This Roman Emperor Loved Leeks For An Unexpected Reason

Every food has a history, and leeks are no different. According to The Spruce Eats, this vegetable is a member of the lily family. While they are closely aligned with onions, leeks tend to be sweeter and have a milder flavor. Most people tend to eat them in soup. The Kitchen Project notes that the history of the leek started in Egypt, where the stalky-looking onion became an important part of the culture's commerce and trade. 

The story of this particular food item did not end there. Aside from its popularity in Egypt, the bulbous vegetable found favor with a Roman emperor who — true story — claimed the leek helped him sing better, according to The Kitchen Project. This ruler was such a believer that he was given the moniker of the "leek eater." Who was this emperor in pursuit of having the voice of a nightingale, and was he on to something? Can consuming leeks help you sound like Taylor Swift or Mariah Carey

The truth behind the singing claims

Per the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Roman emperor Nero ate a quart of leeks a day. He believed in their power to help improve his singing voice. History claims that while Nero is often referred to as the emperor who fiddled as Rome burned, it is more likely that he was singing. The history site shares that Tacitus, a Roman historian, even wrote about the event and mentioned that Nero was singing. In fairness to Nero, who was not well-liked, it was never proven.

Back to those leeks. We don't actually know if the emperor's voice was impacted in any way. So, it's a fair question to wonder if leeks will come in handy the next time you want to audition for "The Voice"?

According to the blog, How To Sing Better 101, if you want to enhance your singing skills, eating onions, which are in the same category as leeks, can be beneficial. The blog claims that this is because of the amount of vitamin C these vegetables pump into your system, which could possibly make it easier for you to breathe so that you can belt out the chorus of your favorite Adele song. According to Healthline, vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties and is essential for healthy lungs. With that said, if you're looking to become a professional singer, you could put these claims to work and see how your voice changes.