Quit Smoking

Eat to quit  - how your diet can help you quit smoking

Harley street clinic London nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston explains some of the secrets of the succes of her City smoking cessation groups helping stressed out stock brokers to give up giving up and become smoke free. 

give up smoking, quit become smoke free with natural nutrition therapy

Why give up?

Giving up smoking is possibly one of the post important and positive decisions you will make about your health. Tobacco contains over 4,000 chemicals, 60 of which are known or suspected carcinogens (ASH 2006). Smoking is a probable cause for 25 diseases leading to 5 millions deaths a year world wide (WHO 2003). This dangerous habit can lead you to be 5 times more likely to have a heart attack in your 30’s and 40’s and lung cancer alone kills 20,000 people in the UK every year. Smoking by parents has been kinked to cot death and a 72% increased risk of infant respiratory disease (Ash 2006). Smoking also leaves you susceptible to colds and viruses. On a day to day basis smoking can imbalance blood sugar levels leading to mood swings, weight gain and hormonal imbalances. It hinders digestive health and nutrient absorption and contributes to low energy, poor skin and long-term health problems. 

How diet can help

The good news is that you can use your diet to support your body give up the physiological addiction and also replace all the lost nutrients, quickly setting yourself up for optimal health.

5 easy steps to help you quit – your action plan

1.       Balance your blood sugar levels

2.       Support your stress hormones

3.       Reduce acidity

4.       Support your mood

5.       Increase your nutrient status


  1. Balance your blood sugar levels


The body and brain needs a consistent supply of fuel in order to function and the preferred fuel is the glucose the digestive system releases from carbohydrates. Imbalances in the level of glucose in the blood leads to peaks and troughs in energy levels. The highs inevitably lead to lows and in the lows energy drops, cravings take hold and the excess glucose may be turned into body fat. You are also more prone to headaches, acne, mood swings and anxiety.


The blood sugar peaks and troughs are started by sweet or refined white carbs such as white bread, pasta and rice and also by stimulants such as nicotine in cigarettes, caffeine and stress hormones. Stimulants take glucose out of body stores and send a rush of this sugar into the blood which, if not burned off, may then be stored as fat. Blood sugar balance can be maintained by sticking to whole grain carbs, which contain fibre, and having protein every time you eat as fibre and protein slow digestion giving you consistent fuel and energy.



·      Wholegrain carbs 

·      Protein  - have with each meal

·      Small regular meals and snacks



·      Blood sugar balancing nutrient supplement – ask Oasis staff




·      Refined carbs and sugar

·      Undiluted fruit juice

·      Stimulants e.g. caffeine and alcohol

·      Missing meals



  1. Support your stress hormones

icotine in cigarettes acts as a stimulant and increases levels of stress hormones and blood sugar. If your lifestyle is also stressful this can lead to imbalances in stress hormones and exhaust your adrenal glands, which make the stress hormones, leading to fatigue and low motivation. When you give up smoking it is common to feel tired and stressed as these hormones start to adjust and rebalance.  You may benefit from an Adrenal Stress Test and adrenal support to normalise your stress hormones. Ask for details of the Nutrition Clinic at Oasis or see for more information.


Adrenal stress can also impact on the thyroid gland as it overworks to calm down your stressed body. Sub-optimal thyroid function can lead to reduced metabolic rate, fatigue, weight gain, and hair, skin and nail problems.



·      Balance your blood sugar levels

·      Liquorice as it supports the adrenal glands


·      Adrenal stress test




·      Stress where possible

·      Sugar and refined carbs

·      Stimulants e.g. caffeine and alcohol



  1. Alkalise your Diet


A diet high in acid-forming foods such as meat and dairy can deplete the body of vital minerals as they are used to buffer the acidity and keep the body pH balanced. Minerals such as magnesium are needed to balance the blood sugar levels, support the adrenal glands and prevent cravings.



·         Alkali forming foods: fruit, vegetables, millet, quinoa


·      Acid forming foods: red meat and dairy



4.     Support your Mood


Nicotine increases levels of the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin and of the motivating hormones dopamine and nor-adrenalin. When you quit smoking you can have a drop in mood and feel fatigued as these hormones are no longer artificially stimulated.

Balancing your blood sugar levels and stress hormones can play a key role in keeping your mood stable, preventing cravings and strengthening your resolve. In addition to this, supporting your neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) function may also help to improve your mood.



·      Vegetable based protein from soya, tofu, nuts, seeds, beans and pulses

·      Essential fats from nuts, seeds, hemp or flax oil



·      Rhodiola supplement – ask Oasis staff



·      Protein attached to saturated fats: red meat and dairy

·      Hydrogenated fats

·      Stimulants e.g. caffeine and alcohol

·      Neurotoxins e.g. artificial food additives and sweeteners



5.     Increase Your Nutrient Status


Smoking is likely to have depleted your nutrient status. To help replace these nutrients, detox your body and support your immune system, include the following.



·      A rainbow coloured variety of fruit and vegetables, ideally organic

·      Dark green leafy veg e.g. kale, cabbage, Swiss chard

·      Vegetable juices, try green juices in the evening to aid sleep

·      Super-foods such as seed and bean sprouts and goji berries

·      Ginger to aid toxin clearance

·      2 litres of filtered or mineral water a day



·      A multi nutrient supplement or ‘greens’ powder  - ask your local health store or ring Nutrilink and Quote BISHY 1 PGreens Shake


Further support

Yvonne Bishop-Weston has a nutrition clinic at Oasis Yoga and Health on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Please see or call 0845 094 1484 for details.