People trying to quit smoking are three times more likely to succeed if they eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, according to a new study.
Pubic health researchers at the University at Buffalo also found a diet rich in produce helps people remain smoke-free longer.
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“Other studies have taken a snapshot approach, asking smokers and nonsmokers about their diets,” Gary Giovino, chairman of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, said in a university news release. “We knew from our previous work that people who were abstinent from cigarettes for less than six months consumed more fruits and vegetables than those who still smoked. What we didn’t know was whether recent quitters increased their fruit and vegetable consumption or if smokers who ate more fruits and vegetables were more likely to quit.”
The researchers conducted a national telephone survey of 1,000 smokers aged 25 and older. The survey participants received a follow-up call 14 months later to find out how much they had smoked in the past month.
The study, published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, revealed that smokers who ate the most fruit and vegetables were three times more likely to have not smoked for at least 30 days at the time of the follow-up call than those eating the least amount of produce. The researchers noted this was true even after they took into account the smokers’ age, gender, race and ethnicity, education, income and motivation to be healthy.