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  • Writer's pictureCO Voice Clinic

The Politician's Vocal Diet - 5 Foods to Avoid a Campaign Disaster

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

A politician's voice may be their most valuable campaign tool, especially during an election year. With the rigors of a busy campaign schedule, traveling almost daily, and living out of a campaign bus or hotel rooms, sometimes maintaining a voice-friendly diet may not be at the top of your agenda.

But what happens when the candidate loses their voice? Disaster.

To avoid putting yourself on a campaign-killing vocal rest, or risking sounding like Kermit the frog at your next debate, prep your diet like you would your next speech.

Start by keeping your campaign bus, offices, hotel rooms, and green rooms stocked with these five items at all times...or at least put an intern on it.

1. Water

Hydrating your vocal chords and throat is important for everyone, regardless of your speaking schedule. If you happen to use your voice more than the average professional, like you would as a politician, depriving your vocals of ample H2O can increase your risk of vocal trauma. The act of drinking water does not directly hydrate the vocals - it's not like clearing up a dry mouth with a sip of liquid - rather, it helps with the production of mucous and saliva that lubricates the chords, larynx, throat, etc.. So don't rely on that glass of water next to your podium to solve your problems - you should be exceeding the recommended 8 glasses a day by almost 50% throughout your campaign schedule.

If you're vocal chords are not properly lubricated, the friction caused by vocal vibrations can not only effect the immediate quality of your voice, but repeated use of the voice while dehydrated can lead to vocal injuries that can put a serious halt on your speaking schedule.

And almost equally as important to maintaining the your speaking voice, hydration is vital to brain function.

"Water makes up more than two thirds of human body weight, and without water, we would die in a few days. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%. A mere 2% drop in our body's water supply can trigger signs of dehydration: fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on smaller print, such as a computer screen. (Are you having trouble reading this? Drink up!) Mild dehydration is also one of the most common causes of daytime fatigue. An estimated seventy-five percent of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration. Pretty scary statistic for a developed country where water is readily available through the tap or bottle water." - Free Drinking Water.

2. Lemons

Lemons are great to have on hand at all times for many reasons, but primarily to help clear your throat if you have excess mucous and to help fight harmful bacteria. Lemons are a natural disinfectant. High in pectin and potassium, lemon juice can clear your system of environmental toxins while the astringent quality of this citrus fruit can help clear your vocal chords and throat of mucous. If you feel like your throat is full of thick mucous, add slices of lemon to your drinking water and sip on the concoction throughout the day. Lay off the lemon if your voice is feeling dry, however, as its astringent properties can dry it out even further.

If you want to clear up mucous in your throat, mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice + 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + one cup warm water and gargle at a high pitch. Gargling the mixture at a high pitch will cause your vocal cords to contract and rise closer to the back of your throat where you are gargling the mixture. Spit and repeat several times.

In addition to lemon's cleansing capabilities, it is an excellent source of vitamin C, which can help rid your system of free radicals and help your body fight voice-harming infections—which is another good reason to keep them on hand!

3. Coconut Oil

Arguably one of the most over-hyped food fads of the decade, but for good reason. Coconut oil is a great way to keep your mouth clear of harmful bacteria and toxins. Almost 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil is comprised of lauric acid, which can helps to kill harmful bacteria, viruses and fungi.

To do an oil pull, place a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth. The heat of your mouth will melt the oil to a liquid consistency. Swish the oil around your mouth for five to ten minutes (ten if your jaw can handle ten minutes of swishing), then spit the coconut oil into the garbage. The oil will grab bacteria and toxins in your mouth that brushing or mouthwash may miss. Do not spit the oil in the sink, as it may clog your drain.

Performing an "oil pull" in the morning or at night after brushing your teeth is an effective way to naturally remove undigested toxins or “ama” in your mouth.

An oil pull can also help reduce inflammation that may be caused by the overuse of your vocals while assisting in the elimination of bacteria inside your system that can lead to colds or even strep throat - major voice killers!

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is full of bacteria-killing compounds that will help to clean out your system and give your immune system a much needed boost, keeping you and your voice in top condition to fight off germs - which are easy to pick up after shaking hundreds of hands.

Be sure to choose an apple cider vinegar that is raw, unfiltered and contains the "mother" vinegar.

And in addition to fighting bacteria that may harm your voice, studies have suggested that the acetic acid in ACV can aid in lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides – which is always important for professionals in high stress occupations, like politics (National Institute of Health).

If you're feeling nerves before a speech, ACV can help with a nervous or upset stomach. ACV’s antimicrobial and antibiotic properties will help to kill the bacteria in your intestines, and a significant amount of pectin in ACV aids in reducing muscle cramping and spasms in your intestines.

Feeling a bit stuffy? Acetic acid can help clear a stuffy nose, which can potentially ruin a speech or presentation (not to mention annoy your co-workers). Apple cider vinegar also contains potassium, which helps to thin excess mucous in your nasal passage, helping to clear your nose and improve your speaking ability.

5. Ginger

For anyone in a profession requiring an intense speaking regimen, ginger can not only help soothe your overused voice, but help to build up your body’s defenses to throat-harming bacteria and viruses. And as an added bonus, ginger has a multitude of offerings for your general health and beauty as well…which is great if you happen to have on-camera engagements. After all, appearance is a major factor in campaigns!

Ginger has been discovered to have ten antiviral compounds that make it a fantastic natural immune booster and defense against certain bacteria and viruses.

Keep slices of candied ginger on hand as a healthy snack, slice fresh ginger to steep in morning tea, or add ginger to any meal inside a vinaigrette or sauce.

The many benefits of ginger:

  • Boost the immune system to fight the common cold

  • Fight bacteria in the intestine, reduce gas, and reduce pain associated with stomach aches, nausea, or indigestion

  • Reduces pain and inflammation to manage headaches or cramps.

  • Help to prevent stomach ulcers

  • Reduce inflammation and effects of acid reflux

  • Aid in digestion

  • Boost metabolism

  • Reduce inflammation caused by a sore throat

Ginger can help to increase and improve circulation and boost your body’s metabolic rate by increasing your body temperature by as much as 20%. This is called the thermic effect of food. Oh, ginger can also help increase satiety, making you feel more satisfied and prevent food cravings!

If you have any ENT health-related questions or would like to speak with a specialist, contact the Colorado Voice Clinic.

Always consult a physician before making changes to your diet, or taking steps to treat any medical ailment.



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