Nutrition going up in smoke? Here's how cigarettes destroy your vitamins.

February 17, 2020

Find out how cigarettes are killing your vitamins. Here are 8 ways in which cigarette smoking is killing the vital vitamins in your body & what you can do to avoid it.

The terrible impact of cigarette smoking on health is well known to all. The addiction is associated with oxidative stress and increased risk of other chronic diseases. The condensed tar and other particles emitted in smoke have a long-term impact on degenerating the smokers body.

What is little known however is that smoking not only drains the body of crucial vitamins and minerals but also blocks their absorption.

Here are 8 ways in which cigarette smoking is killing those vital Vitamins. And what you can do to avoid it.

How are cigarettes killing my Vitamins?

1. Lowering the guards Smoking lowers the levels of Vitamin C and B- Carotene in plasma. These vitamins and Selenium act as anti-oxidants that keep up the cellular defence against reactive oxygen species.

2. The killer Cadmium The Cadmium, naturally found in tobacco, reduces the availability of Selenium and Zinc in the body required for optimum anti-oxidation.

3. Inadequate Vitamin E- This principle lipid-soluble- antioxidant is often found in lowered amounts in the tissues of smokers.

Along with these obvious impacts of smoking, the nutritional status in smokers may be further compromised by inadequate diet. Data from the Second National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey shows that smokers are less likely to consume fruits and vegetables; particularly those in high Vitamin C and Carotenes.

Im trying to quit smoking. But how can I uptake my nutrition?

4. Get more of Vitamin C Vitamin C is a natural and powerful antioxidant. It is often found in lower amounts in the smokers body. This deficiency can lead to complications like heart diseases or even stroke. Eat a lot of Vitamin C rich foods like Guavas, Indian Gooseberries, bell peppers, kiwifruit, Strawberries, Oranges, Papayas, Broccoli, Tomatoes and more.

Must read about -Keep heart disease at bay with a healthy diet

5. Increase Vitamin E- Smokers who abstained from smoking for a week and increased their intake of Vitamin E showed improved elasticity and functioning of blood vessels. This could lower the risk of heart diseases in the future. Consume more of Nuts, vegetable oil, Sunflower seeds, almonds, eggs and leafy vegetables.

6. Stock up on Selenium- Another powerful anti-oxidant, Selenium helps form Glutathione and helps fight against free radicals and reduce the risk of heart diseases. Make place in your diet for Chia seeds, mushrooms, sunflower, sesame, flaxseeds, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, eggs and Sardines.

7. Get a boost of B-Carotene- Beta Carotene not only boosts the immune system, it also provides some amount of protection against Cancer. The natural sources of B-Carotene are Carrot, Spinach, Sweet potatoes, Spinach, Tomatoes, Papaya, Apricots, Pumpkins and Bell peppers.

Must read about -Preventing Cancer through Diet and Lifestyle

8. Keep up with Calcium In addition to the heart and lungs, studied have shown that smoking can increase the rate of bone loss that happens naturally with age. Nicotine removes calcium from our body- crucial for the health of bones. Take Calcium-rich foods like milk and milk products, green leafy vegetables, ragi, fish, lentils, almonds, egg, gingelly seeds and others.

Visit here to book a Bone Density Test

While cigarette smoking is one of the most difficult addictions to curb, abstinence and the right diet helps a lot in keeping the complications away.

Article by Ms. Chandana Kakamanu, M.Sc. - Dietetics / Nutrition
Consultant Dietitian, CallHealth

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