Detoxing your body from the effects of nicotine and other harmful chemicals in cigarettes starts with quitting smoking. You can try to gradually quit smoking by using nicotine patches, nicotine gum or e-cigarettes. Once you’ve officially quit, here are some tips to follow:
Drink plenty of water
Water can help flush out toxins and chemicals from your body. It may take some time, however, depending on how long you have smoked. Try to drink 6-12 cups of water a day. This can also help boost your energy levels, which is important especially if you relied on cigarettes to make you alert.
Eat a diet rich in antioxidants
Studies have shown that eating more fruits and vegetables, especially green, leafy vegetables, can protect your lungs from some damage caused by smoking and air pollution. Eating fruits and vegetables rich in polyphenols (red, orange, green, yellow fruits) and taking vitamin C supplements may help too.
Physical exercise improves blood circulation and cell regeneration, promoting the release of toxins from the body through sweat. Also, exercising can increase your lung capacity, which was likely reduced while you were smoking.
Avoid secondhand smoke
Even after quitting smoking, it is critical to stay away from secondhand smoke. Smoke coming out the end of a cigarette or someone’s mouth contains hundreds of toxic chemicals, which can lead to cancer or other serious medical conditions.
Steer clear of pollution
Stay away from harmful pollutants both inside and outside the home. You can check the local air quality index (AQI) using an online tool from Airnow.gov. Try to stay indoors if the AQI is high, since that indicates that there is more pollution in the air that can be damaging to your health. To improve air quality indoors, clean regularly, vacuum often and use natural, fragrance-free products and avoid aerosol sprays.
How long does it take to detox from smoking?
After your last puff, here’s a general timeline of what happens:
- Within 24 hours: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- In the next 2-3 weeks: Your lung function and circulation begin to improve.
- Within a year: Your lung function goes back to normal, and your risk of heart disease is reduced by 50%.
- After 5 years: Your risk of developing most cancers or having a stroke drops dramatically.
- After 15 years: Your risk of heart disease will be the same as a nonsmoker.
Can your lungs recover from smoking damage?
- Emphysema: Damage to air sacs in the lungs.
- Chronic bronchitis: Inflammation of the airways that lead to the air sacs.
Both these conditions come under the umbrella of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Over time, COPD causes irreversible damage to the air sacs in the lungs, through which oxygen passes and travels to other parts of the body.
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American Lung Association. Can You Detox Your Lungs? https://www.lung.org/blog/can-you-detox-your-lungs
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