What to Eat and Drink Before You Sing
Most performers understand how important it is to look after their voice, as the state of a singer’s vocal chords can make or break a performance. So how do you ensure that your vocal chords are ready for a workout? Unsurprisingly, what you eat and drink in the hours beforehand can have a significant impact on your voice.
Foods and drinks to consume before singing
The following foods and drinks are said to be beneficial to your voice prior to a singing performance:
Warm or room temperature water
Water will hydrate your vocal chords, making them more flexible and less prone to injury. Sticking to water that is served at room temperature or warmer will have the desired loosening effect.
Adding a few drops of liquid chlorophyll to your water can help too; chlorophyll reduces inflammation so will ensure your vocal chords are primed and ready.
Ginger’s warming properties make it another useful addition to your warm water.
Adding honey or maple syrup to a glass of warm water can further sooth the vocal chords in preparation for singing. Or, if you prefer, warm it up alone and take it like medicine.
A lesser-known tincture for one’s vocal chords perhaps, but onions, while acidic, are renowned for their healing properties and are known to relieve coughs, colds and catarrh. Many music industry insiders swear by the benefits of crushed white onion and maple syrup topped with warm water.
If this sounds unpalatable, try simmering the onion to dampen the taste then adding maple syrup and warm water. Take a tablespoon hourly for a few hours before going on stage.
Cucumber and melon
stimulate saliva productionCucumber, watermelon and cantaloupe melon all contain over 90% water making them great for hydration. Again, try to eat your fruit at room temperature.
While dry crackers might seem like the last thing to eat before singing, actually they are great as they stimulate saliva production for hours, therefore lubricating your vocal chords accordingly.
Sore throat remedies for singers
Slippery Elm tea – which mimics the mucus made naturally – and Sanderson’s throat specific mixture are two options. Both designed to remedy sore throats but can also be used as a preventative measure before going on stage.
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Foods and Drinks to Avoid Before Singing
Conversely, things to avoid ingesting are those that produce excess mucus or have a drying or cooling effect.
Hot or cold foods and drinks
As refreshing as chilled foods or drinks might seem pre-performance, the coldness will actually constrict your vocal chords, while hot drinks will cause your vocal chords to swell.
Dairy — milk, ice cream, yoghurt — stimulates mucus production, which coats the vocal chords and makes singing difficult.
The gloopy texture of bananas can also irritate the vocal chords, producing excess mucus.
While many people cite lemon tea as a fail-safe pre-stage drink, citrus fruits actually have a drying effect and this could negatively affect your singing performance.
Caffeine & alcohol
Both caffeine and alcohol have a dehydrating effect and are best avoided before a performance.
Foods to Calm Your Nerves Before You Sing
Your voice isn’t the only thing to think about before going on stage; there are also foods that are renowned for their calming propertiesrenowned for their calming properties:
- Spinach is a rich source of magnesium, which helps aids relaxation
- Basil has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and also contains magnesium.
- Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, known to fight anxiety, depression and fatigue
- Broccoli, which provides potassium to fight tiredness
- Green tea, a source of L-theanine, an amino acid that reduces stress and promotes relaxation
One size doesn’t fit all
When considering what to eat and drink before you sing, the most important thing to remember is that you are unique. While there are scientific reasons to explain why some foods or drinks may be beneficial, the best way to find out what works best for you is by trial and error.
Do you agree with the tips mentioned above? What are your pre-performance food and beverage staples? We would love to hear about them in the comments below.