Dr Dawn Harper, health expert on the award winning British TV show ‘Embarrassing Bodies’ talks us through what we should and shouldn’t eat or drink before, during and after a hot date.
BEFORE THE DATE:
Take a probiotic
If you know that you suffer from wind, taking a probiotic (as a supplement or in your yoghurt or cereal) will help with your digestion.
Beat the bloat
…Constipation causes bloating. If you have a tendency that way, increase the fiber in your diet by eating more fruit and vegetables two to three days before the date.
Fill up on H20
…Drink plenty of fluids throughout date day. A dehydrated mouth is a smelly one.
Don’t drink on an empty stomach
…But if you’re going for dinner, you can’t afford to be too full either. Have something small, like a cookie and a glass of milk to line your stomach.
DURING THE DATE:
Count your units
…A couple of drinks will help you relax and enjoy your evening. Five will impair your judgment.
Avoid gassy foods
…Our body produces around 2 liters of bowel gas a day…but you don’t want to be burping or breaking wind when you’re trying to have a romantic evening- do you? Foods such as beans, pulses, onions, cabbage, sprouts, cauliflower and artichokes increase production of gas- avoid any awkwardness by removing these foods from your diet for a while.
Skip the spaghetti
… If I were going out to impress, I wouldn’t order a pasta-based dish- I’ve yet to meet somebody who could eat spaghetti easily- it may dribble down your face. Choose something you know you can eat relatively elegantly.
Watch your mouth
…Spicy or garlicky foods can cause bad breath. Be conscious of what your other half is eating and follow suit. Tip: if your dish comes with a parsley garnish, chew on that as it will help get rid of any nasty smells in your mouth.
…Eat slowly! It can take 20 minutes for the hormones secreted in your stomach to get the message through to the brain indicating that you’re full. If you eat too fast, you may have overdone it by the time your brain goes, ‘wait, slow down!’ And then you’ll be left with that horrible feeling you’ve got a breezeblock lodged in your stomach.
Skip the espresso
…End the meal with a peppermint tea or sweet. This will freshen your breath and help ease digestion.
AFTER THE DATE:
Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
…If you were a complete pig at dinner, then you’re probably going to want to want to lie down, hold your belly and groan. You won’t be up for a night of passion.
Practice safe sex
…The nicest people can and do get sexually transmitted diseases. You might be out with Mr. or Miss Wonderful- but genitals don’t know that…and neither do the bugs that party down there. Make sure you use protection- if you’re not crippled by stomach cramps from eating too much food that is.
Other health issues you might want to be aware of:
Teeth. According to Dr Harper, we should all be brushing our teeth twice a day and flossing at least once. Doing so will remove the tiny particles lodged between the teeth, that can become a source of bad breath when broken down by bacteria. You can also use a tongue scraper to get rid of any micro debris.
Alcohol. "Drinking alcohol before the date isn’t recommended because that’s only going to add to your total tally for the night," explains Dr Harper. "If you can’t trust yourself to watch what you drink, then make sure that you drive as then you will have be forced to count your units and abstain."
Food hygiene. Avoid buffet style meals warns Dr Harper: "Food that’s been out hanging around at room temperature for a long while is more likely to be contaminated than if it’s been properly refrigerated and prepared in a clean kitchen."
Body odor. You sweat you wash- makes sense right? Ironically- that’s actually the worse thing you could do. "Fresh sweat doesn’t smell- pungent BO is the result sweat being broken down by the bacteria on your skin," says Dr Harper. "This is because the skin is slightly acidic, so when you use a normal perfumed soap, which is slightly alkaline, you’re changing the PH of the skin and creating an environment that’s better for the bacteria to grow. It’s a vicious cycle. The bacteria have had a chance to replicate and proliferate and now there are more of them breaking the sweat down, making the smell worse. Be very conscious of using PH balanced soap so slow down the production of bacteria," she adds.
Still nervous? Wear dark colored clothes to hide any potential sweat marks.