9 foods you can eat during intermittent fasting

If you aim to lose weight, intermittent fasting is clearly not new to you. This type of diet is one of the most popular health and fitness methods that surely can give you positive results when appropriately followed. 

Basically, intermittent fasting is not just used to regulate weight gain, but it also improves health and builds better eating habits. In fact, many studies have proven the powerful effects of intermittent fasting.

What is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting refers to an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. Your eating time is being scheduled in a way that you will be fasting and gorging food. Historically, fasting has been a practice since ancient times. This is because normally, at that time, people didn’t have stores or supermarkets for goods, refrigerators to preserve or food available year-round. Hence, they were left to do fasting, even for a long period of time [1]. 

9 foods to eat when on intermittent fasting

The truth is intermittent fasting is much more sensitive to your eating pattern rather than the actual food you eat. Although, like any other diet plan and method, the goals are to lose weight, improve your wellness and become healthier. Hence, eating a set of quality foods with your intermittent fasting is most effective for you. Eating these 9 foods while following an intermittent fasting method can surely help you hit your fitness goal. 

1. Lean proteins

The feeling like your stomach is full can prevent you from consuming more food–and lean proteins can give you just that, most significantly, as you will be fasting for most of the time. With this full feeling, you will restrict yourself from eating. 

Moreover, protein is essential to your overall health, regardless if you are on a diet or not. Proteins in your body help you build immune health and maintain muscle mass. Generally, muscle plays an important role in optimising blood sugar balance and keeping your metabolism fast. Without enough proteins in your body can lead you to frailty, higher blood sugar and weight gain, 

Some examples of lean proteins that you can definitely eat during intermittent fasting are chicken breast, plain Greek yoghurt, beans, tofu and tempeh. Red meats are also part of proteins; however, eating a lot of fatty ones, like bacon and sausage, may put you at risk of cardiovascular diseases due to high fat and LDL cholesterol [2]. 

2. ‌‌‌‌Fish and other seafood

During your feeding time, eating fish and other seafood can be a great idea. Salmon and sardines are two of the most helpful to add to your diet as they are high in omega-3 fats and even protein, which can help in boosting health and reduce cellular inflammation. Some other kinds of fish and seafood you can consume are anchovies, crab, lobster, mackerel, mussels, oysters, rainbow trout and shrimp. 

3. Fruits with low sugar

Like any other dietary plan and method, fruits are essential in intermittent fasting. Fruits are jam-packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibre, which are vital in sustaining your health while fasting. With the nutritional value of fruits, eating them can aid in lowering cholesterol levels, controlling blood sugar levels and maintaining bowel health. Plus, fruits are generally delicious snacks with low calories; hence, you can eat them without guilt. 

Nonetheless, a tricky thing with fruits is that they can be really sweet, loaded with fruit sugar called fructose. Overconsumption can give you metabolic health issues and may negatively impact your intermittent fasting results [3]. Hence, better choose the ones that have low to medium amounts of sugar. Some fruits you can consume during your feeding time are apples, oranges, peaches, grapefruits, kiwi, pears, blackberries, strawberries, avocados, tomatoes, lemons, apricots, blueberries and melons. 

4. Vegetables

Of course, vegetables should be part of your diet plan. They serve as prebiotics in our digestive system, feeding your good gut bacteria for optimal function. Experts suggest that adding leafy greens to your diet decreases your risk of having heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and cognitive decline. Some vegetables you should add to your meals are carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, kale, spinach, seaweed, cabbage, arugula, Brussels sprouts, celery and asparagus [4].

5. Whole grains

Here’s another nutrient beneficial for your intermittent fasting–whole grains, which offers a complete package of health benefits for your body. 

There are three parts of whole grains, such as bran, germ and endosperm. The bran provides B vitamins, copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants and phytochemicals. While the germ offers healthy fats, vitamin E, B vitamins; and the endosperm gives carbohydrates, protein and small amounts of some B vitamins and minerals [5]. Overall, every part of whole grains is distinctively health beneficial. 

Some whole grains you can consume are organic oatmeal, organic millet, organic quinoa, organic brown rice, organic black rice and organic wild rice. 

6. ‌‌‌‌Beans and legumes

Eating beans and legumes in your feeding schedule is an excellent strategy while on intermittent fasting. These two are loaded with fibre, antioxidants, protein, B vitamins and other vitamins and minerals that your body needs while it follows your new eating pattern. 

Furthermore, beans and legumes can aid in balancing blood sugar, reducing LDL cholesterol and promoting gut health. Plus, it keeps hunger and cravings at bay which is perfect during your fasting. Examples of beans and legumes are black beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), green beans, lima beans, kidney beans and lentils.

7. Healthy fats

Generally, for people who aim to lose weight, fats can be a bad thing. However, healthy fats are essential for your body to function correctly. They are needed to support cellular health, energy and hormone production. It also helps in insulation that keeps you warm and protects your organs. 

Additionally, healthy fats should be added to your diet as they are necessary for metabolising fat-soluble nutrients, including vitamin D, vitamin E and multivitamins. In digesting herbs and spices like turmeric and rosemary, healthy fats should be present as well. These nutrients from vitamins need fat to be absorbed by your body. 

Some sources of healthy fats are olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, ghee, avocados, nuts and nut butter, chia seeds, flaxseeds and olives. 

8. ‌‌‌‌Herbs and spices

Herbs and spices provide a potent, powerful and anti-inflammatory impact on your health. Yes, those that make your food more delicious are also needed in your diet, so don’t cut them out entirely. Herbs and spices help in optimising your intermittent fasting; hence, you must still add them to your meals. 

These herbs and spices can be turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, sage, rosemary and thyme. 

9. Probiotics 

Probiotic foods can be really helpful during your intermittent fasting. It generally helps you to have good digestion and metabolism. Experts suggest that probiotics balance the levels of useful gut bacteria and reduce irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). While on intermittent fasting, probiotics can improve your glucose tolerance, helping you to achieve weight loss. 

Foods to avoid when on intermittent fasting

Aside from eating quality foods, it is significant as well to avoid harmful ones. You must prevent yourself from eating foods that are calorie-dense and contain high amounts of added sugar, saturated fat and salt, including snack chips, pretzels, cookies, crackers, candies, cakes and sugary cereals with little fibre and granola. Also, avoid drinking fruit beverages and high-sweetened coffee and tea. 

Common methods of intermittent fasting 

The main concept of intermittent fasting is to have a time-dependable eating pattern. Following this idea, several methods of intermittent fasting emerged based on the frequency and schedule of your eating. These are the following: 

  • Alternate-day fasting – In this method, you should choose which days to eat or which not. Eating and food restriction is practised each day alternately, whether you fast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the rest you will be eating with 25 percent of your daily calorie needs. 
  • Whole-day fasting – this one is much more intense because you will have at least one to two days per week of complete fasting, while on the other days, you will have no food restriction. You can also choose not to completely fast the whole day but to eat only 25 percent of your daily calorie needs. One example of this is the 5:2 diet approach which practises a cycle of five days of no food restriction and two days of calorie restrictions to 400 to 50 calories per day. 
  • Time-restricted feeding – this method of intermittent fasting is the most common one where you strictly follow a meal plan every day. Each day, there is a designated time frame for fasting and eating [6]. 

[1] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/intermittent-fasting-guide 
[2] https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/articles/how-much-protein-do-i-need 
[3] https://www.jci.org/articles/view/96702
[4] https://health.usnews.com/wellness/food/slideshows/healthy-fall-vegetables-you-should-eat 
[5] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/whole-grains/ 
[6] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/intermittent-fasting/ 

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