who needs to quit, here are a few tips from the British Dietetic Association on making quitting a little easier:
- Chew it over: Some people find that chewing a nicotine gum can help when quitting smoking. But did you know that a recent study showed that chewing sugar-free gum actually suppressed appetite, and specifically the desire for sweets and snacks? Some people also find that cleaning their teeth after a meal or having minty gum helps to stop the craving.
- Leave a bad taste: Research from the USA has shown that whereas some foods seem to enhance the 'taste' of cigarettes, others make them taste really bad, and could help you to give up. Go for low fat dairy products, fruit, vegetables, water and fruit juice for the best effects.
- C yourself right: Smokers tend to have lower levels of vitamin C in their blood than non-smokers. Give yourself a boost of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables - take advantage of seasonal vegetables and summer berries, salads and smoothies - all of these will help to achieve your 5 A DAY as well. There's no need for supplements - fruits and vegetables provide sufficient vitamin C.
- Out and about: With the lungs beginning to clear of the mucus caused by smoking within as little as 24-hours after the last cigarette, now is the time to get out and enjoy some summer outdoor activities - even a short brisk walk on a light evening is a great start. Start gently, but aim to build up to 10,000 steps a day for real benefits and to help prevent weight gain - and because you've stopped smoking, you'll soon start to find exercise easier. Use a pedometer to 'quantify' your exercise.