Health, Diet and Dopamine for the Non-Smoker
Tired? Depressed? Feeling in need of something extra when you quit smoking?
When you quit smoking your body is going to be affected by various changes. Since your brain and your body are now no longer getting the regular fix of nicotine you will feel a little different for a few days.
This is the period that most people fail in their attempts and start smoking again. It has nothing to do with willpower or your own desire to stop smoking but your body trying to adapt to your new life.
Do not worry! This is perfectly normal and these minimal effects will be different for everyone. It is not a painful experience. Your body just needs to readjust to the new you.
One of the major factors involved in quitting smoking is the lower levels of dopamine that your body will produce. Dopamine is a natural neurotransmitter and nicotine increases the levels of dopamine in your body. This is what makes you feel good when you smoke. Food has a similar effect, hence the reason why some people start to eat more when they quit smoking.
The function of dopamine in the body is deals mainly with your pleasure and happiness. Lower levels of dopamine can be seen in depression, lethargy and poor attention. When you stop smoking cigarettes, you may feel some of these symptoms. Do not worry. This is perfectly normal.
Low levels of dopamine can also occur with stress, poor nutrition, poor sleep, alcohol, caffeine and sugar. When you become a non-smoker, you should try to avoid caffeine and alcohol for a while.
Stress. There is that word again that is so associated with smoking. Remember that any increased stress you feel is because your body wants dopamine and, more importantly, a cigarette. Do not give in. You have come so far already!
How is your diet right now? What are you eating? Do not, under any circumstances, start eating more because you think that it is a substitute for cigarettes. This will not work. Avoid caffeine and foods containing too much sugar, saturated fats and high cholesterol.
Now is a really good time to eat more fruit. The natural sugars in fruit will help your body adjust to the new non-smoking you. Fruit and vegetables will help with protecting your body from free radical damage. Antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E are good for you right now. Buying some food supplements will help as well.
Eating natural foods and, especially, some nuts will help with your dopamine levels. Almonds, avocados, bananas, dairy products, lima beans, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are all good foods for increased dopamine levels and this will be a lot better for you than nicotine ever was.