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Nutritional reasons to quit smoking

By Angella Wali | September 28th 2016

NAIROBI: While most people know that smoking is not good for our health, many do not know it is responsible for malnutrition cases caused by nutrient deficiencies among smokers.

Smoking supplies the body with nicotine. While nicotine does not damage one’s organs, it does suppresses one’s ability to taste flavours due to its action on the brain.

When one’s tastebuds are impaired, they are not able to enjoy the different food flavours which leads to reduced enjoyment of food. This ultimately affects a person’s appetite and reduces their dietary intake, thus predisposing them to nutritional deficiencies.

Also, smokers are more likely to consume more high energy and high fat foods and less fiber and antioxidants. They also tend to drink more alcohol than non-smokers.

These are habits that ultimately lead to an unhealthy nutrition status, not to mention the increased risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Smoking has also been shown to increase free radicals in the body, causing oxidative stress. To deal with this, there is usually increased demands for antioxidants like Vitamin C and E yet smoking impairs absorption of these crucial vitamins.

This predisposes smokers to antioxidant deficiencies, which in turn puts them at risk of countless inflammatory diseases and chronic diseases like cancer.

Calcium absorption is also impaired by smoking. This has serious implications for post-menopausal women and the elderly due to their natural predisposition to low calcium levels. This can lead to increased risk of osteoporosis and reduced immunity.

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