At least 16 million Americans suffer from illnesses caused by smoking, such as heart disease, lung cancer, COPD, diabetes, hypertension, and more. Quitting smoking is a smart decision for your overall health. However, kicking a smoking habit can be very difficult. Many opt smoking cessation programs, nicotine patches, or nicotine gum or lozenges to help them quit. Still, certain foods can act as smoking triggers.
Here are a few foods that trigger smoking, so avoid them if you’re attempting to quit:
Nicotine is an addictive drug that stimulates the brain to produce dopamine, the feel-good hormone. Now, if you are a frequent user of cigarettes, your brain begins to react differently to alcohol. That is, alcohol raises the impact of nicotine on your brain. Hence, more of the dopamine is produced due to alcohol consumption. That’s why most smokers will smoke more when out on a drinking spree.
Have you noticed how smokers love coffee? Well, it is no coincidence. Research shows that the same inherited genetic variant CHRNA5 responsible for smoking induces caffeine cravings. Then, if you have more copies of this gene, your urge for caffeine is stronger. Worse still, caffeine tends to increase one’s absorption of nicotine. Hence, a coffee addict will absorb more nicotine into his bloodstream than other persons who do not take caffeine-based foods.
3. Spicy dishes
Did you know that smoking interferes with your sense of taste? Many smokers say that their sense of flavors enhances as they eat spicier foods. More so, do people who take hot spicy foods tend to develop tolerance to the hot spices? Then, having your nicotine gum and enjoying spicy foods is a dangerous combination. Due to the tolerance to warm spices, you risk taking too many spices, leading to medical complications. Such problems include gastritis, ulcers, and acid reflux.
4. Sugary treats
When one is on smoking cessation programs, he or she experiences a low sugar level as one of the withdrawal symptoms. In turn, sugar cravings kick in. Due to snacking on sugary treats, persons who are quitting smoking end up gaining lots of weight. Also, nicotine makes it hard for our bodies to process insulin. In turn, smokers are at a higher risk of developing diabetes.
5. Red meat
Dishes that include red meat enhance cigarette flavors. Hence, you’ll find yourself smoking more after enjoying your favorite red meat barbecue. To curb this urge, opt for fish, chicken, or pork dishes.
6. Low-calorie foods
Are you trying to lose weight? Then, you may have to postpone your plans to use a nicotine patch to quit smoking. A decrease in your daily calorie intake will increase your urge to smoke. But, remember, as you practice clean eating, your taste buds come alive again. Hence, use this opportunity to experiment with other healthy options.
Do you grab a puff with or after meals? That’s your smoking trigger right there. Then, sip some cranberry juice when you are at your favorite watering hole. Next, avoid coffee first before you quit smoking. That way, the withdrawal symptoms will be more manageable. Remember, eating the trigger foods before smoking is a habit that forms over time. Hence, stopping this habit takes time. Then, never quench your food cravings by smoking.