I’ve spoken to many friends and family who have quit smoking. All of them have said it was one of the best decisions of their lives. It’s no exaggeration to say that your body will absolutely love being cigarette-free. After quitting, almost immediately your blood pressure and heart rate will go down and the coughing fits decrease. But after quitting, it’s not all sunshine and roses.
Like with any addiction, quitting smoking has its drawbacks. Just as immediate as the benefits, the symptoms of nicotine (the main ingredient in tobacco) withdrawal begin to show up. Some of these symptoms include:
- Intense cravings to smoke
- Dry mouth
Depending on how many cigarettes were smoked and for how long, some people will be more susceptible to these symptoms than others. These symptoms can be rough, but research has lead us to natural solutions. In particular, research linking smoking with blood sugar levels has shed a lot of light on why people experience these symptoms.
How Nicotine Cravings Work
Research from the University of Southern California found that the connection between smoking and blood sugar levels goes much further than was previously thought. The study found that a key trigger to the “high” smokers experience is sugar molecules which allow nicotine molecules to transmit the “high” to nerve cells. This landmark study contributes greatly to an ongoing debate that has long tried to explain how signals enter nerve cells. It further solidifies the connection between blood sugar and nicotine cravings. At the same time, it reveals what might be the best home remedies to quit smoking: stevia.
Relieve Nicotine Cravings Naturally
You read that right, a sugar alternative is one of the best remedies for nicotine cravings. More specifically, studies in Germany have found that stevia has been found to curb nicotine and even alcohol cravings. Stevia is a naturally grown sugar alternative derived from the stevia plant native to Paraguay. Stevia is often used to sweeten drinks and tea. It is much sweeter than sugar, is free of calories as well as carbs, and it is a good alternative for diabetics as it does not impact your blood sugar. Compared to aspartame, stevia is naturally grown and lacks the negative side-effects.
Depending on where in the world you are, stevia is used in everything from desserts, candy, bread, and even pickled foods! Stevia has long been in use is Japan where it makes up almost 40% of the sweetener market.
In the U.S., you may have only recently started seeing stevia show up in stores like Walmart with brands like “In the Raw”. But like with anything, I recommend looking at the ingredients label. While “Stevia In the Raw” markets itself as 100% stevia, the first ingredient is dextrose which is a sweetener often made from GMO corn. Yikes!
How much to take and how
While you can take stevia in crystallized form, I recommend using liquid stevia. Liquid stevia typically comes in a bottle with a dropper, which makes it convenient to take and keep around. When you’ve got nicotine cravings, you just apply a couple of drops directly to your tongue. Simple as that! You can even use stevia in teas and in your treats too.
Quitting smoking can be difficult. If you or anyone you know is trying to quit, a bit of stevia and some moral support goes a long way!