Fasting and intermittent fasting have gained a lot of popularity recently, but the practice is ancient. Unfortunately, if you don’t do it right, there are plenty of potential unpleasant side effects, like nausea. Does that mean you shouldn’t fast? On the positive side, there are ways to manage your fasting to prevent symptoms for most people. You should be able to fast safely with the right preparations and practice. No one should start an extended fast without working their way up to it since that’s essentially starving your body without warning, which can be quite a shock to your system. Nausea isn’t the only thing that can go wrong if you try that route. However, once you’ve learned to fast safely, you can do your body a great deal of good with a properly maintained fasting. It can cleanse your system and help you get on track to your health goals.
How to Avoid Nausea While Fasting
Any time you change your eating schedule, it can lead to discomfort, and fasting is a drastic change that can lead to nausea, headaches, and other issues. By working your way up slowly, you can help prevent these issues. Start with shorter periods of fasting, just a few hours. As your body adapts, you’ll be more able to cope.
While a little discomfort isn’t a big deal, some side effects of fasting can be more problematic. Headaches, dehydration, dizziness, and nausea can all substantially interfere with your health. While a headache is easily managed with some water or an OTC painkiller, the rest can have more serious results.
Intriguingly, dehydration, dizziness, and nausea often have the same solution while fasting. Drinking more water will certainly help. However, adding an electrolyte solution is also an excellent way to continue feeling your best while fasting. By increasing your hydration level, it can help fill your stomach without calories and thus prevent that dizziness.
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Another essential component of healthy fasting is meeting your calorie needs. Because fasting is the opposite of eating on a traditional schedule, making sure you have all the calories, vitamins, minerals, and protein you need is doubly important. Never skip a meal between fasts, especially if you’re doing intermittent fasting.
A multivitamin and mineral supplement is a good start. However, especially for women, it’s also vital to make sure you’re correctly supporting your bone and blood health. Extra calcium, vitamin D3, and other boosters are a good idea.
Speak to your primary care physician about finding the right balance for your body. Additionally, it may help to discuss your needs with a dietitian. They can help you create a meal plan that doesn’t miss out on anything you need for when you are not fasting.
By giving your body everything it needs, you’ll be better prepared for a fast. Plus, you’ll be much less likely to feel nauseous when your body has all it needs before you begin. Likewise, make sure you wholly and slowly recover afterward by eating and drinking what you need to remain healthy.
Why You Feel Nauseous When Breaking Your Fast
Short and long fasts are different, but either one can cause nausea as you break your fast. Because your body has gone without food for a period, your stomach thinks you’re starving. Naturally, it will send a signal to your brain, demanding you eat as much food as quickly as possible. If you were actually dying, such a reaction could save your life, but such is not the case with voluntary fasting.
Adding foods that upset an empty stomach like sugar and high carb foods can cause nausea. Even after a short fast, you need a low-carb, higher-fat meal to aid in digestion. Make sure you get plenty of fluids as well. This is a perfect opportunity to practice mindful eating.
When you’ve fasted for a more extended period, the number of digestive enzymes your body produces is probably lower than usual. As a result, your stomach cannot process too much food at one time. Thus, you get nauseous.
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Breaking Short Vs. Long Fasts
The definition of a short fast varies by a few hours, but usually, any amount of time under twenty-four hours is considered a short fast. When you go to bed at night, you enter a short fasting period. Hence the term breakfast, which used to mean the first meal you eat after not eating for a while, though the modern term usually means a morning meal.
Most of the time, you don’t need any particular special diet for braking a short fast. Remember to eat slowly and avoid over-processed and sugary foods as a general rule. However, a longer fast requires more caution.
When you’ve been fasting for thirty-six hours or more, your body has undergone adaptive adjustments. Instead of focussing energy on digestive enzymes, your system has put energy toward other needs. Resultantly many of the well known positive side effects of fasting are heightened.
To break your longer fast, choose smaller amounts of low-carb, no sugar foods. Especially if you’re new to the long term fasting, you may experience some intestinal distress. Nausea, diarrhea, and gas pains are all standard. As you practice more regular fasting, your body will learn not to stop producing these necessary enzymes.
Side Effects of Fasting & How to Manage Them
To avoid nausea while fasting, you need just a few simple, common-sense steps. By planning your fast in advance, you can help your body prevent discomfort and pain. Follow the steps below to manage the side effects of fasting.
- Make sure you have eaten sufficient calories before you fast. Getting the appropriate vitamins and minerals, plus an adequate balance of healthy fats, carbohydrates, protein, and vegetables will help. Don’t over-eat.
- Start slowly. Fasting for a few hours at first and working your way up to more long-term fasting will help your body prepare for the new eating schedule and minimize the side effects.
- Hydrate and use calorie-free electrolytes. Avoiding dehydration is essential, and water will help your stomach feel full even when you are not eating food.
- Make sure you eat a sensible, slow meal to break your fast. Healthy fats like avocado can help prevent stomach issues.
Just as you should work your way up to lifting heavier weights at a gym, fasting requires a workup. Likewise, as you should practice recovery after a hard workout, your body needs recovery fluids and foods after fasting. Take your time and do things right for the best overall results.
Benefits of Fasting
There are so many touted benefits to fasting. It can be hard to figure out what’s real and what is merely hype. Fortunately, there are many scientifically proven benefits to fasting. Since these have all been studied relatively extensively, you can rely on those results even if the other so-called benefits are questionable.
- According to Healthline, Alternate-Day-Fasting reduces LDL cholesterol and blood triglycerides.
- Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve brain function and brain structure. This benefit could lead to lowered chances of neurodegenerative disorders.
- Alternate day fasting may reduce tumor formation, aid in preventing cancer, and even make chemotherapy more effective.
- Fasting can help with weight loss by reducing calorie intake and raising metabolism.
- Reduced aging was observed in a study where rats fasted every other day. They not only saw less age-related degeneration but also lived substantially longer lives.
- By increasing insulin resistance, fasting can aid in blood health. Moreover, fasting may reduce the risk of diabetes. However, it is critical to discuss fasting with your doctor if you have preexisting health conditions.
Adding fasting as part of your overall healthy lifestyle decisions can undoubtedly help you stay healthy. As it turns out, you might live longer and keep your wits about you much better as well.
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There’s nothing wrong with a good fast, but you need to work your way up slowly to avoid nausea and other complications. Using this ancient practice to clean out your body, spend your energy doing things other than digesting, and feel better is healthy. Unfortunately, shock-starving yourself is not healthy.
By taking the time to work your way up to a proper fast, you can fast much more effectively. However, keep in mind that you should always talk to your doctor before making a drastic change in your diet. More importantly, if you have unpleasant side effects, stop immediately.
Fasting without nausea can be a challenge at first, but it’s well worth the effort. By cleansing your system, you may find you feel invigorated, and it can help manage many health conditions.