You've juice-cleansed and kick-boxed your way into your best shape ever—the last thing you want to do is unravel all that hard work days before your wedding by noshing or sipping something that will puff you up. And surprise, surprise: Even healthy stuff like dried fruits and raw veggies can cause bloat. Another unexpected food fact? What you eat doesn't only effect your belly — it takes a toll on your skin and hair too!
Obviously on your big day, you want your skin to glow and your hair to shine as much as possible. Brides Live Wedding sponsor Neutrogena makeup artist Amy Oresman says there are two major things to avoid: sugar and sodium. "By reducing your intake of just these two things, you can improve your complexion dramatically in only a few weeks," said Orsenman. "That really translates to two simple things: drink water as your only beverage, and cut salt from your diet in the two to three weeks before your wedding." Neutrogena hairstylist Sam Leonardi also suggests avoiding grease. "Greasy foods can also make your hair harder to style, so swap sugars, refined and processed foods with healthier options."
Another good gastronomic tip? The brighter the produce the better, says Orsenman. "They're filled with antioxidants and are low in sodium. Even better, they'll fill you up, and contribute to a healthy complexion."
After chatting with three experts—a trainer, a nutrition guru and an integrative wellness doc—we've compiled this handy list of Big Day Food Don'ts. Consider yourself warned.
Fake sweetners like sortbitol and aspartame are crazy hard to digest. Fizzy diet soda is doubly nasty. "Bubbles equal gas," says Los Angeles nutrionist Jackie Keller.
Lose that pack of spearmint! Every time you chew, you're swallowing air—and puffing up your belly.
Sure, beer will expand your waistline, but a glass of cabernet? Turns out red wine contains unfermented yeast, a notorious bloater. "Because it's less processed, the high-end stuff is especially bad," says Keller. "Booze bloats the belly and face," says trainer Will Torres, "so hold off until the toasts."
Packed with vitamins and minerals, these portable treats should, in theory, make the perfect snack. Not so much, says Torres: "They're basically concentrated bundles of fructose, a kind of sugar that causes water retention and gas."
Superfoods can also make you super bloated. Take cruciferous vegetables like kale, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and broccoli: They're loaded with cellulose, a type of fiber our stomachs struggle to break down. Consider switching to water-rich vegetables like celery, cucumber, and asparagus just before your wedding, says integrative-wellness guru Frank Lipman: "They act as a diuretic, so you'll actually shed water weight."
Cheddar (& Other Kinds of Super-Salty) Cheese
According to a U.K. health study, cheddar has more salt per ounce than potato chips—and feta and Roquefort are saltier than seawater! (Sodium makes the bod hold water—definitely something to avoid.) If cheese is your weakness, stick to varieties with a lower salt content, like mozzarella, Swiss or goat.
Coffee and Other Buzzy Bevvies
That daily 4pm Starbucks run is not only messing with your sleep, it's also making you acidic, which can puff up your belly. "Caffeine is a gift and a curse," says trainer Will Torres. "Used in moderation it can curb your appetite and help keep you focused at work. But when you have more than a cup a day you run the risk of making your body very acidic. The more acidic your body becomes, the more fat it hangs onto."
Granola, by the Bar or by the Box
Hefty doses of carbs and sugar make granola a decidedly less-than-healthy breakfast or snack choice. The over-the-top sugar levels in standard supermarket granola spikes your insulin levels, causing you to crave even more sweetness. Carbs can also be a waistline-wrecker; certain types—especially wheat, rye and barley—are notoriously hard to digest.
Dairy-Based Smoothie + Straw = Bloat Central
Although there's debate in the medical community over whether dairy itself is bloating, wellness doc Frank Lipman firmly believes it is. (Blame all those hard-to-digest milk proteins.) Add a straw to a dairy-based drink and you're asking for double trouble. Why? Because you're sucking in air alongside that smoothie.
Okay, so maybe this one isn't such a stretch. Still, it's nice to know exactly why sweet baked goodies puff you up like the Michelin Man. "Sugar is very inflammatory to the body," says Torres. "It causes it to swell, and look and feel bloated."