By Edi Csanalosi, Corporate Nutritionist

I’m sure the high health risks of smoking isn’t news to anyone, but the positive effects of quitting and our body’s amazing healing ability might actually surprise you and hopefully will inspire you to quit. Now.

This wonderful quality of the human body has been highlighted in a recent study of over a million women born around 1940’s. For this generation, smoking was common and at its most popular when they became adults. They were followed until January 2011 and the study found that smokers lost at least 10 years of lifespan compared to non-smokers.

Quitting smoking before age 40 could restore up to 90% of those 10 years, and up to 97% by quitting before age 30 (1).

The benefits start as soon as you stop

Your health will improve within just a few hours of giving up smoking. This recovery timetable shows you what to expect.

Time Benefit
After 20 minutes Your blood pressure* and pulse return to normal.
After 8 hours Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood are reduced by half – oxygen levels begin to return to normal.
After 24 hours Carbon monoxide is eliminated from the body. Your lungs start to clear our debris.
After 48 hours There is no nicotine in your body. Your sense of smell and taste improve.
After 72 hours Breathing should become easier and your energy levels are greater.
2 – 12 weeks Your blood circulation around your body improves.
2 – 9 months Your lung function increases by up to 10%, making breathing easier.
5 years Your risk of having a heart attack is half of someone who still smokes
From 10 years Your risk of smoking-related lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker. Your risk of a heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked.

*Based on the assumption that you don’t already have high blood pressure. Taken from information on smokefree.nhs.uk(2)

Here are my tips to help you quit smoking now:

  • What makes you want to smoke? Identify your triggers and situations where not smoking is more challenging. This will help you to plan and prepare yourself.
  • Support – family, friends, work colleagues, school friends can all help you with support and encouragement. It is important to tell them what you are doing and to explain how vital their encouragement is.
  • Focus on the positive – focus on thoughts that make you pleased you are no longer a smoker. See this move as liberation, and not a sacrifice.
  • Protect yourself from smokers – if you can, reduce your exposure to smokers as much as possible. If there are people in your household who smoke, talk to them and try to come to some arrangement, at least until you have become more confident about your long-term non-smoking prospects.
  • Keep reading your list – regularly read the list of reasons why you wanted to give up smoking. Remind yourself how important it was for you then, and how important it will always be.
  • Alcohol – until you are completely smoke free, avoid drinking alcohol if you can.
  • Give yourself treats – when you reach certain milestones, treat yourself. What you are accomplishing i
    s not easy and you deserve a reward. You could put money you would have spent on cigarettes in a special place – after a while you may be able to buy yourself a nice treat.
  • Activities – find things to do to relieve stress. Exercise, apart from being good for health, also helps relieve stress. An exercise program will also encourage you to remain smoke-free as you see your fitness levels improve. Some people who started an exercise program just before they quit were shocked at how quickly their fitness levels improved. If your exercise equipment can measure your pulse rate (heartbeat) you will soon find that you can achieve the same levels of exertion at lower heartbeats.
  • Deep breathing – deep breathing is an integral part of smoking when the smoker is inhaling smoke. When you have a craving breathe deeply and visualize how your lungs are filling with fresh, clean air. Remind yourself why you quit and the benefits you are gaining.
  • Delay – if you reach crisis point and feel you are about to light up, put it off. Give yourself at least 10 minutes. This 10 minute break will probably give you time to move beyond the craving. Cravings come, but they also go.

There is no such thing as just one cigarette or just one puff. Remember that you are not alone – hundreds of millions of people have gone through, are going through, and will go through what you are experiencing now. (3)

If you’re currently a smoker and are interested to find out about your arterial health, speak to us about our Arterial Health and Biological Age Assessment Test.

For more details on group assessments at your workplace, you can find more information here, or get in touch and we can talk you through the options. E: edi@superwellness.co.uk.

For an extended look at alcohol-induced heart damage, click here to read the Ultimate Guide to Alcohol-Induced Heart Damage written by Paul at Rehab Recovery.

Edina Csanalosi Associate and Registered Nutritional Therapist

Edi is a naturopathic Nutritional Therapist and Functional Medicine Practitioner running a busy clinic in the City of London. Her mission is to help clients get to the root cause of their health issues. Edi believes in the healing power of food, herbs, thoughts, and deeds. She believes that we have the power within to make decisions, and take actions that will help us to draw forth a life state reflected by the maximum expression of our health, vitality and happiness.

During a 10 year career in banking Edi herself experienced adrenal fatigue and burn out, and so she is well aware of the challenges that come with today’s fast paced city work life.

Passionate about helping city employees in demanding, success-driven roles to perform at their best using natural means Edi takes a holistic approach to help people achieve great work life balance, to become healthy again, and to be and feel their best. Edi is currently studying at the Institute of Functional Medicine to be a fully certified functional medicine practitioner.

References:

1 – Pirie, Kirstin et al. “The 21st century hazards of smoking and benefits of stopping: a prospective study of one million women in the UK”, The Lancet , Volume 381 , Issue 9861 , 133 – 141

2 – Smokefree NHS Website (http://www.nhs.uk/smokefree) (accessed 01/06/2016)

3 – Nordqvist, Christian. “What is nicotine dependence? What are the dangers of smoking?.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 8 Dec. 2015. Web.

7 Jun. 2016. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/181299.php>

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