This is the last of a four part series speaking on the subject of the habit of smoking, the addiction, leaving the habit and the healing that comes afterwards. If you have missed any of them you can go to my profile and check them out.
You are probably feeling much better now, enjoying flavors again and breathing better. Feeling a whole new enchantment in what life has to offer. After quitting your heart rate and blood pressure have gone down. Your feet and fingers have warmed up. Your hair has pepped up and looks shinier, your skin looks healthier and isn’t as ashen colored any longer. No more bad breath! Those wrinkles around your mouth and eyes are going away. The yellowing teeth are getting whiter all the time. And the amount of money you have saved is substancial. But there is still some inner healing to be done.
One thing that hits us all at some point in our life is surgery or some type of procedure. When a smoker has to go through surgery of any kind their doctor will advise them to quit smoking. Why? When you smoke the oxygen that is associated with the hemoglobin in your blood is displaced and both carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide takes its place. This makes the oxygen content in the blood low and you need plenty of blood rich in oxygen to insure good healing. If you quit smoking several weeks before a procedure it will let healing take place more readily.
This is just one area where quitting smoking will help you. As nicotine levels subside this will increase oxygen levels in the blood. After 72 hours of quitting 90 percent of the metabolites(products of the metabolism) of nicotine have passed through the urine. Traces of nicotine can remain in the body for up to about 30 days so drinking plenty of water can help to flush this out of the body.
Your body’s ability to heal itself makes it possible for it to survive and overcome injuries and infections. Eating unprocessed, nutritious food will speed that process along. If you already have cancer or COPD stopping smoking and taking good nutrients into the body will help and increase the effects of treatments, ups the chances of recovery, and lowers the chances of developing a second cancer.
So the healing process can be a very self blooming process. You actually feel like doing something now. You look younger, feel better, but there is still some work to be done. Lets heal the lungs. The lungs are fragile organs and are filled with strands of what is called cilia. Tar slowly builds up in these and clogs the air passages causing you to have a chronic cough. You should refrain from eating milk products because these build up mucus. Food that reduce this are onions, garlic, ginger, horse radish and cayenne pepper. Also you should incorporate more carrots into your diet. The beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A by the body and helps to keep the lungs in working order. Do not over do Vitamin A for it could have an opposite effect.
Exercising the lungs will help to strengthen them and some other vitamins that will help are: Vitamin C helps to reduce the effects of cigarette smoke on the body and is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C can be found in broccoli, bell peppers and citrus fruit. It has been found that higher levels of Vitamin B-6 in the blood are linked to a lowered risk of lung cancer in the past and current smoker. This vitamin is found in beef, turkey, chicken and pork. Vitamin E has been found to help reduce lung tumors related to smoking. It is found in almonds, mustard greens, tomatoes and wheat germ.
You may continue to have extreme emotions. This can last for months or years. If they become too overwhelming you will want to discuss this with your medical doctor. Each individual is different. Nicotine is a mood enhancer so when you stop introducing it into your system this stress reliever and crutch you have had for so long is now gone and there will be some fall out. It is important to remember here that smoking was a way not to deal with emotions so now you will be. That’s why it is important to know what your triggers were and redirect them. Exercising will help to release endorphins that will help to improve your mood.
Think nutrition. You’ve been damaging your body for how long now? You need to feed your body with nutrients to heal yourself. The process will take years off your life and give you back the vigor you thought was gone forever. You will find that quitting smoking will make you happier. But it is a work in progress. You may need to vent your frustration, anger, anxiety or other out of control feelings. Call on a friend or think about finding a counselor. Talk to your doctor about medications. This doesn’t have to be permanent but for a period of time until you are better able to control your feelings. Go for a walk or just do some deep breathing exercises. This can relieve tension and calm your mind. Find a personal mantra that works for you and repeat it to yourself in times of pressure. Things do get better and finding one or more of these helpful tips will help you to make each day more complete.
Nutrition, activity and redirecting emotions are three things that can help you in your quest to a healthier, happier individual. Your quality of life will develop daily into a more positive one. Your outlook will change. Your lungs, heart, and blood vessels will gradually become more healthy. Your family will feel the change in you.
You have made one of the most important decisions of your life.
I hope that these thoughts will be of value to you, Your comments and votes are much appreciated.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.