By Jeannie Deva.
Question: “What are the best foods and beverages to drink before a performance or recording session?”
Answer: Nutrition can get pretty complex, so my message to singers is: Keep it simple.
Your body needs energy so that it can perform for you. Help it to digest and metabolize well by keeping your food intake simple. I personally find juicy fruit and raw salads with a little light dressing to be easily digested by most people. Add to that a small serving of pasta with tomato or garlic sauce (no cheese or cream sauces). If your body’s blood type does better with protein, then substitute chicken, fish or tofu for the pasta. I strongly advise against going hungry the day of a recording or performance. Hunger will stress-out your body which needs nutritional energy and hydration to deliver good vocal performance.
The sound of your voice is created by small internal muscle movements. Muscles need the energy furnished by well-metabolized food in order to function well. They also need to be hydrated to achieve peak energy, flexibility, and elasticity. Drinking room temperature water as your principal beverage is best for hydration. Room temperature is better than iced because when you swallow, the water flows down the esophagus behind but adjacent to your larynx (voice box).
If the temperature of what you’ve swallowed is either cold or hot, it will affect the muscles of your larynx and vocal folds. This would be like putting a hot or cold compress on your leg muscles right before running a race. So drink your hot or cold drinks after the rehearsal, show or recording session. Before or during performing, just drink room temperature water.
What about caffeine? Caffeine is a diuretic which induces urination and tends to dehydrate the body. Coffee which contains caffeine, acid, and oils, can irritate the vocal folds, stimulating mucous production and stiffness. You may experience a slight burning or irritation of your vocal folds or need to clear your throat after drinking coffee. For some, the adverse effects disappear after a while. If you decide to continue as a coffee drinker, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day ( as much as 8-8 oz. glasses daily). This will help to flush out your system and restore the bodily fluids that have been lost due to the diuretic effect of caffeine.
Cola and many other carbonated drinks contain added caffeine and will have a similar effect. As well, the carbonation may cause burping at inopportune times while singing. Black teas contain less caffeine than coffee and may work as a substitute beverage as would herbal teas.
Rules to follow:
- Do not drink coffee or caffeinated beverages within two to three hours prior to singing.
- Do drink lots of room temperature water.
- Do not drink iced beverages within two to three hours prior to singing.
- Do not drink hot beverages prior to or during singing.
- Do eat high water content fruit for hydration and energy.
- Do eat high water content vegetables for hydration and minerals.
- Do stay fed, but don’t overeat or stuff yourself.
Have a great month,
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