Smokers diet



Recommended diet for people who smoke

An antioxidant diet is the best way to balance the body health of a person who habitually smokes. Tobacco is one of the major toxins responsible for the production of free radicals that are responsible for many degenerative diseases, including cancer.

Similarly these radicals attack the body and are factors that help the appearance of premature aging. (See more information on antioxidants in the listing below)

It has been found that a proper diet, rich in natural food, especially fruits and vegetables can help improve the overall health of the smoker. On the other hand, this diet can help the smoker to quit smoking, because it strengthens the body and diminishes the negative withdrawal symptoms of leaving tobacco.

This diet should particularly contain a great amount of vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as zinc and selenium.


Citrus types
Citrus fruits are very rich in vitamin C which is very interesting in the diet for smokers

Vitamin C for smokers: An intake of foods rich in vitamin C helps replenish the deficiency of this vitamin that tobacco causes in the body. Among the main foods rich in this vitamin, we have peppers, one of the world’s plants that has more quantity, after barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra L) or dog rose (Rosa canina). Also the citruses are very high in it (oranges, lemons, grapefruits, etc.)

Other foods high in vitamin C are: cauliflower, radishes, brussels sprouts , spinach, bananas, apples, melons, watermelons, carrots, pineapples, pears, papayas, barley, garlic, berries, celery, peas, strawberries, grapes, figs, beans, cranberries, potatoes, avocados, soybeans, custard apples, mangoes, pomegranates, coconuts, etc.

Vitamin A for smokers: It helps repair free radicals that smoking causes. It can be obtained through carotenoids, especially beta-carotene, found in many orange, red or yellow plant foods, especially purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.), spinach (Spinacia oleracea L); carrot (Daucus carota L), watercress (Nasturtium officinale R. BR), borage (Borago officinalis L.), basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), pumpkin (Curcubita pepo L.), tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum MILLER) coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.), asparagus (Asparagus officinalis L.), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale Weber)

Swiss chard, carrots, squash, peppers, watermelons, melons, sprouts, bananas, apples, plums, oranges, raspberries, currants, mangoes or beans also contain a lot of vitamin A.

Zinc for smokers: Zinc is very useful to fight respiratory problems, like colds, to which the smokers are very prone. Zinc-high foods are: celery, asparagus, borage, figs, potatoes, eggplants, etc

Selenium for smokers: Necessary for the formation of glutathione, an antioxidant that may help against free radicals that tobacco causes, and it is also useful in preventing heart disease to which smokers are likely to suffer. Foods rich in selenium include: oats and whole grainrice.


High- fat foods for smokers: Nutrition of smokers should include small amounts of high- fat foods, such as fatty meats, butter, margarine, whole milk or dairy products.

Precooked and packaged foods usually contain lots of fat, so they are not recommended.

It is important for fats not to be fried or reheated. Very roasted, grilled or broiled food, generates a series of toxins that could be added to those produces by tobacco.

Hydrogenated fats (trans fatty acids), such as margarine, should not be eaten because they are very thick fats. They raise levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and lower levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

Simple carbohydrates: Simple carbohydrates should be diminished in the smoker diet and specially in those trying to quit smoking. There is a tendency to gain weight in people leaving the tobacco habit, so a diet rich in simple carbohydrates could favor it.

Within simple carbohydrates we would have foods such as sugar,, bakery products, products made with refined flour, sweets, ice cream, etc.

Replace this type of carbohydrates for complex carbohydrates. Within this group there are the whole vegetal foods, such as whole grain cereals (rice, wheat, oats, maize, etc) and their derivatives (whole grain bread, oatmeal, cornmeal, etc); and vegetables (chard, lettuce, spinach, watercress, etc) and the legumes (lentils, soybean, string beans,chick-peas, etc)

Caffeine or other stimulant containing food and beverages: All stimulant beverages and foods should be minimized, since they can increase anxiety in people who want to quit smoking.

Other advice to take into account in the smoker diet

– To speed up your metabolism and ” burn” your food intake better, eat five times a day. Do not eat too much in each meal.

– Do not add too much salt to your food. Salty food can favour weight gain. (Foods high in sodium)

– Make regular exercise according to your possibilities.

– Some herbal remedies can help you to quit smoking

punto rojo More information on How to give up smoking

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

22 April, 2022

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