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Can Fruits and Veggies Help You Quit Smoking?

Eating more of these healthy foods could decrease smokers' dependency on nicotine, says a new study.

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Eating healthy is for quitters. Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda

06/07/12

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Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet may help smokers kick the habit, according to new research. The University of Buffalo study, published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, randomly surveyed 1,000 smokers over 25 from around the US and followed up with the participants 14 month later. "Other studies have taken a snapshot approach, asking smokers and nonsmokers about their diets," says researcher Gary A. Giovino, PhD. "We knew from our previous work that people who were abstinent from cigarettes for less than six months consumed more fruits and vegetables than those who still smoked. What we didn't know was whether recent quitters increased their fruit and vegetable consumption or if smokers who ate more fruits and vegetables were more likely to quit." The study finds smokers who ate lots of fruits and veggies were three times more likely to have given up tobacco for at least 30 days compared to those whose consumption was minimum. The results also showed that those who ate high amounts of these healthy foods smoked fewer cigarettes per day and even scored lower on a test for dependence to nicotine. Exactly how fruits and veggies affect quitting smoking isn't yet clear, but researchers have a few ideas: "Foods like fruit and vegetables may actually worsen the taste of cigarettes," says Jeffrey P. Haibach, MPH. "It is also possible that fruits and vegetables give people more of a feeling of satiety or fullness so that they feel less of a need to smoke, since smokers sometimes confuse hunger with an urge to smoke.”

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