How many times have you heard of a singer ruining their voice because of bad eating or drinking habits? It’s a cliché that singers smoke, drink, or drug themselves to an early grave. But, even if you’re clean on all accounts, there is so much in today’s food that can inflame your throat and hurt your vocalist diet.
Singers are often told to mind their eating and drinking habits. However, these don’t just include avoiding certain foods, but actively drinking and eating certain types of foods.
Most of these foods are high in water content and protein. Some of them are also high in simple sugars. Fast food, as you can imagine, is off the table entirely. You may think of this is a bummer, but you’ll have to make a dietary sacrifice for your vocal cords.
If you’re just getting started with your singing career, think of yourself as a vocal athlete. Just like sprinters and gymnasts have to watch what they eat for a lean body mass and speed, so do you. You just need the right food for your throat muscles and your vocalist diet. Your throat muscles need to be loose and flexible so that when you want to hit a high note or a low note, you can. It’s really as simple as that.
What Foods Should a Singer Avoid?
Let’s look at a few guidelines for a balanced vocalist diet.
First things first, avoid alcohol like the plague.
Alcohol dehydrates the body, which can lead to hangovers. Plus, alcohol inflames the throat. A light drink with friends or colleagues once in a while is okay. However, don’t make a habit out of it. If you’re likely to indulge in overdrinking, completely avoid situations where you might drink too much.
The same goes for coffee. It’s a diuretic and can constrict throat muscles. You won’t be able to hit difficult notes or exercise your throat muscles fully after you’ve had coffee.
Chocolate is another indulgence you should avoid. While it’s not necessarily bad for your health overall, it can damage your throat muscles. This can develop more phlegm and cause acid reflux. It’s not the best food for a clear voice.
Greasy or Spicy Foods
Anything that is too greasy or spicy should be off the table too. Spices inflame the throat and oil cause phlegm. Spicy foods will also cause heartburn. As with the rest of the items on this list, once in a while is fine. Just don’t make a habit out of it.
What Foods Are Good for Your Vocal Chords?
It won’t be hard to believe that drinking non-carbonated beverages is good for your voice. Not only will it save you from the embarrassment of burping on stage, but it’s also good for your health.
Singers have been known to call for a tall drink before going on stage. However, none of them are alcoholic or carbonated. Patricia Racette, famous Soprano, is known to drink watered-down Gatorade before each performance.
Honey is almost universally known to reduce throat inflammation. Having a little honey with your tea every morning or just with a cup of warm water can keep your throat healthy.
Having citrus fruits with high water content can also soothe the throat. Try watermelon, apple, celery, etc. You can also go for some soup to keep your throat clear.
Lubricating your vocal cords is also highly recommended for vocalists. You can take Thyme honey or lemon water as well as Manuka. Having a vocalist diet chock full of citrus fruits is also recommended to keep your throat muscles healthy and loose.
No matter what profession you’re in, you have to have protein. Make sure you’re taking either meat-based or plant-based protein every day. This can be chicken (roasted), baked fish, lentils, etc. Try to avoid beef because red meat is generally unhealthy for you.
You can also consume tea or green tea for your throat, mixed with Ginger, Turmeric, or another spice. Herbal, Chamomile, and Peppermint tea are also great choices.
Fruits with high sugar content like grapes, cherries, strawberries, and blueberries are also very soothing.
A general tip is to go for a mainly alkaline diet. Acidic diets don’t do your throat any favors. Hence, try to drink and eat things that are above 7 on the pH scale. These include green vegetables, dry fruits, coconut water, sweet potatoes, etc.
Drink lots of water. This is the key to maintaining a great singing voice.
You may have noticed that all the dietary restrictions for singers involve foods that dehydrate the body. Dehydration causes muscles to tense up, inflame, and constrict. All of this leads to decreased vocal ability. Dehydration can also lead to decreased brain activity. Water is needed for your electrolytes to function at their peak ability after all.
What Should Singers Do About Their Minerals and Vitamins?
While taking dietary supplements and vitamin pills are extremely popular today, know that they’re just meant to be supplements. They’re not supposed to make up for proteins, carbohydrates, or fats.
You will have to keep a steady supply of healthy food in order for the supplements to take effect. That being said, here are all the minerals and vitamins you should keep a check on.
Magnesium counts for hundreds of chemical reactions in your body. It helps muscles contract and expands which is needed to hit the high notes. Leafy green veggies are your best bet for magnesium sources. However, you can take magnesium citrate or magnesium chloride spray if you’re low on the mineral.
Potassium is needed in much higher concentrations than magnesium. It regulates fluids in your body which in turn control muscles and nerves. You can find a lot of potassium in bananas, coconuts, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin C is available freely in the form of citrus fruits and vegetables. If you have a fridge filled with fruits, you won’t have to worry about this one. Develop a regular habit of eating fruits and veggies though. Vitamin C is water-based; it is excreted with urine and feces.
Vitamin B12 regulates stress and boosts energy, both of which are great for singers. Wholegrain foods, chickpeas, and avocados are all great sources for Vitamin B12. Though you need very little in order to get by, Vitamin B12 is a great catalyst for improved vocal performance.
Vitamin D is a fat-based mineral so it stays in your system for longer. It helps the body to absorb vitamins and maintain energy. You can get it by just standing in the sun and from eggs, almond milk, salmon, etc.
Keeping hydrated through various healthy foods and beverages is the key to great vocal ability. But, if no one is hearing your music, then what’s the point? Let’s get you more Spotify song plays and monthly listeners to promote your beautiful singing voice!