Garlic isn't in there, obvs
You’ve met someone you fancy, organised the time and location of your date, chosen an outfit and done your hair and make-up. But it’s not only looks and logistics that can affect the date success – but also the foods you eat beforehand.
Whether lining your stomach, de-stressing yourself or keeping your breath fresh, the foods you eat can play a huge part in the success of your date – so don’t forget to follow these nutritionists’ top tips to feel and look great the next time a Tinder conversation actually leads to a hot date.
Why: To keep stress at bay
Tell us more: ‘One of the key things to realise is that stress and anxiety can be fuelled by eating the wrong types of food,’ explains Shona Wilkinson, head nutritionist at www.nutricentre.com. ‘Stick to snacks that don’t raise your blood sugar too quickly such as nuts including almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts, as these contain some protein and good fats that will reduce your cravings. They are also a good source of magnesium, which helps with efficient energy production while also being calming to the nervous system.’
Eat: Salmon and olives
Why: To line your stomach
Tell us more: We’ve all been there – you want to be wined and dined, but end up just being wined. Make sure you’ve eaten the right foods before to avoid all that Sauvignon Blanc going to your head. ‘Overall, it’s important that you do eat before drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol and additionally reduce the irritation that it causes to the stomach,’ Wilkinson says. ‘Include healthy fats such as salmon or olive oil dressing to slow absorption of alcohol, thereby slowing the work for your liver. Don’t have time for a meal? Snack on olives before you go out.’
Eat: Crunchy fruit and vegetables
Why: To keep your breath fresh
Tell us more: Even if you’ve got a rule about not kissing on the first date, you never know what can happen when things go well. If you haven’t got any gum to hand, make sure the food you’re eating promotes fresh bresh. ‘Carrots, apples and celery can help scrape out the plague build-ups that can cause bad breath,’ says nutritionist Cassandra Barns. ‘Apart from being nutritious and healthy, these crunchy foods can also boost production of saliva, which fights bacteria. In addition, celery is a natural diuretic so it will help to fight water retention and bloating.’ You should also make sure you’ve drunk enough water, as dehydration is one of the most common causes of bad breath. ‘If you are one of those people who survive on coffee and forget about topping up their water bottle you are most likely to develop bad breath during the day,’ Wilkinson says. ‘Our saliva is a natural antiseptic and it plays a crucial role in breaking down food particles trapped within dental crevices, protecting teeth from bacterial decay. However, in order for your body to produce enough of it, you must be drinking plenty of water throughout the day, otherwise microbes in our mouth will feed on food pieces and release by-products, causing odour at the same time.’ You heard the experts: top up that water bottle.
Eat: Legumes and kimchi
Why: To keep your belly flat
Tell us more: The last thing you need when trying to squeeze into your new outfit is unwanted bloating, so eat plenty of vegetables the day before your date. ‘They consist of amylose, which is a resistant starch – so called because it is resistant to stomach acid and digestive enzymes and it reaches the large intestine essentially intact, so it manages to escape digestion and absorption in the small intestine,’ says nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville. ‘It almost behaves like fibre, providing bulk for the bowel motion and fuel for the beneficial bacteria. This good quality protein slows down the rate that stomach processes food and delays the passage of the carbohydrates with it. As soon as you add a protein (be it animal or vegetable) to a carbohydrate, you change it into a slower releasing carbohydrate that keep your sugar levels at bay.’
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Eat: Chocolate and oysters
Why: To get in the mood
Tell us more: Sometimes, no matter how much you like your date and no matter how psyched you were before, you’re just not in the mood to get all dressed up and go out for dinner. Food – and yummy food – can help you. ‘Have a couple of squares of dark chocolate,’ Wilkinson advises. ‘Chocolate contains several substances that may improve mood. These include phenylethylamine, which can act as a brain neurotransmitter and affect your mood and pleasure. Chocolate also contains magnesium, one of the nutrients needed for production of serotonin, the primary hormone responsible for good mood. Eating any food that you enjoy also stimulates endorphin release, which makes you feel good.’ And if the date ends up with a little bedroom action, you can rely on food to help the vibe too. ‘Certain nutrients and herbs can be extremely helpful if your sex drives needs a boost,’ adds Dr Glenville. ‘Zinc is essential for hormone balance and sex drive, hence the old wives’ tale of using oysters (which contain high amounts of zinc) as an aphrodisiac.’