A natural nicotine replacement therapy: eat your way smoke-free

Smoking affects your body in many ways. Here we are going to look at the effect on dopamine, which is known as the ‘motivation molecule’.

When nicotine enters your body it stimulates a high dopamine release, which gives you that ‘feel good’ sensation. Whilst this can last for up to two hours is always followed by a drop, similar to a sugar crash. Nicotine is a rapacious creditor! It causes so much damage and gives only a temporary state of bliss.

When deciding to become smoke-free, the physical withdrawal from nicotine only actually lasts a few days, until your body can regulate back to the natural levels of hormone secretion that you were used to before you smoked.

However the psychological cravings one gets to ‘take the edge off’ and recapture that sense of ease and comfort, false though it may be, is the part of quitting that can be the hardest. It is this craving that is the most common cause of relapsing.

So let’s look at tasty, natural ways you can increase your feel good factor without the use of nicotine!

Dopamine is made from the amino acid tyrosine. Eating a diet high in tyrosine will help to maintain a healthy production of dopamine.

Here’s a list of foods that increase dopamine production:

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Avocado
  • Bananas
  • Chocolate – yes, chocolate: read more here
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Green tea – read more here
  • Oatmeal
  • Sesame and pumpkin seeds
  • Turmeric
  • All animal products

If you choose these foods over picking up a cigarette every time you feel a craving, you will get stronger and healthier by the day!

Go for it!

If you smoked 20 a day, you were spending up to £70 a week!

So: you can afford healthy food and you can still have plenty left over to treat yourself to a massage or a facial as a regular reward.

By Sophie McNicholas