Singers sometimes complain about dry, itchy or painful throats after practicing or performing. Overall health is important to voice quality, and a person's singing voice is affect by certain foods and drinks. There isn't a single magical food that turns someone into an opera star, but a few healthy practices do help to keep a voice healthy.
The most important thing is to drink plenty of water. Keep the entire body, including the mucous membranes that line the throat, moist by staying hydrated. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, and overly sweet or artificially sweetened beverages. These are diuretics and cause the body to lose water through urination. Dehydration not only causes general fatigue, but also dries the voice out, making singing more difficult.
Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are a part of a healthy diet and help maintain a good quality voice. These foods contain vitamins A, C and E, which help keep the mucus membranes that line the throat healthy and in good shape, in addition to improving and maintaining general overall health. Try whole grain breads and cereals, fresh, raw fruits and vegetables and tomatoes, dried or cooked as a sauce.
Lubricants and Gargles
Keeping the throat moist for singing begins with a good overall diet. Additional help comes in the form of lubricants and rinses. Olive oil and honey are used right before singing to help lubricate the throat. A teaspoon of either sometimes helps. For gargling, mix 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. corn syrup in 6 oz. of warm purified water. Gargle gently for two minutes, then spit. Do not rinse after the gargle.
Foods to Avoid
Keep the voice strong by avoiding food and drinks that act as diuretics, as well as large amounts of salt and sugar. Certain spicy foods, which often are also salty, irritate the vocal chords and the stomach, causing acid reflux in the esophagus. Consistent acid reflux damages the lining of the esophagus. Spicy Mexican, Thai and Chinese foods are to be eaten in moderation.
Nadia Nygaard has been writing and editing since 2005. She is published in "Farm and Ranch Living" and has edited projects as diverse as grant proposals, medical dissertations and tenant law handbooks. She is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in English and women's studies.