Yes, bananas do help quit smoking because they contain high levels of Vitamin C, B6, B12, A1 as well as potassium and magnesium which assist the body to cope and deal with the effects of quit smoking.
When I wrote about foods that can help smoking cessation, I mentioned bananas and the role they play in giving up the smoking habit but in this article, I hope to do a more thorough explanation on the exact role(s) bananas play in the stop smoking process and why you should use them to quit smoking.
What are Bananas?
They are one of the fruits known to help quit smoking. They come in a variety of sizes but most of them are curved in shape; have a fibre-rich, spongy flesh and yellow, purple or red skin when ripe. They grow in bunches and are cultivated throughout the tropics, especially Africa and Asia.
Bananas are made up of three simple sugars – fructose, glucose and sucrose which work to boost body energy instantly. Experts say consuming two pieces of bananas can provide sufficient energy for a tiring one and a half hours exercise. It’s not surprising therefore that the world’s leading athletes consume bananas. In fact, if you’ve watched a tennis match before, you’d realize that tennis players consume bananas in between playing breaks to replace lost energy and sustain playing. Have you ever asked yourself why athletes consume bananas out of all the fruits available? Now, you know.
How Exactly Do Bananas Help the Smoking Cessation Journey?
Bananas help quit smoking by battling the side effects of nicotine withdrawal while keeping you energized and satisfied.
Smoking cessation probably means a big change in your life, prompting a lot of stress, strong cravings for nicotine (which may never be satisfied, leading to more stress in the first few weeks of quitting) and anxiety. Other side effects of smoking cessation include nausea, irritability, misplaced aggression or agitation, depression, headaches, low energy levels, etc. This is really a difficult period for quitters as their brain and body screams (or is it craves?) for its usual dose of nicotine but smart quitters know all they need is to avoid giving in.
Bananas can help the body cope through this difficult period as it contains a good supply of magnesium, which is crucial for relaxing muscles and calming the nervous system. Most smokers say they use nicotine to calm their nerves but in the absence of cigarettes, bananas can come in handy and help quitters cope with their cravings for nicotine when they are frustrated, stressed or just angry.
If you’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms like agitation or irritability, experts advise you take an additional 300 milligrammes of magnesium per day as it boosts serotonin levels and helps improve sleep, mood or behavioural patterns (nicotine withdrawal reduces serotonin levels in the brain).
A normal level of serotonin props up feelings of happiness and relaxation. Serotinin is produced by the body with the help of tryptophan, an essential amino acid which can be gotten from bananas. Please note that our body does not produce tryptophan naturally; the only way our body gets it’s supply of tryptophan is through our diet (milk, peanuts, cheese, eggs, bananas, etc are good sources).
Advantages of Using Bananas to Quit Smoking
* They’re tasty and filling. They also keep the mouth and hands busy, thereby serving as a source of distraction to cope with cravings.
* They’re cheap and available all year round. Unlike other fruits like the kiwi, passion, etc bananas are more accessible the world over.
* They contain dietary fibre which help bowel movement and result in the excretion of some of the toxins that have built up in the body as a result of years of smoking. A single helping of banana is said to contain 16% of the daily recommended dietary fibre intake for a normal adult.
* Unlike some stop smoking medications, bananas have no side effects when used to quit.
* They put the body in a relaxed mode, thereby eradicating stress, which is a huge cause of relapse.
* They help to deal with nicotine cravings naturally
* Bananas contain carbohydrates, which serve as a major energy boost to quitters experiencing low energy levels.
* They also help to overcome depression which arises as a result of quit smoking. Bananas are able to do this because they contain tryptophan acids (which gets converted into serotonin) and helps in lessening depression symptoms and improving the mood generally.
* They can also be used as a substitute to cigarette as they’re much better than cigarettes.
* Bananas contain Vitamin A (which promotes healthy bones, teeth, soft tissue, and more), Vitamin B6 (which helps the body’s immune system, promotes brain health, heart health, and more), Vitamin C (which assists in healing, growth of tissue, ligaments, and more) as well as Vitamin D (which helps the body to absorb calcium).
From the nutrients and their functions, we can safely say bananas can help to repair the damages caused by smoking and put the body back into shape. In the same vein, bananas assist the body in retaining nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium and nitrogen, all of which work to build healthy and rejuvenated tissues.
* They are excellent immune-boosters. Bananas contain 25 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin B6, needed for generating antibodies and red blood corpuscles as well as aiding in the breakdown and assimilation of fat. In addition, vitamin B6 serves as an immunity booster. So, this fruit fortifies your defence against contagious diseases.
How to Use Bananas to Quit Smoking
Now that you know the immense benefits of consuming bananas during smoking cessation, I highly recommend you have bananas handy while attempting to drop off cigarettes. Any time a strong craving hits you, consume bananas instead of smoking a cigarette as the mere movement of your mouth while gobbling a banana helps to calm you down and replicate the smoking habit. Aside the relaxing effects, the vitamin boost of a banana helps to keep those nasty cravings in check. You’ll have less irritability, anxiety, headaches, nausea, and less nicotine cravings on the whole, to make your smoking cessation attempt much more successful. And when you become successful with quit smoking, you sure are going to enjoy some benefits; just check out some of the health benefits of smoking cessation.
Nutritiondata.com, Chemistry Daily, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, NIH MedLinePlus.
Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, Traditional and Medicinal Uses of Banana, K. P. Sampath Kumar, Debjit Bhowmik, S.Duraivel, M.Umadevi, September 2012
Stop Smoking the Easy Way, Sue Wells, New Holland Publishers, 2007 ,Page 151- 152