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Nutrition for the Performing Artist – Musicians, Pt. 1 – Macronutrients

A guest post by Maria Kim, an amazing dietetic intern with the Sodexo Dietetic Internship.

In our previous post of this series, we discussed that musicians have just as important nutritional needs due to increased health risks that come with a career pursuing music. Now, we will highlight the macronutrients important to the performing artist.



    Our body’s building blocks, protein, make up the basic foundation of our body. It is especially important for muscle maintenance, muscular control, and muscle repair as proteins build, repair, and maintain our bodies’ muscles. In high stress, our bodies need a little extra protein to aid with muscle memory and injury recovery. It is also important to have adequate protein intake to fight against infection and illness. 

    Protein sources include poultry such as chicken and turkey, lean beef and pork, fish, eggs. If you’re vegetarian, beans, lentils, legumes, and soy products are plant-based options. 


    Your brain requires fat to have normal cognitive function such as memory, mental and emotional health, which are essential for a musician. There are different types of fats but a certain type called omega-3 fatty acids that are especially beneficial. DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid, are structural pieces in your brain, your eye retina, and other parts in the body. Research shows that omega-3 fatty have anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is increased when your body undergoes stress. Omega-3 fatty acid rich foods may be especially helpful for recovery from injury, muscle fatigue, tendonitis that can result from playing an instrument. DHA and EPA, another type of omega-3 fatty acids, may help regulate dopamine and serotonin, two kinds of neurotransmitters, have calming and relaxing properties, which will be helpful for performance anxiety. 

    Your body cannot produce this fat on your own. Foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, fish oils, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. 


    Carbohydrates are the main source of energy to the body. Our muscles and brains require carbohydrates for energy and to function properly and efficiently. A diet consisting of complex carbohydrates are beneficial for reaction time, memory performance, and enduring long hours of practice or performance. Simple carbohydrates will provide quick energy while complex carbs will sustain you for longer durations. 

    Complex carbohydrate sources include starchy vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, and cereal such as oatmeal. 

In the next part of our series, we will discuss important micronutrients to consider for musicians. 


Harmonize with food,




Gunnars K. What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids? Explained in Simple Terms. Healthline. Published May 23, 2019. 

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