Stop Eating These Foods Before You Sing
We all know that food affects our bodies.
But did you know the food you eat also affects your voice?
As a matter of fact, the food we eat is one of the biggest causes of vocal problems.
And singers are more likely to have vocal problems than non-singers.
If you think about it, we use our voices so much, it needs a little more maintenance than someone who doesn’t sing for a living.
But here’s the bottom line:
We need to take good care of our voices.
And watching what we eat is the best place to start.
Food and Singing
In addition to maintaining good nutrition, singers have to be extra careful about which foods to eat.
We all know that some foods keep us fit and sharp.
But you’d be amazed at how food impacts our singing as well.
In fact, there are some foods that singers should avoid altogether.
Especially if you’re trying to warm up your voice correctly.
There are lots of reasons to avoid certain foods when you’re going to sing.
The biggest reason to stop eating some foods is because of their potential to cause allergic reactions or acid reflux.
So let’s talk about them.
Allergic Reactions in Singing
Before you go running for your bottle of Claritin, it’s important to know that not all allergic reactions cause sneezing or a runny nose.
The truth is you can have an allergic reaction without even knowing it.
As a matter of fact, you can have a food allergy and you may not even know it.
But in singing, even the smallest changes in the vocal cords can have a dramatic impact.
And when you’re trying to Improve Your Voice, you need all the help you can get.
So let’s discuss the foods that are the most likely to cause an allergic reaction.
But before we do, let’s talk the other big singing demon: Acid Reflux.
Acid Relux in Singing
Acid Reflux is one of the most common problems affecting singers.
The effects can range from minor hoarseness to losing your voice.
And that’s no joke if you’re a professional singer.
Also, acid reflux may not always feel like a burning in your throat.
Silent Reflux is a condition where the singer doesn’t experience any of the typical symptoms of acid reflux like burning in the throat or acid taste.
However, they experience the same symptoms and damage as those with acid reflux.
But here’s the bottom line:
Even mild allergic reactions and reflux can cause extra mucus production and swelling in the vocal folds.
Thickness in the vocal folds could be a reason why you’re singing flat or feeling hoarse.
So it’s best to avoid allergies and reflux however we can.
The best place to start is knowing which foods can cause these reactions.
Here they are.
5 Common Foods that Cause Allergic Reactions
Gluten is a general name for the proteins that are found in wheat and grains that give them an elastic texture.
Gluten is in some of the world’s favorite foods:
Pasta, bread, soy sauce, cereal, pizza.
They all have gluten.
However, you can have an allergic reaction to gluten even if you don’t have Celiac Disease.
Eggs are one of the most common allergy-producing foods, especially in children.
While eggs are a centerpiece at breakfast, they’re also used commonly as an ingredient in lots of foods.
And unfortunately, even when it’s used as an ingredient, eggs can cause an allergic reaction.
So ditch the omelet and watch out for baked goods or pasta containing eggs.
Besides, most pasta and baked goods have gluten in them as well.
Dairy is one of the most recognized “No-Nos” for singers.
Consuming milk or cheese is known to cause the vocal folds to produce more mucus.
The vocal folds, or vocal cords, are two thick folded of membranes stretched across the inside of your larynx.
The vocal folds are incredibly delicate and rich with nerve endings.
And when anything is on them, you will probably clear your throat more often.
So when you’re singing, keep your cords as clean as possible by skipping the dairy.
An allergy to tree nuts and peanuts (a legume) is one of the most common food allergies.
We’ve all seen the movie where someone eats a peanut and needs a shot of epinephrine to keep their throat from closing (called “Anaphylaxis”).
But even people without an emergency reaction to nuts can still suffer from swelling in the vocal folds if they have an allergy.
Both nuts and peanuts are used as a very common ingredient in snacks.
So if you’re looking for something quick to munch on, watch out for snacks containing nuts and peanuts.
Shellfish is the most common food to cause an allergic reaction.
And while some people are allergic to the Crustacean group (such as shrimp and lobster) and some are allergic to Mollusks (such as scallops and oysters), some people are just lucky and are allergic to both.
If you’re don’t know whether you have a shellfish allergy, you should know 60% of people don’t have a reaction until they’re adults.
That means that you may be allergic and don’t know it.
So maybe skip out on the shrimp cocktail before you stroll on stage.
5 Common Foods that Cause Acid Reflux
1. Spicy Foods
Spicy foods have been shown to be a trigger for acid reflux in some people.
Many people will have a spicy meal and later feel the tell-tale burn of reflux or taste acid.
This reflux can cause the vocal folds to produce more mucus, causing irritation and throat-clearing.
While these symptoms depend entirely on the person, stay safe and avoid the jalapeno salsa before your set.
2. Fried Foods
Fried foods are one of the biggest contributors to reflux.
Many people feel the symptoms of reflux as heart burn after eating food that’s been fried.
This is due to the the high content of fat in these foods.
It’s also common for foods to be covered in a gluten-based breading like bread crumbs or flour before frying.
Remember that gluten is one of the most common foods to cause an allergic reaction.
This can result in a perfect storm of problems for your voice.
So maybe pass on the fried chicken before your solo.
I’m sure I’m about to lose some of you here.
But unfortunately, chocolate has been shown to be one of the biggest triggers for acid reflux.
After eating chocolate, the esophageal sphincter can relax, causing stomach contents to rise.
This can allow stomach acid to move up into your larynx.
And that’s no fun.
So try to cut out the cocoa before you sing.
Tomatoes are packed with healthy nutrients to keep us fit and sharp.
Unfortunately, tomatoes are also highly acidic, increasing the amount of acid in your stomach.
While tomatoes don’t trigger reflux in everyone, they can certainly occur in others.
Just like fried foods, tomatoes can trigger acid reflux if they’re combined with a food containing gluten such as pizza.
That can result in a doubly-whammy of acid production, leading to swelling in the vocal folds.
So skip out on the Margarita pizza before the show.
While they’re not technically foods, the caffeine, carbonation and alcohol found in many beverages are a common trigger for acid reflux.
Some singers even drink soda water to settle their stomach.
But this results in burping and occasionally reflux.
Avoiding these triggers is also hard since many gigging musicians are constantly surrounded by the carbonation and alcohol in many drinks.
Here’s a quick video about avoiding these reflux triggers.
The best solution is to stick with water before the show.
Your voice will thank you.