This article was ghostwritten for LessonRating.com. It is written in American English.
Your voice, as with any other part of your body, can be used for performance and not unlike a muscle, you need to take good care of it. This doesn’t just apply to how you use it, how often you practice or the exercises you undertake. You also need to eat the right foods in order to maintain your ideal singing voice. Just as a runner needs a strict diet, so does a singer.
Foods to Avoid
Caffeine is a natural diuretic, which can eventually lead to dehydration. You need to keep your throat and larynx well hydrated for peak performance. This, unfortunately, applies to green tea as well, so consider a herbal tea as an alternative.
Much like caffeine, alcohol can cause dehydration, which leads to muscle constriction in the throat. Tight throat muscles will make it harder to sing and can increase the risks of damage or injury if you strain them. Whatever you’re drinking at the time, alternate it with a glass of water to ensure optimal hydration.
Dairy can arguably cause an increase in phlegm in your throat and upper chest. At best, it is a heavy drink to have directly before singing and does nothing to improve your performance. Avoid milk and ice cream in particular directly before you sing.
Very Cold Drinks
Very cold liquids, especially directly before a performance, can cause rigidity in the throat, which can lead to bad vocals. It can also potentially increase the risk of strain or injury so opt for warm drinks instead, which will help prepare your vocal chords for your performance.
Nuts and Crisps
Any food items that leave fragments lingering in the back teeth or throat can be problematic for your vocal performance. Even if you don’t choke, they can catch in your throat and disrupt your singing. If there is no other option, ensure you rinse your mouth well after eating snack foods.
Spicy food can cause acid reflux which is terrible for your throat and can cause rawness. At the very least, it is very uncomfortable and would be difficult to sing with and at worst, it can cause heartburn which can make it almost impossible to sing. Avoid all spicy food before a performance.
Lemon water is very acidic and has a drying effect on your vocal cords and throat. This can cause catching and coughing at an inopportune moment. This applies to all citrus based waters.
Foods that Help
Hydrating, fresh foods
Any fruits and vegetables that are high in water content but relatively low in sugar are good for your throat. Staying hydrated is very important for your voice and throat because dryness can cause cracking and catching. Don’t forget to also drink plenty of fresh water.
Honey is a wonder food in many ways and for centuries has been used for all sorts of throat-related maladies. Even if there is nothing wrong with your throat, a teaspoon of honey can stop your voice from catching and can ease a voice that’s feeling a little rough from overuse.
Foods high in Vitamin A, E, and C.
These vitamins are essential for a healthy immune system and that starts with your throat (or tonsils more specifically). Any infections, no matter how mild, can affect your throat and larynx. A healthy and vitamin-rich diet will help boost your immune system and prevent these infections from happening. Green, leafy vegetables, and sweet peppers are amongst the vegetables high in these vitamins.
In small amounts, olive oil (as well as avocado and some nut oils) can be beneficial for your throat as a lubricant. Olive oil is also beneficial for overall health and can boost your immune system.
Strawberries have long been held as a beneficial food for your larynx and throat. They have even been used as a natural remedy for bronchitis. Some sources even say that strawberries can prevent certain throat-related illnesses if consumed regularly.
The warmth of the tea is great for preparing your voice for singing and ginger is a well-known anti-inflammatory which will quell any catching or cracking. For added benefit, mix a little honey in the tea.
You can also be intuitive about what you eat and drink with regards to how it affects your voice. If you find that there is a food which doesn’t seem to agree with you, even if it’s not on this list, try to avoid it when you know you need your voice to be pitch perfect.