Today is November 9

Published 12:47 am Tuesday, November 9, 2021

November is Great American Smoke Out Month

Few habits are as harmful to the human body as smoking tobacco products, especially cigarettes.

The American Heart Association says smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the United States. Smoking is linked to heart disease and stroke and can increase the risk for cancers of the bladder, throat, cervix, pancreas, and mouth. Smoking is linked to roughly 90 percent of lung cancer cases in the United States as well. Lung Cancer Canada indicates the majority of lung cancer cases in Canada – about 85 percent – are directly related to smoking tobacco.

Even though smoking can ravage the body and cause significant damage to the lungs, which worsens the longer one smokes, people who quit may be able to restore a good portion of their lung health. The Lung Health Institute says there are a number of ways the lungs can heal once a person stops smoking. While it may not be possible to undo the structural damage to the lungs, lung function can be significantly restored when people quit smoking. Here’s a look at some ways the lungs and other parts of the body may recover.

· Risk of heart attack decreases: The wellness resource Verywell says that after day one of quitting smokers’ risk of heart attack begins to decrease.

· Rate of COPD decline improves: Research published in the journal Respiratory Medicine found that people with mild to moderate COPD can expect to experience normalization of lung function decline within a year of quitting. This means that the rate of decline considered normal with age is the same as someone who had never smoked before.

· Reduced lung cancer risk: The risk of getting lung cancer reduces by 50 percent after 10 years of being smoke-free, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

· Carbon monoxide levels go down: Orlando Health says carbon monoxide gradually leaves the bloodstream after people quit smoking, which helps reduce the severity of symptoms like shortness of breath. Similarly, chemicals in cigarette smoke can inflame the lining of the airways.

· Reactivation of cilia: Cilia are the small hair-like structures that move mucus and bacteria to the back of the throat. They fail to work properly when a person smokes, but can resume function after quitting.

· Improved circulation: When lung function improves, oxygen can more effectively reach cells through the body and circulation improves. Within 24 hours of quitting, constriction of blood vessels also will occur, resulting in lower blood pressure and improved pulse rate. Body temperature will start to normalize within 24 hours as well.

· Improved taste and smell: Within 48 hours of quitting, taste and smell receptors start to heal, and damaged nerve cells also will begin to self-repair.

Quitting smoking is the best thing smokers can do for their bodies. Once a person quits smoking, his or her body begins healing in myriad ways.

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Preparing for Thanksgiving

Sweet potatoes are a favorite side dish at Thanksgiving dinner tables. Packed with vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and delectable flavor, sweet potatoes have earned their place on holiday dinner tables. While many holiday hosts bake, fry or mash their sweet potatoes, these beloved tubers can be prepared in other ways as well.

If you want to put a new twist on this Thanksgiving staple, whip up this recipe for “Sweet Potato Quiche,” courtesy of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. Submitted to the NC State Fair Tailgate Recipe Contest by Kristen Frybort, this recipe marries sweet tubers with decadent cheese, rich cream and savory spices.

Sweet Potato Quiche

Makes 8 servings

2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes

3/4 cup yellow onion, diced

21/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Black pepper to taste

Egg mixture:

4 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced

1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

11/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded

Pre-baked deep dish pie crust

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix together the first five ingredients and place on baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

While sweet potatoes and onions are roasting, shred cheese and set aside. Whisk the egg mixture and set aside.

Once potatoes and onions have finished roasting, spoon them into the pre-baked pie shell. Next, layer the shredded cheese on top of the sweet potatoes.

Reduce oven to 375 F. Pour egg mixture over the cheese and potatoes. Place quiche in the oven on a center rack. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until eggs are set.