Make up? Tick! Outfit? Ready! Hair? Sorted! First dates can be nerve wrecking and they take a long time to prepare for.
However, it’s not only our look that can boost confidence. We asked Nutritionist, Shona Wilkinson, to tell us what are the best foods we should eat before a date to feel fabulous!
To de stress yourself: nuts
We all get the first date jitters. ‘One of the key things to realise is that stress and anxiety can be fuelled by eating the wrong types of food. 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.’ explains Shona Wilkinson,
Head Nutritionist at www.nutricentre.com
To line your stomach: salmon and olives
If you are seeing him for cocktails make sure your belly is ready for alcoholic drinks. ‘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. 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.’ explains Wilkinson
To keep your breath fresh: crunchy fruit and vegetables
‘Carrots, apples and celery can help scrape out the plague build-ups that can cause bad breath. 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.’ says Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
Don’t forget to drink! (only water at this point though). ‘Dehydration is one of the most common reasons 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. 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 odor at the same time.’ adds Wilkinson
To keep your belly flat: Legumes and kimchi
You want to look your best in your LBD. Bloated belly is not an option! Try to include legumes in your diet before the big day. ‘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 intenstine. 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.’ explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist (www.marilynglenville.com).
‘To balance your gut flora and keep your belly flat and happy consider a good quality live bacteria supplement, such as ProVen’s Adult 25 Billion (www.provenprobiotics.co.uk, £13.95) and include fermented foods in your daily diet. Go for natural yoghurt, miso soup, sauerkraut, kimchi and kambucha.’ Advises Adrienne Benjamin, Nutritionist at ProVen Probiotics
To get in the mood: chocolate and oysters
Not in a mood for a date? Too late to cancel? ‘Have a couple of squares of dark chocolate. 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.’ says Wilkinson.
‘Certain nutrients and herbs can be extremely helpful if your sex drives needs a boost. 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.’ adds Dr Glenville.