Ban the bloat for your big day

Profressional nutritionists Wedding Wellness explain how to avoid untimely bloating on your wedding day

woman with hands on her belly

One of the most common digestive complaints is bloating, an uncomfortable, sometimes heavy sensation that can follow after eating a meal that for some, also results in feeling tired, unable to concentrate and having a physically noticeable bloated tummy. Not symptoms you want to endure on any day, let alone on one as special as your wedding.

There are many possible causes of bloating, some of which come with additional digestive complaints such as pain, constipation and flatulence – usually an indication of poor gut health. These symptoms are usually referred to as IBS by doctors, but may also be the result of intolerances, allergies or other gut disease. There are however some simple, everyday things you can consider to help reduce that after-meal bloat. County Wedding Magazines' beauty and wellness editor, Kelly Andrews, chatted to Minal Sudra and Elizabeth Andrews from Wedding Wellness to find out more.

CHEW PROPERLY
Most of us chow down through conversation, mid emails or in front of the telly without giving much thought to chewing our food. But, there are enzymes in the mouth that kick start digestion and if you haven't allowed enough time for them to work in the mouth, it can make life more difficult for the rest of the gut to properly break down food, leading to irritation and bloating. Aim to chew each bite 20 to 30 times to allow the gut to digest with ease.

EAT AWAY FROM DISTRACTIONS
Focussing on food in front of you not only helps you to taste it better, your brain also has the chance to engage with what you see and smell before the first bite. Without the distraction of something else, potentially stressful, such as work emails, social media, or the latest crime drama on TV, your body is in a state of calm referred to as "rest and digest," which is optimal at meal times. An otherwise engaged body won't produce enough stomach acid to properly break down food, which may result in bloating and irritation. Take a proper lunch break, sit at the dining table without the TV on and put your phone away to allow your gut to concentrate on doing its thing.

START WITH SOMETHING BITTER
Ever wondered why a bitter green salad usually accompanies steak, or mint sauce is served with lamb? Bitter foots such as rocket, kale, chicory, lemon and watercress help kick start the digestive process by encouraging stomach acid production. This is especially important for meals that include fats and red meat, which compared to other foods, take longer to break down. Include raw and bitter foods with a lemon or vinegary dressing to start your meal and help your gut prepare for optimal digestion.

AVOID DRINKING WITH MEALS
It's important for the stomach to be very acidic when digesting food, but drinking lots of liquid between mouthfuls can lower the concentration of acid, reducing the rate at which the gut digests. It's recommended to drink 20 to 30 minutes before or after a meal to aid efficient digestion and prevent bloating. If you do like to drink with your food, stick to smaller sips rather than large gulps.

LOOK OUT FOR PATTERNS
If you tend to feel bloated after most meals, take note of what might be causing it. Some common culprits can be gluten or wheat, dairy, sugar, or fat-heavy foods such as red meat and fried foods. Compare how you feel when you don't eat these items to get an idea of triggers or possible intolerances. Speak to a health professional for tailored advice and support on how to improve your symptoms with functional testing available for further insight.

CONTACT OUR EXPERTS
Wedding Wellness offers bespoke services for brides, grooms and couples, to help you reach your health and wellness goals in the lead up to your big day. Always consult a professional if you have any specifi c skin concerns or medical conditions for personalised support. Check out www.wedding-wellness.co.uk

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