Intermittent fasting is not just a religious ritual or something that could be considered an extreme diet— it is a tool many people use to improve their health.
As you get to the end of your fast, it can get tempting to consume whatever you crave for or eat to your heart’s content. Even if you successfully fast for several hours, this does not mean to eat freely without any care on what you ingest.
There are several restrictions or suggestions about the best foods to break a fast. That said, they should be simple to digest and free of high-carb meals and sweets so you won’t negate all the hours you fasted.
In this article, you will be guided on what to eat after fasting for 24 hours so you get to reap all the benefits fasting has to offer.
How Do You Fast For 24 Hours?
Simple enough: skip meals for a full 24 hours. Some people attempt a 24-hour fast just once to test the waters and see how they react. Even though a 24-hour fast is technically a prolonged type of intermittent fasting and is generally regarded as safe, you should exercise caution and begin with shorter fasts of 12 to 16 hours.
Others organize their 24-hour fasts such that they occur once a week, twice a week, or even every other day, or what is called an alternate day fasting.
What To Eat After Fasting For 24 Hours?
The best meals to consume after breaking your intermittent fasting are listed below. These foods will improve your health and be easy on your stomach once you’re on your eating window.
1. Start With Liquids
Avoid starting with solid foods right away. Take a drink first, wait for around 30 to 60 minutes, and then consume your first meal.
Your digestive system may be able to adjust to eating again with this. It can encourage the reactivation of your digestive enzymes. You can experiment with soluble supplements, flavored water, coffee, tea, bone broth, and apple cider vinegar.
Some liquids are consumed during a fast in order to prolong it. But some are also ideal to take after your fasting period. These are:
- Bone Broths
Taking bone broth can technically break a fast. In fact, bone broth and vegetable soup is one of the number one foods you should consider when thinking of what to eat to break a fast.
This is because bone broth contains a lot of electrolytes, which, when consumed, will help to replace the ones lost during fasting. Furthermore, it is rich in Magnesium, Sodium, Calcium, and Potassium, which are all too desirable for a healthy body.
Moreover, bone broths contain protein and are also easily digestible, making them the best choice when breaking a fast. It also optimizes nerve signaling functions, heart, bone density, muscle contraction, and digestive tract1,2.
It would be beneficial to choose bone broths that also have nutritious proteins and carbohydrates; just make sure the carbohydrates are simple to digest, including pasta, lentils, and tofu.
Avoid bone broths containing heavy cream, fiber, or raw vegetables because these ingredients can be too much for your digestive system to process at once.
- Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar
This type of vinegar can be a terrific option for breaking a fast, one of the numerous reasons why so many people adore it. You can prepare this diluted apple cider vinegar drink by simply combining one to two tablespoons of vinegar with one glass of water before drinking it. The water’s use of apple cider vinegar will aid in stimulating the digestive system (which was dormant during fasting)3.
If drinking it isn’t an option for you, you might use diluted apple cider vinegar as a salad dressing since it might not be your cup of tea. Make sure the salad does not contain raw cruciferous vegetables if you break prolonged intermittent fasting (they should be eaten as cooked).
Start with some non-starchy vegetables. Vegetables taste best when they are raw, but if you prefer cooked vegetables, you can still eat them.
Most green vegetables are cruciferous plants high in fiber, minerals, and nutrients, like broccoli (cooked broccoli) and brussels sprouts. You can also include spinach or kale when breaking a fast. These leafy green vegetables are incredibly rich in vitamins and minerals, including C, B2, B6, E, A, and K, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese.
Similar to how they aid in digesting, green leafy vegetables also aid in preventing constipation, which is one of the major concerns for those who fast.
Raw cruciferous vegetables have the perfect nutrient profile for fasting. However, if consumed uncooked, they are difficult to digest. If you want to eat these leafy greens as your first meal after a fast, you may wish to boil or sauté them to make them easier to digest.
3. Healthy Fats
Healthy fats must not be overlooked. After a 24-hour fast, your body will likely be in a state of ketosis since your body yearns for fats.
Avocado, olive oil, grass-fed butter, ghee, and coconut oil are healthy fats that complement vegetables and aid nutrient absorption.
The basic understanding is that you should stay away from items high in sugar, complex carbohydrates, and fiber and avoid consuming unhealthy fats while breaking a fast.
- Avocados and Avocado Oil
Avocado is among the best foods to break a fast and is a fantastic source of healthy fat for weight loss. Although some people despise avocado since it is a fatty fruit, it may actually be the greatest option for someone who is breaking fast. The fruit is high in good fats, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, folate, potassium, and copper while being low in calories.
Avocados are often quickly digested and provide longer-lasting fullness than other foods4.
- Olives and Olive Oil
The olive is a superfood with lots of healthy fat that improves nutrient absorption, much like the avocado.
Olives and extra virgin olive oil also have anti-inflammatory properties because they contain a variety of bioactive compounds, including oleic acid.
Reduced inflammation and a lower risk of heart disease are two health benefits of oleic acid. It may even help fight cancer5,6,7.
- Grass-fed Butter and Ghee
Grass-fed butter and ghee should not be absent from the list of the finest foods to break a fast because healthy fats are necessary for the absorption of nutrients.
Butter is the only dairy product that may be used to break a fast because it contains very little lactose. The clarified butterfat is an even better alternative than ghee because it doesn’t include milk proteins.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the best fats for frying and aids in weight loss due to its high lauric acid concentration8.
Another lesser-known benefit of coconut oil is that it has potent anti-inflammatory qualities9 and can support the development of good bacteria and other gut germs after a fast.
Ensure that the sources of protein you select are lean. Fish is an excellent source of healthy fats, protein, and vitamin D.
If you want to break the fast safely, you can start with a bowl of fish soup and then move on to fish meat if you prefer.
The following nutrients are found in fish like wild salmon or organic mackerel:
- Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA)
- B- and D-Vitamins
Most individuals can easily digest chicken. Because of this, chicken is the most reliable meat to break a fast with. Additionally, you can have it as chicken soup, which is great for ending long fasts.
After drinking some broth, you can proceed to eat the chicken meat once your stomach has settled down.
6. Fermented Foods
Kimchi and sauerkraut are examples of fermented foods that contain healthy gut bacteria. This means they deliver good bacteria and digestive enzymes to the gut when swallowed, assisting the digestion process.
Probiotics are healthy bacteria that fight off pathogens and poisons, and they are present in sauerkraut and kimchi. Because it restores intestinal flora after a long fast and strengthens the immune system, sauerkraut is a great food10.
Probiotics also make it a simple food to digest and can also aid in reducing adverse effects like flatulence and constipation11, which is essential when you break a fast.
Smoothies are better than whole fruits and veggies if you want to ease your body back into eating because they have less fiber and are easier on your digestive system.
8. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a fantastic food to take after a fast since they are rich in phosphorus, copper, magnesium, iron, and selenium. Additionally, they are abundant in proteins, good fats, and fats that your body needs to replace after going without meals for a while.
Foods To Avoid While Breaking A Fast
Breaking a fast is an important part of a successful fast. But it isn’t easy, and sometimes you don’t realize the foods you’re eating might have a negative effect on your health and will refrain you from getting the health benefits of intermittent fasting.
Many people will begin their fast by refraining from eating all food for an extended period of time. Some of the foods that are commonly avoided are also things that can cause health problems when consumed during a fast such as:
1. Raw Cruciferous Vegetables
Raw cruciferous vegetables will be particularly difficult to digest. They are high in fiber, which could make digestion challenging. In reality, it is well known that cruciferous vegetables contain difficult-to-digest trisaccharide raffinose12.
All that vegetable matter ends up in the big intestine, where it ferments since our small intestines lack the a-Gal enzyme required to break it down. Gas and bloating may result from this, which may be particularly unpleasant after a fast.
Consider steaming or sautéing the vegetables first as they can be a little easier on your digestive system.
2. Processed and High-glycemic Carbohydrates
Be gentle with your blood sugar as you break a fast and avoid abrupt spikes. Following a fast, your body may be particularly sensitive to carbohydrates, so consuming plenty of processed or added sugars may cause your insulin levels to soar.
Carbohydrates that are highly processed, high glycemic, and nutrient-deficient, such as those in pastries, crackers, pasta, chips, and candies, offer little nutritional value to humans and, more critically, might set off physiological functions that could later result in chronic disease.
3. Lactose and Dairy Products
After a fast, avoid high-lactose dairy products. Milk, yogurt, and ice cream are examples of this. If you are one of the many people already having difficulties digesting lactose, this could worsen after a prolonged fast.
Therefore, begin with dairy-free goods or, at the very least, low-lactose dairy products like butter, hard cheeses, and lactose-free milk.
Alcohol should be avoided when breaking a fast. This is because excessive alcohol consumption could lead to ketoacidosis, a condition in which blood ketones are dangerously high, and blood glucose levels are dangerously low.
Vomiting and stomach pain are ketoacidosis symptoms. While alcohol abusers and those who are overly dependent on alcohol are more prone to experience the illness, it is also possible if you undereat or fast, then consume large amounts of alcohol with little to no food intake afterward, to have ketoacidosis13,14.
5. Foods High in Lectins
Common foods with lectins include baked products, and cereals, particularly whole grain, eggplants, beans, chili, cashews, peanuts, potatoes, soy, and tomatoes.
Plant toxins known as lectins can affect your intestinal wall and are toxic to you gut. For instance, it is recognized that the most common lectin, gluten, can result in a leaky gut15.
You want to take precautions by avoiding lectins after fasting because of this.
6. Starchy Cooked Vegetables
You shouldn’t eat starch when you’ve just started eating again after long intermittent fasting since it is difficult for your digestive system.
Since starchy vegetables are higher in carbohydrates, they can cause you blood sugar to spike. When you’ve ended intermittent fasting, stay away from foods like corn, potatoes, beets, squash, and even green peas.
The Refeeding Syndrome
What is it?
Refeeding syndrome refers to the potentially fatal changes in fluid and electrolyte balance that can occur in malnourished people16.
Refeeding syndrome is a condition that can occur in those who are malnourished, hungry, or metabolically stressed following the reintroduction of food. It is one of the side effects of resuming food consumption after intermittent fasting periods.
Insulin production is reactivated during the refeeding period in response to the newly raised blood sugar. Ions like phosphate, potassium, or magnesium are necessary for this action. But because the body is already depleted, this presents a problem because there aren’t enough ions in the blood17.
Symptoms Of Refeeding Syndrome
- Hypophosphatemia is characterized by extremely low blood phosphorus levels. Your entire body’s cellular activities are impacted by phosphate deficiency. This could lead to muscle weakness, trouble breathing, double vision, swallowing problems, seizures, coma, and cardiomyopathy (heart weakness)18.
- Blood potassium, calcium, and magnesium levels are low. Hypokalemia, a mild potassium deficit, may not show any symptoms. But a more serious deficiency could lead to muscle weakness, muscle cramps, fatigue, severe constipation due to paralyzed bowel movement, arrhythmia, and respiratory failure19.
- Magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesemia) may cause nausea, anorexia, tremors, muscle spasms, seizures, and even comas19.
- Subsequently, the syndrome results in irregularities of the heart, breathing, cardiac failure, and convulsions19.
- The refeeding of carbs is particularly responsible for triggering thiamine deficit (vitamin B1 deficiency). It may cause serious neurological symptoms like delirium, vision problems, hypothermia, amnesia, ataxia (balance and coordination problems), and Confabulation (creating false memories)19.
- A person’s body’s sodium and water balance can be impacted by metabolic changes. This can result in dehydration or fluid overload upon refeeding. This may lead to hypotension (low blood pressure), muscle spasms, kidney dysfunction, congestive cardiac (heart) failure, and seizures19.
- Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) may result after refeeding with glucose. This may lead to blurred vision, fatigue, frequent urination, and headache19.
- It can result in various symptoms, including confusion, weakness, malaise, seizures, high blood pressure, breathing difficulties or breathing problems, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, comas, and even death. These signs typically show up two to four days after the refeeding begins19.
Ways To Avoid Refeeding Syndrome
- While breaking a fast, stay away from foods high in carbohydrates and high-sugar foods.
- It is always preferable to consult a medical professional before beginning any fast.
- Maintaining fluids while on fasting periods.
- A medical professional should monitor any fast lasting more than three days.
- If you experience any of these symptoms, immediately seek medical supervision.
Intermittent fasting has numerous positive health benefits, including the possibility of weight loss. Even though the fasting part of it is significant, what you eat to break your fast is even more crucial since the food you eat shortly after the fast can nullify or enhance its positive benefits.
Your focus should be on easy-to-digest foods that won’t overwhelm your body when you’re breaking a fast. You want to ease your body back into the entire digestive process because it has gone a while without digesting anything.
Ultimately, the foods that are recommended might be the best but it is not a strict rule for you to follow. Break your fast whichever fits you best but be mindful to include the recommended list above and avoid high-carb meals, processed foods, and high-sugar foods.
Most importantly, before anything else, start intermittent fasting with the guidance of a medical professional. Listen to your body and immediately seek medical help if you notice some concerns.
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