Have you heard that olive oil is a good way for singers to keep their voices healthy during a performance? Maybe you've heard it from a voice teacher or a friend that has gone to school for singing. Maybe you've heard it from a celebrity singer like Demi Lovato or Billy Currington, who both had interviews explaining how they take a swig of olive oil to coat their throat and vocal cords. If the pros are doing this, they must be on to something! But I think the problem here is that the desired effects vs. actual effects are not lining up as well as some singers would hope.
Olive oil is a wonderful oil filled with many benefits for the human body. The thing is, though, it's not really thought of as a practical way to hydrate or coat your voice. According to pathologist and singing voice specialist Kristie Knickerbocker, "Olive oil can’t directly lubricate the vocal cords, but it may provide some hydration from the inside out. Olive oil has also been associated with a lower risk for certain cancers including cancer of the larynx, the organ that holds the vocal cords."
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Extra virgin olive oil, also known as EVOO, has more nutrition than virgin or refined olive oils do. This oil can boost your heart health, lower the risk of stroke, fight against inflammation, provide antioxidants to lower the risk of diseases including cancer, fight harmful bacteria, and boost your brain activity. With all of these positive effects, you won't need to worry about messing up your body if you want to try this for your singing voice.
One common problem people have when consuming EVOO is the amount they drink. You only need to consume a very small amount of olive oil in order to get the health benefits. Popular sites like Healthline recommend that people consume 1-3 tablespoons a day. You do not want to be drinking cups of oil! Not only is that a crazy amount of fat calories to take in, but it will probably upset your stomach pretty intensely.
One way to avoid chugging straight oil is to consider eating olives to get these same benefits. But the most effective and simplest way to keep your vocals well-lubricated and coated with a good amount of mucus is to drink 6-8 glasses of water each day. When considering cough drops, go for glycerin-based products and avoid menthol, which can irritate your throat with prolonged use. Humidifiers and vocal steamers can also help you with vocal lubrication!
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You want to avoid drinks that have caffeine or alcohol in them if you want to avoid drying out your voice as a singer. If you're a tea drinker, you still have plenty of good caffeine-free options. Allergy and cold medicines can also cause your voice to get dry since the medicine is meant to dry up the mucus in your body. Smoking and vaping are other common causes of dry singing or speaking voice.
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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