Food & Recipes

Here Are The Best (And Worst) Foods To Eat On An Empty Stomach

Refuel without upsetting your stomach.

When we think about diet, we usually tend to focus on what we eat, not how and when we eat it. However, good digestion is important to our health, and in order to keep ourselves feeling good, maximize absorption of nutrients and to keep everything in our body in balance, it’s useful to pay attention to how you eat certain foods. That’s why it’s important to know what is best for your stomach—especially when it’s empty.

Whether you’re waking up first thing in the morning or haven’t eaten in hours after a long day, here are some of the best and worst foods for an empty stomach.

Foods To Eat

1. Nuts

Nuts are a great choice, especially if you are particularly hungry. Choices such as almonds and walnuts are not only filling, but they are filled with heart-healthy fats and other important nutrients, and they tend not to irritate the stomach.

Flickr | Angela Mueller

2. Vegetables

Many vegetables are empty-stomach friendly, especially if they are cooked, which helps reduce your chance of having gas later. If you’re sensitive to gas or bloating, steer clear of cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, and stick to other, easier-to-digest veggies such as carrots.

Flickr | Personal Creations

3. Slice Of Cheese

If you’re someone who easily suffers from indigestion or heartburn, it’s good to have some dairy when there is nothing else in your tummy. If you’re sensitive to dairy, it can help to eat some crackers with your cheese to ease digestion.

Flickr | Pablo BM

RELATED: 6 Vegetables That Have The Most Protein For A Healthy Diet

Foods To Avoid

1. Spicy Foods

Spicy food sure is tasty, but it’s not so easy on the stomach when nothing else is in there. Food with heat can burn the inside lining of your stomach and cause indigestion, so it’s best to eat something else before you pour on the hot sauce.

Flickr | Dan Zen

2. Sugary Fruits

If you haven’t eaten food in a while, fruit may not be your best bet, since its natural sugars can cause a drastic spike and drop in your blood sugar levels. Fruits high in sugar include figs, oranges, grapes and mangos.

Flickr | MAURO CATEB

3. Citrus

In addition to their high sugar content, citrus fruits are also very acidic, which can be hard on the stomach. Citric acid, which is especially high in lemons and limes, can cause stomach cramps or pain, and in some cases, even nausea.

Flickr | Rob & Dani

RELATED: 7 Snacks That Are Okay To Eat Before You Go To Bed

4. Caffeine

It’s not uncommon for people to have coffee or tea first thing in the morning, but you might want to wait until after breakfast to enjoy your favorite drink. Drinks like coffee can stimulate the production of acid, which, in the absence of food, can be damaging to the lining of the stomach. This can give you heartburn and indigestion, and without the presence of food, you’re more likely to feel a racing heartbeat or jitters from the caffeine.

Flickr | wonderferret