Nutrition and Smoking

March is National Nutrition Month.

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How can smoking affect nutrition? Many scientific studies have suggested that smoking can disrupt vitamin and mineral bioavailability or the extent to which the body’s systems can absorb certain vitamins and minerals from food (or other sources) and allow them to reach organs. Additionally, smoking can affect the taste buds, causing food to taste differently. One of the healthiest choices a smoker can make is to quit smoking in order to increase his or her nutrient intake and to just be healthier.

For many smokers, quitting can be a daunting task to think about because of the potential to gain weight. Since food tastes better and since the time not spent smoking may instead be spent eating, weight gain is a valid concern for people who are working towards the goal of quitting. The key to maintaining a healthy weight when quitting smoking is the same as it is for anyone else: eat healthy foods and be active! Snack on vegetables and low-sugar fruits. Maintain a balanced diet that includes foods from different food groups. Minimize or avoid junk food, sodas, and high-sugar juices. Engage in physical activities that are comfortable and not too strenuous. Quitting smoking increases lung capacity and strengthens the heart, making it easier to do physical activities that may have seemed impossible while still smoking.

Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website for more information on healthy nutrition or to learn more about National Nutrition Month.

Source: BBC GoodFood

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