Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for many people, it’s also the most difficult. Finding time to chow down on something nutritious is almost impossible when you have to get ready for work and get the little ones off to school.
At this point, most of us feel like eating anything at all is an accomplishment. As it turns out, however, some foods that we think are healthy breakfast stapes are actually terrible to eat on an empty stomach.
Even those of us with the sturdiest stomachs can see long-term negative effects on our health by eating the following 10 foods first thing in the morning. But don’t fret! We also have 10 foods that are okay to eat right after getting out of bed. While you might have to trade in a breakfast favorite or two, there are plenty of delicious alternatives.
1. Yogurt and other fermented milk products form hydrochloric acid in an empty stomach. Over time, this can disrupt your gut’s natural bacteria system.
2. Pastries and donuts are high in yeast, which can irritate the stomach and cause gas. Not to mention they contain a ton of sugar, which brings us to our next point.
3. Eating sugary foods first thing in the morning, like donuts or cereal, spikes your insulin. This can lead to diabetes.
4. Likewise, bananas on an empty stomach increase magnesium in the blood, which can harm your heart.
5. If you have frequent heartburn, it could be from consuming citrus fruits and juices first thing in the morning. While that’s annoying in the short term, frequent consumption can lead to gastric ulcers.
6. Pears contain crude fiber that can cause blockage and injure your stomach’s mucous membrane.
7. Much like citrus fruits, tomatoes raise the acidity of the stomach, leading to heartburn and gastric ulcers.
8. Believe it or not, spinach, cucumber, and other green vegetables are also high in acid. Eating them on an empty stomach is known to cause gas, heartburn, and abdominal pain.
9. Think twice about reaching into your spice cabinet during breakfast. Spices can increase acid production, leading to digestive issues.
10. Cold, carbonated drinks (even sparkling water) reduce blood supply to the stomach, which slows down your digestive system. Consuming them first thing in the morning can increase belly fat.
So, what are you supposed to eat on an empty stomach?
Here are 10 options that will keep you full while protecting your stomach and digestive tract.
1. Eggs are safe to eat on an empty stomach and, with so many ways to prepare them, it’s hard to get bored. To avoid butter or other fattening additives, eat them hard-boiled or poached.
2. Oatmeal is anything but boring. When eaten first thing in the morning, it lines your stomach and prevents hydrochloric acid from damaging sensitive tissues.
3. If oatmeal isn’t your thing, give cornmeal porridge a try. It has many of the same benefits and is known to reduce heavy metals and toxins in the body.
4. Two tablespoons of wheat germ might not sound like much of a breakfast, but it works wonders to keep your digestive system in tip-top shape.
5. Nuts are delicious any time of day. Even better, they help normalize the pH balance of your stomach.
6. Finally, a fruit we can eat on an empty stomach! Blueberries are delicious on their own or in a bowl of oatmeal and are known to regulate blood pressure.
7. Watermelon is a safe fruit to eat, too. It’s mostly water, which will help you stay hydrated throughout the day.
8. Buckwheat is rich in vitamins and proteins that stimulate and protect the digestive system. You can make gluten-free bread, porridge, or even pancakes out of it!
9. Make sure to buy whole grain bread without yeast, then top it with an egg or some peanut butter to start your morning right.
10. Honey is also yummy on whole grain bread or in a cup of hot tea. Replacing sugary coffee with tea and honey is a way to stay caffeinated without upsetting your stomach.