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There's never a good time to feel bloated, but if there is one particularly bad time, it would be on your wedding day. Not only can bloat suddenly make your perfectly tailored gown feel ill-fitting, it's also uncomfortable to deal with, both physically and emotionally. To help ensure that you feel your best on your big day, we tapped three health experts for their professional advice on how to beat the bloat.
1. Cut out salty and processed foods at least two weeks before your wedding.
If your wedding is approaching, you might want to think again before digging into that bag of popcorn or even ordering soup for lunch. The reason? Sodium — one of the biggest culprits guaranteed to cause bloating. "Salty foods make your body retain a lot of water," explains Julie Ruelle, Registered Dietitian at VitalJuice. "The foods you'll want to avoid — those with the highest amount of sodium — are processed and packaged foods. Cut out anything that comes in a bag, can, or box from your diet for at least two weeks to combat that annoying water weight."
2. Ditch hard-to-digest foods in the days leading up to the big one.
Sluggish digestion is another common cause of bloating, explains Dr. Robynne Chutkan, a gastroenterologist and author of Gutbliss. "Foods that are high in gluten or dairy are some of the most difficult ones for our bodies to digest, and can lead to noticeable bloating." To ensure a flat tummy (and prevent other unpleasant digestive issues) on your big day, Chutkan recommends cutting back on dairy products and grains the week of your wedding.
Something else to avoid? Artificial sweeteners. "Brides who want to cut down on sugar consumption might be tempted to switch to sweeteners such as Splenda or Equal," Chutkan notes. "However, while these products are technically zero-calorie, they cannot be digested and instead end up fermenting, which leads to unpleasant outcomes such as cramping, gas, and bloating."
3. Eat slowly and purposefully.
Bloating isn't just caused by what you eat, but how you eat. "If you're eating too quickly or talking while you're eating, you're actually ingesting air which can get trapped in your stomach and cause bloating," explains Chutkan.
Clinical nutritionist Kimberly Snyder adds: "When you eat too quickly, your brain doesn't have the time to catch up to your stomach, to tell you that you're full. By the time your brain has caught on, you've probably overeaten, which will make you feel completely bloated."
4. Avoid carbonated drinks the morning of your wedding.
Limit fizzy drinks the morning of your wedding, advises Snyder. "Carbonated soft drinks have air bubbles that travel to the stomach and create an uncomfortable bloated feeling. If you crave something more flavorful, add lemon to your water, or try a tea."
5. De-bloat with these foods.
By this point, it might seem like anything you eat could potentially cause bloating. The good news? Even if you are feeling a little puffy, there are some foods that'll help you get back to your hot self, fast. If you feel like indigestion is causing that extra bloat, Chutkan recommends chewing a few fennel seeds or making fennel tea. The herb helps to enhance digestion and get things moving.
If you didn't heed the sodium warnings, Ruelle advises combating your bloat with fruits and vegetables high in potassium, which helps to balance salt levels. Try a beet juice or green juice for the easiest solution. And lastly, help flush out some water weight by drinking water with 100 percent cranberry juice, recommends Snyder. Cranberry acts like a natural diuretic and can do wonders for de-puffing your stomach.