Smoking could increase your risk of developing lung cancer 25 times. Instructive statistics like this could have confirmed his decision to quit smoking, but how do you make sure your lungs get the most benefit from your decision? As your lungs and body clear of tobacco by-products, certain steps can help make your detoxification complete and effective. Here is a review of the stage.
The First Week After Quitting Smoking
The results of quitting smoking begin to appear almost immediately. While your pulse slows down within 20 minutes of smoking, if you don’t smoke for about 8 hours, the body’s oxygen levels are restored to normal levels and the levels of carbon monoxide and nicotine decrease by half. In two days, the levels of nicotine or carbon monoxide approach zero. Then, the body begins to purge mucus in the lungs, as well as any other smoke. You should be able to smell and taste better at the end of the second day. On the third day, as your bronchial tubes relax, you can breathe more easily than when you smoked. You should also feel a noticeable increase in energy levels.
While quitting smoking will prevent the internal damage that smoke was causing to your lungs, you also need to clean the external living space such as your home or office of any other toxins that could damage your lungs. Clean your home – you can even consider a professional cleaning service for this – to get rid of any residual particles and smoke that could be persistent. In addition, you may need to be checked for space to detect the presence of radon, a gas that is produced by dirt or rocks trapped in buildings and that, along with cigarette smoke, is one of the main causes of lung cancer. Additional care of your diet can help prevent excess mucus in the lungs. The smoker’s cough has an unenviable reputation for causing congestion and accumulation of mucus among long-term smokers and heavy smokers.
“When you stop smoking, you can get rid of this excess mucus little by little”.
An empirical rule is to avoid any food that you are allergic to. It is better to avoid common allergens such as gluten. If that can’t be done, watch for your body’s reaction when you consume them – look for signs such as sneezing or stuffy nose or nasal tract and stay away from food that triggers these reactions. Stay well hydrated to prevent the mucus from thickening, making it difficult for your body to expel it. Also talk to your doctor about the use of eucalyptus oil for steam inhalation to help relieve congestion. Other congestion and cold remedies such as eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil or oregano oil can also help.
Growing Stronger: Weeks 2 to 12
Your body’s blood circulation will see a significant improvement. Take advantage of this to start an exercise regimen. Start with a gentle exercise routine that could include more activity than you were used to before, such as a short walk or swimming. To restore proper lung function after detoxification, you might consider breathing exercises that help increase lung capacity. The American Lung Association) highlights two exercises used by pulmonary rehabilitation specialists to strengthen muscles and improve pulmonary efficiency and cardiac function: abdominal breathing and pursed lips. These exercises restore lung elasticity and help improve oxygen levels while cleaning the accumulated stale air in the lungs. Foods that help clear congestion can be useful for purging mucus. In addition to this, some foods can help improve lung health and keep your respiratory system in good shape. Remember, although you can introduce these foods from the beginning, they are not short-term solutions. Keep up with this plan this week onwards for the rest of your life.
- Try to take a teaspoon of honey every day or a couple of times a day. According to traditional Chinese medicine, honey has the ability to detoxify the lungs and relieve any pain that it may experience, due to the harmful effect of tobacco on lung health, weakening the muscles and their elasticity. The antioxidant action of honey makes it a popular herbal remedy for respiratory tract infections and a good addition to your regime after smoking.
- Bromelain in pineapples is therapeutic, acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps the lungs and body to develop strength and return to normal. It also breaks the mucus and can even help improve lung function.
- Grapeseed extract may also be useful against free radical damage in lung tissue. Some researchers believe that it could even help strengthen blood vessels, keeping the lungs open with a constant supply of fresh oxygen.
Moving On: 3 to 9 Months After Quitting Smoking
Lung function at this stage improves by up to 10 percent. As a result, you should find that breathing problems or wheezing are relieved. The cough should also be reduced. As you feel your energy levels and endurance improve, work towards longer periods of exercise. You may not be able to run without getting tired at first, but after a few months you could also do it. To stay healthy and fit in general, avoid eating processed foods, genetically modified foods (GM) or any that contain many additives and chemicals. Eat naturally and consume plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to pack an antioxidant punch and keep those lungs happy. Berries such as blueberries, apples and oranges, vegetables such as spinach, artichokes, broccoli, sweet potatoes and herbs such as oregano and thyme are especially rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, beta-carotene, flavonoids and the vitamins.
Changes for Life: One Year and Beyond
Now that you have quit smoking, keep those lungs clean by avoiding any source of secondhand smoke, courtesy of family members or friends who smoke. When outdoors, stay away from smoking areas. The added advantage is that you will not be tempted to smoke “only one” when you see another person smoking a cigarette or cigar. Continue with healthy eating options and keep endorphin levels high with regular exercise. According to the NHS, deaths related to smoking from lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and heart disease are responsible for half of the early deaths of long-term smokers. Now, thanks to quitting smoking, you have added several healthier years to your life.