Experts explain the best foods to eat to beat nicotine cravings

Experts have revealed foods that help you stop smoking. (Image: Getty)

Experts have unveiled a list of unexpected foods that can help you combat your nicotine cravings this summer, all while maintaining a healthy diet.

If you’re aiming to overhaul your health and fitness regime this season, kicking unhealthy habits could be a significant part of the plan.

However, as temperatures rise and social gatherings become more frequent, sticking to such resolutions can prove challenging.

So if you’re prone to enjoying a cigarette with your pint at the pub but are keen to kick the habit, there are several foods that can not only help curb your cravings but also replace the ritual of smoking.

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green apple, carrots and celery

Fruits can help you kick smoking, experts say. (Image: Getty Images)

Specialists from Go Smoke Free have compiled a list of the top foods to help suppress your nicotine cravings, particularly if you’re planning to quit smoking this year.

Consuming the right food is crucial for optimal health, so these foods can easily be incorporated into your meals and snacks.

The NHS states that being smoke-free for a year reduces your risk of heart attack by half compared to a smoker’s.

After a decade, your risk of developing lung cancer will have halved in comparison to a smoker, reports Wales Online.

bowl filled with fresh organic chopped celery.

Celery is one of the healthy foods that help stop nicotine addictions, experts say (Image: Getty)

Apples, carrots and celery

One method to resist the urge to smoke is to keep your hands and mouth busy, but that doesn’t mean reaching for a chocolate bar. Snacking on sticks of fruits and vegetables like apples, celery or carrots can mimic the repetitive action of raising your hand to your mouth, while also keeping your mouth engaged.

A 2007 study discovered that fruits and vegetables can actually make cigarettes taste worse, suggesting that if you do light up after eating them, the experience will be less enjoyable. Having cut-up fruit and veg on hand could mimic the action of reaching for a cigarette when cravings hit.

Popcorn

Popcorn can actually have health benefits, experts say. (Image: Getty)

Milk, cheese and yoghurt

If you’re still in the process of cutting down your daily cigarette intake, adding dairy products to your diet could assist. Lighting up after consuming dairy can leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

While research has yet to pinpoint the exact cause, it’s believed there may be a reaction between lactose in dairy and tobacco smoke. Milk is most commonly associated with this effect, but if milk isn’t your thing, cheese and yoghurt can also work.

Popcorn

Popcorn is another low-calorie snack that can keep your hands and mouth occupied when you’re craving a cigarette. Many store-bought popcorn options contain oil, butter or sugar, which can ramp up the calorie count, but if you have an air fryer, you can whip up a lower-calorie version at home.

Ginseng

Likewise, ginseng can help to diminish the allure of a cigarette. Research indicates that this ingredient can mitigate the effects of nicotine.

Ginseng tea and Dry Ginseng Roots

Ginseng has been identified by experts as a food that helps stop smoking (Image: Getty Images)

By doing so, it reduces the satisfaction derived from smoking, thereby aiding individuals in their quest to quit.

If you’re not a fan of ginseng tea, you can incorporate ginseng powder into your smoothies, or even use the root vegetable in your meals.

High fibre wholegrain foods

A typical side effect post your final cigarette is a significant increase in appetite for a brief period. By including high fibre foods like wholegrain bread and cereals in your diet, you can keep cravings at bay by staying fuller for longer.

Fresh or frozen fruit

Upon quitting smoking, it’s normal to experience food cravings and an increased appetite, with many developing a sweeter tooth than usual. While it’s tempting to reach for a chocolate bar or packet of sweets, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced diet to avoid becoming dependent on these treats.

By replacing sugary foods with fresh or frozen fruits such as grapes, strawberries, and oranges, you can manage your sugar cravings.

2 pairs of white rectangular pieces of chewing gum

Sugar-free gum could help quit nicotine. (Image: Getty)

Sugar-free gum or mints

Chewing on sugar-free gum or mints can help curb cigarette cravings, as it keeps you occupied and prevents your mouth from feeling empty. However, it’s crucial to choose the sugar-free option, as sugar can intensify your cigarette cravings, warns the American Cancer Society.

A spokesperson from Go Smoke Free said: “While stopping smoking is never going to be easy and often takes a lot of determination, making small changes to your day, such as having snacks of fruit and vegetables or having a glass of milk, can really help ease the process.”

“It can also be beneficial to avoid certain food and drink that may trigger a craving. For example, coffee can set you off yearning for a cigarette, as the two are often consumed together.”

“However, it may not be wise to try cut the two from your life at the same time, as the increased difficulty of giving up them both may make it too hard to achieve. Instead, try make sure you have some snacks of fruit or vegetables prepared for after your coffee to curb the craving.”

If you’re aiming to quit smoking or finding it hard to give up, the NHS provides services to assist you. Its Better Health website also offers advice on various ways to become smoke-free.

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