Your throat is all hoarse and heavy – and it’s pretty clear you’re probably not going to get those chairs turned for you at ‘The Voice’ singing auditions anytime soon. What’s going on in that throat of yours? Some might come down with a case of the croaky throat after a fun night of greasy food and dehydrating drinks – and for others, it’s an unfortunate, reoccurring bout.
Apart from some factors you cannot control, the high acidity content in some of the things you eat is to blame too, which swells up your vocal chords. Bummer. One such ingredient is fat. Food with high fat content takes longer to digest and to properly do so, fat increases acid production in your stomach. This is the crux of it all. Allow me to explain.
Things are going to get a little technical, so stay with me here. Once the healthy balance of acid in your stomach is disturbed, acid reflux occurs - acid from your stomach goes up the wrong way through your esophagus, which is a tube that connects the stomach to the throat. This acid, that climbed up your esophagus leads to burning of your throat, the tissues swell up and your vocal chords become inflamed – leading to that croaky, husky – and I might I add, sexy voice.
In order to let your lovely voice flow and not see it join the dark side, there are some food items you should be wary of. You wouldn’t like to hear this but caffeine is up on the wall in the list of offenders. A natural diuretic, it dehydrates your throat muscles, which leads so muscle constriction. Tight muscles over an extensive time can damage your vocal cords, cause increased strain and lead to that dry raspiness you hear in your voice. Unfortunately, alcohol has similar effects as caffeine and should be avoided. Even mint directly escalates acid production.
According to Dr. Jonathan Aviv, Clinical Director of the Voice and Swallowing Center and author of a book on acid reflux, eating small, controlled portions is another way to go. If your stomach is too full, there is an increased production of acid because the stomach works overtime to digest huge quantities of food. With small portions, you’ll never risk being too full.
He gives out a list of food items on the DoctorOz blog that you should always be mindful of. Avoid, or limit the following as much as you can.
1. Meats: Any meat with high fat content. Ground beef or marbled steak.
2. Processed chicken products.
3. Fats, oils and sweets: Chocolate, potato or corn chips, high-fat baked goods, creamy or oily salad dressings, coffee and alcohol.
4. High acid fruits, veggies and acidic juices: Orange, grapefruit, cranberry, tomato, lemon, lime. Mashed potatoes, French fries, potato salad, raw onion and garlic.
5. Grains: Macaroni and cheese, pasta with marinara or a heavy cream sauce.
6. Regular fat content dairy products: Sour cream, milk shakes, ice cream, cottage cheese and high fat cheese. These increase phlegm production in your throat. All that extra mucous makes it difficult for the cords to produce a clear tone.
The list may seem extensive and daunting, but it'll sure come in handy if you have an important presentation the next day to close a million dollar deal that'll buy your new yacht.