Smoking is known to present multiple health risks. It increases your chances of developing lung complications, heart disease, and stroke. But did you know it can also impact nutrition?
In this study conducted by Griffith University, researchers found that the diet quality of smokers is relatively poor compared to that of non-smokers. In particular, smokers consume fewer antioxidant vitamins and minerals due to the oxidative stress from cigarettes.
To learn more about how exactly smoking impacts nutrition and what you can do about it, keep reading below:
How Smoking Impacts Nutrition
It Suppresses your Appetite
In a write-up on the complex relationship between smoking and appetite, Medical News Today notes that cigarettes increase your resting metabolic rate, allowing you to burn calories faster.
In the process, it suppresses your appetite by making your body think it’s already eaten.
Since you’re inclined to eat fewer meals, you’re also consuming fewer essential vitamins and minerals. This leads to lower energy levels and nutrient deficiencies that may affect your daily life.
It Reduces your Ability to Absorb Vitamins and Minerals
Apart from reducing your appetite, smoking affects how your body absorbs nutrients.
A meta-analysis conducted in 2021 revealed that smokers have lower levels of vitamin D compared to non-smokers because of worsened bone metabolism that prevents the body from absorbing it.
Certain cigarette ingredients can also directly impact nutrition. Cadmium combines with selenium, preventing it from being absorbed.
Meanwhile, the body metabolizes cyanide and vitamin B in a similar way—so if it tries to flush out the cyanide, any vitamin B you consume may be expelled along with it.
What you can do to Reduce this Impact
Since nutritional deficiencies can cause multiple health issues down the line, the best way to address this problem is to stop using cigarettes altogether.
Here’s how you can do just that while recovering optimal nutrition in the process.
Though immediately ceasing cigarette use can help you more quickly achieve better nutrition, it also puts you at a higher risk of relapse by subjecting you to withdrawal symptoms like irritation, insomnia, and anxiety. It may thus be more sustainable to quit gradually using smokeless nicotine products.
If you’re a light smoker, try nicotine gum. Nicorette is one popular and widely available brand you can get, and this guide adds that it lasts up to 30 minutes with 4 mg of nicotine per piece, perfect for staving immediate withdrawal symptoms.
If you smoke more heavily, you may want to try nicotine pouches instead: they last for up to an hour and can combat more intense withdrawals if you get heavy-duty pouches from White Fox.
This catalog of the brand’s offerings shows strengths of up to 30 mg per pouch, so heavier smokers can rest assured they won’t run into shortages of nicotine intensity or longevity.
Be sure to lower the strengths you consume over time to kick the habit successfully.
Start Taking Supplements
Once you start quitting smoking, your body will slowly recover and absorb enough nutrients more effectively.
If you want to help it along and speed up nutrition recovery, consider doing more than just eating a balanced diet.
Go a step further by also taking supplements to boost the number of vitamins and minerals you consume with your meals. This is especially important for nutrients you may not get in your usual fare.
For example, vegans may be less likely to get vitamin D from sources like dairy and eggs. Our post recommends combatting this by taking supplements with at least 200 IU of vitamin D daily. You can consider those from Pure Encapsulation, which delivers at least 10,000 IU.
If you keep to a pretty balanced diet, though, you can instead opt to cover all your bases using multivitamins like Thorne Research’s Basic Nutrients 2/Day. This contains vitamins and minerals, including vitamins B, C, D, and selenium—all of which your body can absorb more easily after you start quitting smoking.
There’s no doubt that smoking negatively impacts your nutrition and overall health, leading to the development of diseases.
To regain your best self, improve your nutrition by quitting the habit and taking necessary supplements.