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Good and Bad Foods for the Vocal Cords

There's many things I enjoy in life but I thinks its safe to say that food and singing rank very high. Nobody wants to go on stage hungry and spend their whole set with the distraction of a grumbling stomach, but what should we eat and not eat before a show to keep the vocal cords healthy and lubricated? Lets start with the dos;



Dos:


Chicken & Fish

Yes its not just body builders that need to stock up on their proteins, us singers need it just as much. Both chicken and fish are lean sources of protein, giving us the critical energy we need, without swamping the cords with unneeded fats and oils. It's easy to forget that the voice is a muscle and when using it we use a lot of energy. Ever come off stage feeling like you've just run a marathon? Well that's because a performance is a workout in itself and trust me you're gonna want as much energy in you as possible.


Honey

Im sure we've all heard this before but its extremely benificial to us so lets reiterate. Honey is an absolute LIFESAVER for singers. Its not only soothing on the throat and helpful with vocal strains but it contains multiple antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities to help keep infections away. It does however contain mainly sugar so don't overboard or you won't have a very happy dentist.



Spinach


when your parents used to say eat your greens they weren't joking. In addition to all the other goodness in spinach, it also contains Vitamin A. Vitamin A keeps the mucus membranes nice and healthy, keeping the vocal cords mist and lubricated. Sounds gross I know but but there's nothing better than a moist cord.


Sweet Potato

Like a potato but sweet. Full of energy and complex starch to keep you energised and also containing that previously explain vitamin A, and damn does it taste good. Always keep a sweet potato handy because you never know when you're gonna need one.




Room Temperature Water


With risk of sounding like goldilocks and the three bears, not too hot and not too cold but just right - thats how we want our water to be. Obviously it's EXTREMELY important to keep hydrated as a singer, not merely in the minutes before had but in the whole day before. The healthiest of vocal cords will be the most hydrated ones. And in regards to the temperature of the water, a much as you may be craving an ice cold glass, this can actually constrict the cords causing more harm than benefit. So leave that glass on the side and make sure the temperature is juts right.


Don'ts:


Cheese

It kills me to say this because I am a self proclaimed cheese addict but my god is it bad for those vocal cords. As much a we all love cheese, its prone to causing acid reflux up the oesophagus and burning your vocal cords. This can then cause your mucus to thicken, meaning you feel the need to clear your throat more, which for a singer is just really not ideal. How can something so tasty be so bad for you hey.


Caffeine

Now this is a difficult one because when playing late night gigs, caffeine can sometime feel like the only answer but DON'T DO IT. Caffeine is a diuretic which means it massively dehydrates you and as we said previously staying hydrated is super important for a singer. Caffeine can also constrict your muscles and when the muscles in your throat tighten up, it can damage your vocal cords. From creating dry throats to damaging cords, basically caffeine is an absolute no no.


Chocolate

Honestly I feel like I'm starting to put people off becoming vocalists with this list, but yes you've read correct, chocolate is like the devil for singers. Not only does chocolate contain caffeine and dairy which are both forbidden, but it also contains a lot of sugar. Processed sugars will hang around your throat and mouth in the form of phlegm, which is in my opinion simply disgusting. If you've never had to battle through a performance with the presence of phlegm then you're very lucky, and do anything you can to keep it that way, as I'm telling you it's a challenge.


Fried Food

There's a trend going on here but again, oils and fats will just clog up the cords and make your job ten times harder. There's nothing more to say on this one, just steer clear of the KFC and you'll be okay.


Chilli

Spicy foods are not allowed! They will cause you heart burn and acid reflux and again, burn the vocal cords. Damaged vocal cords lead to thicker mucus, creating more of a challenge for us singers. So if your lover of hot and spicy, juts tone it down to a mango and lime or lemon and herb in the lead up to your performance. Simple as that.



And there it is, an easy read list of what to eat and not to eat to make that performance as easy as you can. If its left you feeling a little overwhelmed just remember hydration and plain and healthy foods is key. Make sure you don't go on stage with an empty stomach as it crucial to keep your energy levels high, but on the flip side never go on stage with an extremely full stomach as this can cause difficulty with the proper breaths needed to sing. Follow these rules and hopefully you'll be blessed with healthy vocal cords and an easy show.





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