You are what you eat, especially in the mornings. As we wake up and start the day, our system needs the right kind of nutrition to help us prepare for the day ahead, boost energy levels and to flush out the toxins. A breakfast with wrong food combinations on the other hand can mess with our digestive system and play havoc with our energy levels. (Also read: Top breakfast mistakes that make us unhealthy)
Experts say it may not be a good idea to eat large amounts of food right after you wake up. Also, certain foods that improve your metabolic rate and nutrient absorption should be preferred to others.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and people usually wake up and choose to fill up their stomachs in the morning. Unfortunately, even those who have bread, citrus fruits and a cup of coffee for breakfast feel tired at work,” says Dr Swathi Reddy (PT), Consultant Physiotherapist and certified diet counsellor and MIAP, Motherhood Hospitals, Bangalore.
Explaining the reason behind low energy levels at work, Dr Reddy says the incorrect combination may have to be blamed. “This happens because citrus fruits consist of fruit acids that might cause heartburn and acidity, bread contains yeast that often causes gastric problems, and coffee can also lead to indigestion. Combination of these foods can even restrict the absorption of few nutrients in the body,” she says.
“It would be beneficial for us to avoid deep-fried or acidic foods in the morning while having an empty stomach because it may cause heartburn, acidity and could aggravate gastric problems,” says Dt. Vibha Bajpaiee- Head, Dietetics.
Foods for empty stomach
To boost intestinal health, energy levels, rev up metabolism and improve nutrient absorption, here are certain foods that should be eaten on an empty stomach instead of heavy meals.
Watermelon is a great option to eat on an empty stomach in the morning as it promotes electrolyte balance and hydrates your body.
“The fruit is composed of 90% water, making it a better choice of water intake in the mornings especially in the summers. It is also a source of natural sugar and low on calories, making it extremely healthy. It contains high levels of lycopene which improves heart and eye health. It is loaded with Vitamin C and B6 and other nutrients which will help to boost your immunity and mood. The best food and mood to start your day with,” says Dr Reddy.
Drinking warm water, coconut water, jeera water and other digestive teas are good for bowel movements and an ideal way to start your day. Besides, they can be a healthy replacement to your morning dose of caffeine.
“Honey consists of minerals, vitamins, and enzymes which are vital to keep your stomach healthy. Drinking warm water with honey on an empty stomach early in the morning will cleanse your body of toxins and boost your metabolism there by helping in the weight loss. Make sure to consume pure honey. See the labels before you buy,” says Dr Reddy.
“It would be beneficial for us to have liquid such as coconut water, salt water, jeera water, lukewarm water with honey, digestive tea etc,” says Bajpaiee.
Starting your day with papaya is an excellent way to detox and regulate smooth bowel movement. It is known to have a lot of fibre and provide fructose needed for energy.
“As it is available throughout the year, papaya can be an easily accessible superfood to eat on an empty stomach. Maintain a gap of minimum 45 minutes between consumption of papaya and breakfast to let the effect of papaya work on your body. This fruit is known to lower bad cholesterol, prevent various heart diseases, reduces bloating and constipation as well,” says Dr Swathi Reddy.
Bajpaiee says that those who prefer going to the gym or doing any type of exercise, must have dry fruits like soaked and peeled almonds and walnuts or smoothies before the exercise.
“Nuts are good sources of protein and healthy fats; one may take soaked almonds and soaked figs for many health benefits,” says Shruti Bharadwaj, Senior Clinical Dietician, Narayana Hrudayalaya Multispeciality Hospital Ahmedabad. She also suggests having soaked chia seeds as they are good source of fibre and omega 3 fatty acids.
Fresh vegetable juice
“Green vegetable or carrot beetroot juice is a good option to start your day. Especially for women, they help with skin health as they are a good source of vitamins, antioxidants. Squeeze a bit of lemon for taste and some more vitamin C. Make sure to consume this juice with in few minutes for more benefits,” says Bharadwaj.
Amla and aloe vera juice is also helpful in gut cleansing as it has fibre, good for skin and hair, as per Bharadwaj.
Dates and fruits
If you are looking for an instant energy boost, you can have two dates with water, says Bharadwaj. Fruits like banana, apple and papaya are good to consume in morning empty stomach for vitamins and fibre as per the dietician.