Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to quit smoking. After 30, 40, or more years of smoking you are finally ready to have ALL the chemicals from cigarettes out of your body. But you don’t just want all those chemicals out for good; you want them out IMMEDIATELY.
While nicotine—the primary addictive ingredient in cigarettes— is cleared from your body quickly (about 24 hours), the 7,000 other chemicals found in cigarette smoke can make the detoxification timeline more complicated.
Headaches, dizziness, coughing, constipation, mood swings—all very common with withdrawal—can make the detoxification process downright unpleasant. Finding ways to get through this process more effectively has many quitters looking for a quick fix. But is there really anything you can do to make your body heal faster?
Ultimately, the only effective antidote for detoxification is TIME. Your body has the amazing ability to heal. In fact, after that last cigarette, your body immediately begins healing from the chemicals in cigarettes. You can mainly thank your kidneys and liver for this, both of which work tirelessly 24/7, 365 days a year to filter your blood.
To support your body in its natural healing process, here are some things you cando:
- Eat a healthy diet. While there is no specific food to help with detoxification, certain foods—fruits and veggies, whole grains and other healthy foods—have been shown to help lessen cravings.
- Exercise. Being physically active is a natural metabolism booster and helps fight cravings and withdrawal symptoms by providing a distraction, helping improve mood, and staving off potential post-quit weight gain.
- Get enough sleep. While the “perfect” amount of sleep may be different for everyone, sleep is important because it’s a time when your body repairs itself. Aim for 6-8 hours a night.
- Drink water. Water is crucial to our survival. Staying well-hydrated while quitting can help your body stay healthy.
- Take a multivitamin. Smoking can deplete certain vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C. Taking a multivitamin replenishes those lost from smoking.
While these tips may not necessarily speed the detoxification process, they certainly can make the process more manageable!
Still wondering if there is anything else you can do? While there is no hard, scientific data to support use of herbal supplements in expediting the quitting process, lobelia, ginseng, and St. John’s Wort may have some potential. But beware: natural does not necessarily mean safe. Herbal supplement can potentially interact poorly with medications you may already be taking, plus carry their own risk for use. Consult your physician first before taking an herbal supplement!
Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist