10 Foods That May Help With Muscle Cramps

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Muscle cramps are defined as the sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles. Also referred to as a “charley horse”, muscle cramps can cause severe pain. Though muscle cramps are generally harmless, they do make it temporarily impossible to use the affected muscle. 


Muscle cramps occur when your muscles tense up and you are unable to relax them on your own. Though muscle cramps are painful, you can usually treat them yourself. Factors such as dehydration, exercise, health complications, and menstruation are often the common cause. 


To learn more about muscle cramps and how they affect the body, read The Lowdown on Muscle Cramps


However, there are certain foods that we can eat as a preventative measure to reduce or help with the occurrence of muscle cramps. These foods contain key nutrients that can help prepare our bodies to ward off this painful phenomenon. Here is a list of 10 foods that may help with muscle cramps.


10 Foods that May Help With Muscle Cramps




Bananas

Bananas are a great source of potassium which is important because it helps your muscles work while keeping your heart healthy. However, did you know that bananas also give you calcium and magnesium? That is three of the four nutrients needed to help with muscle cramps all in one fruit. Benefits such as these make the banana a powerhouse and quick choice for muscle cramp relief. 


Avocado

Speaking of powerhouses, this fruit takes the cake! Yes, and avocado is a fruit. A creamy green berry to be exact! Avocados contain about 975 milligrams of potassium which is twice as much as a sweet potato or a banana. With that much potassium, you might as well swap out your mayo and make yourself a sandwich with mashed avocado to help keep those muscle cramps away. But do eat these sparingly as they contain a lot of fat and calories in addition to all that potassium.



Sweet Potatoes

Similar to bananas, sweet potatoes give you potassium, calcium, and magnesium. What sets this food apart is the fact that it gives you six times the amount of calcium as a banana. This benefit is not only limited to sweet potatoes. Regular potatoes and pumpkins are also great sources of those three key nutrients. An added bonus is the water content in potatoes and pumpkins. This helps to keep you hydrated to drive off dehydration, which is another cause of muscle cramps.


Beans and Lentils

Legumes such as beans and lentils contain magnesium, which is the other magical nutrient that is known for easing muscle cramps. One cup of cooked lentils averages about 71 milligrams of magnesium, while a cup of cooked black beans has double that amount with 120 milligrams. Beans and lentils are also high in fiber which has been shown to ease the discomfort of menstrual cramps in addition to controlling blood sugar and lowering levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol.


Melons

These amazing fruits are loaded with potassium, have a decent amount of magnesium and calcium, a little birt of salt, and a lot of water. Sodium is actually important to replace after a workout. When our bodies sweat, we flush out water and sodium, which can lead to dehydration if we lose too much water. Eating melons after a workout can help your body achieve that delicate balance.


Watermelon

Well, watermelons are exactly that. Melons that are full of water! They are about 90% water, so they are a great snack choice if you need to get hydrated. Though watermelons are high in potassium, they do not contain as much as other melons. 


Dark Leafy Greens

Adding kale, broccoli, or spinach to your meals can help prevent muscle cramps because they are rich in magnesium and calcium. Research has shown that dark leafy greens may also provide relief from the discomfort of cramps caused during menstruation.


Nuts and Seeds

Similar to beans and lentils, nuts and seeds can be a great source of magnesium. A lot of them have calcium as well. Just as with avocados, eat these in moderation as they tend to be high in calories and fat.


Salmon

Oftentimes, the cause of muscle cramps may be poor circulation. Oily fish such as salmon can help to improve circulation because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fats are beneficial for circulation because they promote the release of nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow. In addition to this amazing benefit, a 3-ounce portion of salmon has about 326 milligrams of potassium and 52 milligrams of sodium. If you are not a fan of salmon, you can substitute it for trout or sardines. 


Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a great source of potassium and have high water content. 

One medium raw tomato contains 292 milligrams of potassium while half a cup of tomato puree contains 549 milligrams of potassium. Add them to your salads or omelets for a great post-workout meal. 


The Take Away

Using preventative measures are a great way to deal with muscle cramps. Eating the right foods before and after strenuous activity can also help prevent muscle cramps, but did you know that there are drinks that can help as well? Read 5 Drinks That May Help With Muscle Cramps.


And don’t forget, sharing is caring!


This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.

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