Foods you should and shouldn’t eat after breaking a water fast

So you’ve had exclusively water for quite some time and now it’s breakfast — or break fast if it’s not the morning. But what should you eat now? It’s important not to reload your body with the wrong things, and it’s also important not to reload the wrong way. Perhaps most importantly, though, you need to be aware that while there are some health benefits associated with water fasting, the risks and dangers can be quite high, including dehydration, worsening of medical symptoms, muscle loss, and other health concerns (via Healthline).

After a brief water fast, some ideal foods to eat for your first meal are: vitamin-rich juices, raw fruits and veggies, broths, fermented foods like unsweetened yogurt and kefir, leafy greens, starchy veggies like potatoes, and healthy fats like avocados, eggs, and coconut oil. These foods are easy to digest and packed with all sorts of nutrients your body needs after going without food. For your second meal you’d be wise to eat things like beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds, as well as meat and poultry (via VitaCost).

The dos and don'ts of breaking a fast

When coming out of a longer fast, it is recommended that you gradually add food back into the diet day-by-day. Livestrong suggests that on day one after a water fast, a blend of water and sugar-free juice high that’s in vitamins can be consumed in the morning, and broth soups can be added the second part of the day. On day two, continue with liquids and add in some yogurts and dairy in the evening. On day three, eat fresh produce, soup, and dairy, then add in meats and eggs in the evening. On the last day, eat whatever you want, though you’ll probably want to avoid junk food and the like, for obvious reasons.

There are some definite don’ts when beginning to eat again after a water fast. This is especially important if you are coming out of a long period of fasting (five or more days). There can be some serious health consequences for incorrect refeeding. It is recommended that before and after partaking in a long fast you check in with a doctor, as one of the most serious problems that can occur is an illness called refeeding syndrome, which can cause severe and dangerous effects to your heart, kidneys, nervous system and more (via Medical News Today). 

What not to eat after a fast

Fasting plans don’t focus too much on what not to eat after the whole thing is over, but it’s certainly not an excuse to binge on junk. Eating unhealthy, highly processed food, and foods high in sugar and fat will undo whatever health benefits you obtained from the process, plus could cause bloating and discomfort. It’s always best to eat nutrient-dense, soothing foods in small portions as you ease back into a regular diet (via Healthline).

Furthermore, when you’ve been fasting for a longer period, your intestinal tract loses some of it’s protective layers, leaving it more sensitive. It’s important that fruit is not the first thing you eat. The sugar in fruit is difficult for your body to process and can irritate your gut, causing uncomfortable side effects. Protein shakes and dairy are also out as a first meal, because they too can irritate your vulnerable intestines. And lastly, cruciferous veggies are not a great option for the very first snack after a fast, because they basically encourage gas in your gut (via Hylete).

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