Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Brief Natruropathic Perspective

Dear Natural Choice Journal

I have smoked for many years and have tried to quit a number of times. Is there anything that you would suggest that I can do to make it easier or to help me quit smoking? .

Patricia Jackson, Halifax, N.S.

Response from Nutritional Consultant, Heather Scott, R.N.C.P.

Smoking causes nutritional deficiencies so your body will require additional help during this time. Since smoking affects blood sugar levels, do not be surprised if your appetite increases. That is normal and to be expected. Eat regular meals to maintain an even blood sugar level making sure to balance proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Be sure to eat a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables daily, in particular asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, sweet potatoes, turnips apples berries, cantaloupe, cherries and grapes. Eat plenty of whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and high quality protein such as eggs, fish and chicken.

It is imperative that you avoid all junk foods, processed and refined foods, sugar and white flour products. A large component of cigarettes is sugar, so you may experience strong sugar cravings. L-glutamine is helpful with sugar and alcohol cravings. Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells and lungs. Vitamins B complex, C, E and A are all important nutrients and antioxidants.

Many people have found live juice fasting a successful way to stop smoking. A live juice fast can quickly remove nicotine and other damaging chemicals from the body. A five-day fast is particularly effective.

Heather Scott, RNCP practices in Wallace, N.S., (902) 257-2428

Response from Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Matt Targett, N.D.

Smoking is a hard habit to overcome, and your best chance at beating it is to develop a plan. A naturopath can help with this plan by helping to detoxify the body of nicotine, which will help reduce the physical withdrawal symptoms. This is accomplished through a detoxifying diet or juice fast with the addition of cleansing herbs such as milk thistle and dandelion. Other herbs such as lobelia, valerian and oats will calm the nervous system to further help with withdrawal. Epsom salt baths are another useful trick to help rid the body of nicotine. Keeping lots of healthy snacks around, such as fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts, will also help ease the process. Lastly, acupuncture has been found to be a valuable method for helping people deal with addictions. Tiny needles can even be placed in the ears and left in all week, which a person can press and stimulate themselves to help overcome cravings.

Dr. Matt Targett, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor working in Summerside, PEI (902) 436-2674.



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