You are what you eat, it is as simple as that. The type and the quality of the food which you eat will directly impact the health of your body and even how your voice sounds. Most singers tend to be extremely careful with what they eat, as some foods can have an immediate negative impact on their voices. The main reasons why some foods alter your voice is because they either dehydrate your throat, remove the protective layer of mucus from the vocal cords, or constrict the vocal cords.
As a singer, you should avoid foods and drinks that dehydrate you, constrict your vocal cords, and make your body produce extra mucus. Dairy and coffee products tend to make your body overproduce mucus, spicy and salty foods will dehydrate you and alter your voice. In addition to this, the temperature of the foods and drinks is also important, way too hot will damage your vocal cords, and way too cold will constrict your vocal cords.
Some of these foods are considered healthy foods but they will still impact your voice. If you have recently started a new diet and you have noticed that you are having difficulty maintaining high notes or even singing an easy song then there is either something in your diet that is altering your voice or there is something missing from your diet, which can have the same negative effect on your singing voice.
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The problem is that you might eat some of these foods and you don’t even know, this is the case for dairy products, as they are in a lot of foods. Heavily processed foods are packed with sugar, preservatives, and other chemicals. They might taste good but when it comes to nutrition they do not have anything except a lot of sugar and when it comes to your voice these kinds of processed foods will impact how you sound as a singer.
I am not saying that you need some special kind of diet as a singer, but you definitely need to watch out for what you eat. Sometimes what you don’t eat can make an even bigger impact on the quality of your voice than what you actually eat. One thing which most people don’t really talk about is the temperature of the food, this can also have a detrimental effect on some singer’s voices, especially if the food is fairly cold, for more information on how the temperature affects your voice check out my recent article Does cold water affect your voice? ( Top 7 Ways ).
Foods And Drinks To Avoid As A Singer
As a singer, there are certain foods and drinks you may want to avoid to maintain the health and condition of your voice. Acidic foods and beverages like citrus fruits, tomatoes, coffee, and carbonated drinks can potentially irritate the vocal cords and lead to acid reflux, which can negatively impact your voice. Spicy foods and dairy products may also cause excess mucus production or throat irritation. Alcohol and caffeinated beverages can dehydrate the body, leading to dryness in the throat and vocal folds.
It’s important to stay hydrated, but be cautious of overly cold or ice-cold drinks, as they can cause temporary vocal constriction. Lastly, excessive consumption of sugary or greasy foods may affect your overall energy levels and potentially lead to vocal fatigue.
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One of the main food types you should definitely avoid is dairy products of any kind. Some people will say that low-fat dairy products are ok to eat for singers, but the truth is that the fat content of the dairy product isn’t what is altering your voice as a singer. Dairy products are naturally full of fat and protein, you know the things a baby cow needs. Some companies artificially lower this fat percentage and the chemicals they use can be even worse than the fat when it comes to your voice.
The main reason why dairy products are bad for singers is that they will cover your vocal cords with mucus and your body will also create excess mucus to protect your vocal cords. This is why when you eat some cheese you will immediately notice that your voice is somehow altered. On the other hand, some singers have a difficult time digesting dairy products which causes them acid reflux which is extremely difficult to sing with.
This is why most singers who drink coffee do not add any milk. Now you might think that soy milk should be a good alternative but soy milk does also impact your voice for the worse. Dairy products cover your throat with excess mucus, which is extremely similar to the morning voice, for more information check out my recent article How to get rid of morning voice? ( Fast and Easy ).
For some people, soy is a miracle food, while for others it is simply soy. The main reason why soy is bad for the singing voice is that it contains chemicals that increase the levels of estrogen in your body. Males tend to have more testosterone and females tend to have more estrogen in their bodies. Too much estrogen will alter your voice, and although you will not notice it instantly but with time it will.
This is not such a big problem for female singers but for male singers who have a deep manly voice then this could become a problem after some time. I would even advise female singers who have a raspy voice to stay away from soy-based products
You will have a fairly hard time avoiding sugar, especially processed sugar. The problem is that sugar is in almost everything, even if the actual product is not sweet. Sugar can be found in bread, ketchup, semi-prepared meals, and so on. Next time when you go to the supermarket just read the label of the products which you are buying, odds are that most of them contain either sugar or a variant of it.
Some companies use other types of sugars which only differ mostly by name, and they do this because they can advertise that their product is sugar-free, but the truth is that it is probably jam-packed with some other substance that mimics the effects of sugar. Sugar tends to give a boost in energy for most people, but after the boost, the inevitable sugar crash also comes. Sugar needs a lot of water to be absorbed into the bloodstream and this can lead to mild dehydration, which is the last thing you would want as a singer.
In addition to this, the sugar also produces a lot of phlegm, which will stay in your mouth and your throat. This also impacts how your vocal cords operate and in some cases, it might even make your body overproduce mucus.
A lot of fruits contain citric acid, this is what gives them the sour taste. Although citrus fruits are extremely healthy, but singers should say away from them if they will have to sing for a couple of hours. Citrus will constrict the vocal cords, and it also eliminates the protective layer of mucus from your vocal cords.
Coffee can also be found in a lot of products, especially in products that are meant to be energy boosters. All energy boosting drinks are jam-packed with coffee and sugar, the coffee wakes you up and the sugar will give you energy for a couple of hours. Even if you drink black coffee then it still affects your voice, as coffee uses a lot more water when it is being digested than what it actually provides, basically coffee is a diuretic.
If you add sugar and milk to your coffee then this is probably the worse combination that you can have for your singing voice. Just remember that this doesn’t mean that coffee will make you a bad singer, it is just something that you should avoid, there are plenty of singers who eat junk food and still sound amazing.
Usually, most sodas are diuretic, which means they use more water to be digested than what they actually provide. This is why you become thirsty after you drink a can of soda. In addition to this most sodas are jam-packed with sugar which isn’t helpful for your voice. Diet sodas are extremely popular, but they are probably more harmful to your body and to your voice than non-diet sodas, as diet sodas are altered with a lot of chemicals.
Although nuts are extremely healthy, but for singers, it can be problematic. As a singer you should probably avoid eating nuts a couple of hours before you sing, this is because small pieces of nuts will linger around your mouth and throat for a couple of hours. If one of these pieces wanders off then it could start making you cough, and coughing is extremely stressful for your vocal cords.
Most chocolates have sugar and dairy products, some also contain coffee. Neither of these is good for singers, although there are some types of chocolate that aren’t as bad for your voice. Generally speaking, dark chocolate is probably the best although it still does contain plenty of sugar and other additives.
One of the worst types of foods that you can eat as a singer is junk food or fast food. Generally speaking, most of these contain a lot of sugar, salt, and dairy products, and none of these are good for your singing voice. Deep-fried foods are also not ideal for you as a singer as they do contain a lot of fat, and if you combine them with some kind of sauce then you might find that the sauce contains a lot of sugar and salt, like ketchup for example.
I can’t believe it’s not butter, although I can’t believe how many people don’t know that butter is actually a dairy product. Butter has all the negative effects on your singing voice, like making excess mucus and covering your vocal cords with this mucus. Some butter also contains a lot of salt which dehydrates you and your voice.
Although salty foods are tasty, they are in fact not ideal for your voice as a singer. The problem with salty foods is that your body needs a lot of water to digest salt, this is why you wake up in the middle of the night to drink water if you had a salty dinner. In addition to this, most salty foods are combined with other fried foods, or sauces, which might contain ingredients not beneficial for your voice.
Some singers use bananas as they find that it makes them sing better, while others will say that it is bad for their singing voice. The truth lies somewhere in between, and for some, it can do good while for others it will do badly in terms of their voice. The main reason why it is a bad idea for some singers to eat bananas is that bananas tend to produce a lot of phlegm. Although if you don’t eat bananas right before a performance then you should probably be fine.
The problem with ice water or cold water is that it constricts your vocal cords, your body does this naturally in order to protect your vocal cords. The problem is that if your vocal cords are constricted then your voice will be altered for a couple of hours until your vocal cords start to relax. In addition to this drinking ice water can also lead to infection or inflammation of the throat, which is not ideal for you as a singer. If you want more information about how cold water affects your singing voice then check out my recent article Does cold water affect your voice? ( Top 7 Ways ).
Alcohol is considered by the body as poison, this is why your liver gets bigger after you drink some alcohol. This way your liver is able to break down the alcohol into sugar and other nutrients. Alcohol needs a lot of water to be processed by the body, this is why so many people get a hangover after they drank one glass too many the previous night. In addition to this alcoholic beverages also contain a lot of sugar and extra additives which all impact the quality of your voice.
Spicy foods also need a lot of water to be digested, in addition to this, some spicy foods eliminate the protective layer of mucus found on your vocal cords. This makes your vocal cords prone to infection, although spicy foods tend to contain a lot of vitamins and nutrients which actually protect you from getting an infection. The more problematic aspect of spicy foods is that they are often combined with other types of foods that are not good for your voice
Foods that contain a lot of oil tend to make a lot of phlegm that will hang around your mouth and vocal cords for a couple of hours. In addition to this oily foods also tend to contain a lot of salt which will dehydrate you.
- Drinks like coffee, tea, and energy drinks can dehydrate the body and cause dryness in the throat, affecting vocal flexibility and causing strain on the vocal cords. It’s best to moderate or avoid caffeinated beverages before singing.
- Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, can create excess mucus production and lead to throat congestion. This can impact vocal clarity and make it more difficult to achieve a smooth and controlled singing voice. It’s advisable to avoid or limit dairy consumption before singing.
- Spicy foods and acidic fruits like citrus can cause acid reflux or heartburn, leading to irritation of the throat and vocal cords. This can result in discomfort, hoarseness, and reduced vocal range
What foods should singers avoid?
Singers should avoid consuming foods that can cause excess mucus production, such as dairy products, spicy foods, and greasy foods. They should also avoid foods that can cause acid reflux, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and caffeine.
What should singers not drink?
Singers should avoid drinks that can dehydrate or irritate the vocal cords, such as alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and sugary drinks. It’s best to opt for hydrating and soothing drinks like room temperature water, herbal teas, and warm water with honey.
What should I eat and drink when singing?
It’s beneficial for singers to consume a balanced diet that includes lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. They should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and also consider warm herbal teas or lukewarm water with honey to soothe the throat.
What should you drink as a singer?
As a singer, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Room temperature water is ideal for maintaining vocal hydration. Additionally, warm herbal teas like chamomile or licorice root tea can help soothe the throat and vocal cords.