Increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables may help smokers quit, a new study suggests.
Researchers asked 1,000 adults smokers about their smoking and eating habits, and called them 14 months later to follow up.
They found smokers who ate the most fruits and vegetables were three times as likely to have stopped smoking for a month, compared with smokers who consumed the least, according to CBS News.
Smokers who ate the most fruits and vegetables also smoked fewer cigarettes per day, waited longer to smoke their first cigarette each day, and scored lower on a test of nicotine dependence.
“We may have identified a new tool that can help people quit smoking,” study author Jeffrey P. Haibach of the University of Buffalo said in a news release. “Granted, this is just an observational study, but improving one’s diet may facilitate quitting.”
He noted that fruits and vegetables may help smokers quit because of their high fiber content, which make people feel fuller. Smokers who feel full may have less of a need to smoke, since they sometimes confuse hunger with an urge to light up, he added. “Foods like fruit and vegetables may actually worsen the taste of cigarettes,” he said.
The findings appear in Nicotine and Tobacco Research.