University of Buffalo researchers published a study yesterday showing the correlation between the consumption of fruits and vegetables and the amount of cigarettes a person smoked over the course of 14 months.
With the bountiful fruit and vegetables Miami's tropical climate has to offer, could upping fruit and veggie intake help smoking citizens nip their habit in the butt?
Mama always told us to eat our vegetables, after all.
The study, first reported by Science Daily surveyed, 1,000 people aged 25 and older, who were chosen and interviewed based on a random telephone digit dial.
"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," said Gary A. Giovino, PhD, chair of the Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at UB. "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."
A conclusion was drawn to find smokers who ate more fruits and vegetables were three times more likely to be tobacco-free for at least 30 days at follow-up than the ones who consumed less fruits and vegetables.
Further findings suggested smokers who incorporated more fruits and vegetables into their daily diet smoked fewer cigarettes per day. They also smoked their first cigarette later in the day and had a lower score on nicotine dependence.
"This is just an observational study, but improving one's diet may facilitate quitting," said Jeffrey P. Haibach, MPH, first author on the paper and graduate research assistant in the UB Department of Community Health and Health Behavior.
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Haibach went on to explain that fruits and vegetables may help a smoker when they confuse the craving for a cigarette with hunger. "Fruits and vegetables give people more of a feeling of satiety or fullness so that they feel less of a need to smoke."
Despite US smoking rates declining, perhaps an added daily dose or two of Mother Nature's bounty won't hurt.
Mangoes are ripe for the picking in South Florida this season. So are lychees, sweet corn, pink guava, sapodillas, baby heirloom tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and watermelon.