If there’s one area that both mainstream and alternative medicine agree on, it’s that using tobacco is one of the worst things you can do to your health. It has never been more important to stop, as new research has unveiled yet another health risk attached to smoking.
According to the UK charity, The Stroke Association, smokers are two to three times more likely to suffer a stroke – which has a greater disability impact than any other medical condition. And the risk increases considerably for smokers who also suffer from high blood pressure – they’re 20 times more likely to have a stroke than non-smokers with normal blood pressure.
Margaret Goose, Chief Executive of The Stroke Association, says: ‘Many people are aware of the links between smoking and cancer; however, they may not realise that by smoking they also dramatically increase their chances of having a stroke’… adding, ‘Research has shown that stopping smoking reduces your risk of having a stroke to levels approaching that of a non-smoker after just two years’.
That said, stopping smoking is much easier said than done, as nicotine is a highly addictive substance. Mainstream medicine isn’t much help either, with many doctors recommending nicotine-laced inhalers, gum and patches, which merely prolong the withdrawal. How can you expect to stop this awful habit by feeding your body more of the same drug you’re trying to eliminate? It just doesn’t work that way… or not for the majority of people anyway.
Worse still, antidepressants with all their attendant side effects are sometimes prescribed by doctors to help smokers stop too, not to mention the controversial anti-smoking drug Zyban, which has been linked to a number of deaths.
The good news is that there are natural measures you can start taking right now to help you successfully stop smoking permanently and regain your health.
A low carb diet can help you beat your addiction without putting on weight
Following a low carbohydrate diet is excellent if you’re trying to stop smoking for two reasons. One, it helps control your blood sugar levels – this is important for overcoming cravings and addictions, which are aggravated by unstable blood sugar levels. Two, it helps prevent weight gain – one of the major concerns of many people who want to stop smoking.
In addition to cutting your carbohydrate intake you should aim to get plenty of exercise, which helps produce feel-good endorphins in your brain and eliminates toxins – including nicotine – from your system. In terms of the latter, you can speed this process along by drinking at least two litres of water a day to flush harmful toxins out of your body and visit a sauna to help sweat them out.
Nutritional supplements help support your system and can make quitting easier
Take 1,000mg of vitamin C and 100mcg of chromium picolinate each day. Vitamin C supports your adrenal glands when you stop smoking, which helps your body cope with stress. As an antioxidant, vitamin C also fights harmful free radicals – produced by smoking – in your body, and protects your tissues. Ensuring an adequate intake of the important trace mineral chromium is also beneficial, as it helps keep your blood sugar levels stable.
In addition take 50mg of niacin three times a day with your meals to help keep cravings at bay. It also helps your circulation, which can become constricted with nicotine. You should be aware that niacin can cause blushing when you first take it. This usually occurs 15 to 30 minutes after taking the vitamin and lasts for about 15 minutes.
If you’ve tried unsuccessfully to stop smoking in the past or enjoy smoking because it gives you a mental lift, you may be suffering from depression. Since nicotine is a stimulant, it’s possible that you’re responding to the temporary lift you get from nicotine. You may find that taking a natural antidepressant such as 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) could make it easier to stop smoking, because you’d no longer be dependent on nicotine to relieve your depression. 5-HTP is an amino acid that is converted to serotonin in your body. Serotonin is an important brain chemical that controls mood and makes you feel more positive. Take 200mg of 5-HTP each day.
Immediate To Long-Term Benefits You’ll Enjoy When You Stop Smoking
According to the US organisation Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the following benefits occur when you stop smoking:
Time since quitting/Beneficial health changes that take place
20 minutes Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal
8 hours Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your blood reduce by half, oxygen levels return to normal.
24 hours Carbon monoxide is eliminated from your body and lungs start to clear out mucous and other smoking debris.
48 hours There is no nicotine left in your body and your ability to taste and smell is greatly improved.
72 hours Breathing becomes easier. Your bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.
3-9 months Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function is increased by up to 10%.
2 years Your risk of a stroke is lowered to that of a non-smoker according to The Stroke Association.
10 years Your risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.
15 years Your risk of a heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.
By following the simple steps outlined above you can achieve your goal of being free of the nicotine trap once and for all and extend your life too, allowing you to spend more time with your family and friends. Don’t underestimate the amount of support and help you can draw from them in your battle against tobacco. The emotional and psychological support they offer may give you the edge you need to succeed.
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Disclaimer: Bear in mind the material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.