We know fruits and vegetables have a plethora of health benefits, but do they have the power to help you kick your cigarette habit? A new study published May 21 in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research by University at Buffalo suggests they do.
Researchers surveyed 1,000 U.S. smokers ages 25 years and older through telephone interviews and asked them 14 months later if they had kept their hands off the tobacco during the previous month. Smokers who chowed down on the most produce were three times more likely to have not smoked for 30 days than those who ate fewer fruits and veggies, no matter the participants’ age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, household income or whether or not the rest of their lifestyle was healthy.
And that’s not all. The study also found that eating more fruits and vegetables was associated with smoking fewer cigarettes per day, waiting longer to take the day’s first drag and a lower score on a nicotine-dependence test.
Researchers suggested a few possible explanations for the link, including that the high fiber content in fruits and vegetables could make people feel more full, preventing them from making the common mistake of confusing hunger with a cigarette craving. Also, unlike meats, caffeinated drinks and alcohol, fruits and veggies do not enhance the taste of tobacco.
The study noted that more research is needed to further explore these findings since this was the first longitudinal study on the relationship between smoking cessation and the consumption of fruits and vegetables.