It can be. Depending what’s on your plate.
We all know that a good night’s sleep, at least 7 hours, is crucial in preserving good vocal health. The strength, power, and clarity of the voice all depend on how well the body is functioning. So if the body feels weak, then so too will the voice. While exercise and mental clarity play an important part in getting a good night’s sleep, diet plays an equally important role.
There are key items that can be eaten, often found set out at the Thanksgiving table, that can help. But the key is not to eat too late. The general recommendation is to refrain from eating 3 hours before bedtime because, no matter what you eat, if it’s too close to bedtime your body will be working hard at digesting the food preventing you from getting that restorative sleep.
Around Thanksgiving many people believe that the sleepy feeling they get after dinner is caused by all the turkey they consumed but, while turkey is a source of tryptophan, that feeling is likely the result of the entire meal combined – and possibly the overfilling of one’s plate.
In reality, that sleepy feeling is the result of a multi-system effect on the body caused by the types of food we happen to eat during a Thanksgiving feast. By combining foods that contain tryptophan with carbohydrates our bodies are better able to absorb tryptophan. Eating high carbohydrate foods causes the pancreas to release insulin into the bloodstream, which clears away amino acids that compete with tryptophan. This allows the tryptophan to have a greater affect on the body. The stuffing, potatoes, biscuits and pie eaten along with super-sized portions of turkey all play a role in producing that nap inducing fatigue we all experience at Thanksgiving.
So, enjoy the following foods to help you stay well rested and keep your voice in good shape during Thanksgiving, and any time of year.
- Protein foods: beef, pork, turkey, chicken, Alaskan salmon, tuna, cod, snapper, shrimp, eggs
- Soy products: tofu, soy milk, soybeans
- Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Whole Grains: oats, brown rice, wheat, wheat germ
- Nuts and seeds: hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
- Fruit: mangos, dates, bananas
- Vegetables: beats, kelp, spirulina, winter squash, potato skins
- Cocoa: dry powder, dutch cocoa, chocolate
To all of our American readers, Happy Thanksgiving!
Eat well and rest those vocal cords.