We are what we put in our bodies.
There really is no truer statement when it comes to health. Yet, it’s not as simple as that.
Certain foods are great for post or pre-workouts, others are healthier for late-night snacking, and there are even foods to give you a boost of energy mid-day. There are also good and poor options for an empty stomach.
What are you looking for? Foods that won’t aggravate your stomach, that will boost your energy, and that will help wake your digestive system.
The wonderful thing about sleeping and fasting is that your digestive system gets a bit of a rest. This is an essential part of healthy digestion. In fact, the popularity around fasting — especially time-restricted eating — centers on this very aspect. Allowing your digestive system to rest for an extended period of time has actually been linked to increased gut health.
While this is a wonderful part of fasting, it’s also important to gently wake your digestive system. Instead of consuming foods that cause aggravation, inflammation, and bloating — such as sugar, caffeine, spicy food, and refined carbs — it’s best to awaken your digestive system with soothing, fiber-filled, nutrient-rich meals that will ensure proper digestion for the rest of the day.
Stomach acidity is both the savior and villain of our digestive system. It’s essential to help break down and process the food we eat, yet when the acid in your system becomes imbalanced — either too little or too much — it can cause unpleasant side effects such as heartburn and indigestion. When it comes to filling a completely empty stomach, make sure to choose foods that will coat the lining of your stomach which will help protect against acidic foods that you may consume later on.
The food you eat on an empty stomach also determines your energy levels from that point on. While certain foods — yes, we’re talking about sugar and refined carbs again! — cause a spike in blood sugar, a very short spurt of energy, and then a crash, other foods — and, yes, we’re talking about nutrient-rich, fiber-filled foods again — can actually boost and extend your energy throughout the day. The right food will offer a slow-release, longer-sustained energy source to keep you going without the crash of sugar!
10 Best Foods for an Empty Stomach
Alright, now we know why choosing the right food for an empty stomach is important, but what are the right foods? Turns out there are a ton of wonderful, delicious, and easy to access options to select for your morning meal or to break that long fast.
Almonds are an incredibly rich source of “manganese, vitamin E, protein, fibre, Omega-3 [fatty acid], and Omega-6 fatty acids.” They’re not super filling and rich in healthy fatty oils, but they’re a great snack that can ease you out of a long fast. With that said, go the extra step by soaking them overnight in order to decrease their content of antinutrients. You can pretty much use soaked almonds just as you would raw almonds, simply bake them in the oven for a few minutes to dry them out.
Oats are a great addition to any plant-based diet regimen, plus they’re one of the best foods for an empty stomach. They provide a “coating on the lining of the stomach which prevents irritation from your bodies naturally occurring hydrochloric acid (HCL),” while also boosting digestion and lower cholesterol. Oats are rich in dietary fiber, protein, folate, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and zinc.
While most tropical fruits should be avoided on an empty stomach, turns out papaya may be that one exception to the rule! This sweet and tangy treat actually cleanses “your body of toxins and [ensures] smooth bowel movement,” giving your body a great boost out of a fast. Plus, you’ll get a wonderful dose of nutrients including dietary fiber, vitamins — A, C, and K — folate, choline, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
To clear it up right away, buckwheat is not wheat, but a seed and super healthy one at that. Along with being heart-healthy, reducing cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure, buckwheat is also a great food for an empty stomach. Buckwheat is known to help stimulate digestion as well removes “toxins and heavy metals from your intestines and [creates] a satiated feeling for a longer period of time.” Starting your day with buckwheat porridge or groats or even ending your day with buckwheat noodles is a great way to both awaken your digestion, as well as satiate your stomach for the night. Buckwheat is rich in those body-loving macronutrients — dietary fiber, protein, healthy carbs — while also providing a range of nutrients including folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and selenium.
Another fruit that makes the very narrow cut as good food for your empty stomach!
Watermelon happens to be “90 percent water and is full of electrolytes and is thereby gentle on the stomach.” On top of that, watermelon is also a great source of omega-6 fatty acids, calcium, and magnesium, as well as folate and choline.
If buckwheat simply isn’t your thing, then try out some cornmeal! High-quality cornmeal plays the same role as buckwheat — stimulates digestion, lowers cholesterol, and reduces blood pressure — while also jamming nicely with your empty stomach. Whole-grain yellow cornmeal is also rich in a variety of nutrients including dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, folate, choline, phosphorous, potassium, and both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
7. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are not only an excellent plant-based source of protein, but they also are a great way to start your day or break your fast without aggravating your stomach. Along with offering “all nine essential amino acids,” chia seeds are rich in “essential fatty acids, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins.” Make the most of your chia seed experience by soaking them overnight in your favorite plant-based milk for some delightful pudding!
Alright, so yes, dates are rich in sugar, yet these fruits are balanced quite nicely by their dietary fiber content. Dates provide a “bunch of soluble fibers, which are essential for good digestive health because it draws water into the digestive tract.” Plus, dates are a “great source of instant energy that is much needed to kick start your day.” Along with relieving constipation, the high levels of potassium in dates “can also treat upset stomachs and diarrhea.”
Along with almonds, walnuts offer a healthy dose of healthy fat! Yet, walnuts reign supreme when it comes to those brain-boosting fats, the omegas! Starting your day with some walnuts will not only give you a boost of energy, but they’re also super benign for your tummy, meaning no negative stimulation. On top of that, walnuts are a great source of dietary fiber, protein, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, vitamins — A, C, E, K — folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
10. Cooked Vegetables
While raw vegetables can wreak havoc with your stomach — causing gas, bloating, and nausea — cooked vegetables are actually a great option to start the day. Not only do you receive a healthy dose of vitamins and mineral — which all vegetables are plentiful with — but most veggies are also rich in dietary fiber meaning you’ll feel full much longer.
With that said, it’s recommended to avoid cruciferous veggies first thing after a fast or in the morning, as these veggies tend to cause major tummy upset!