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foods that help with muscle cramps

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Most people think of bananas as the number one food for keeping away painful leg cramps — and for good reason. One creamy, green berry (yes, it's really a berry!) Eating a cup of cubed cantaloupe after a workout can help. Last medically reviewed on March 23, 2020. Choose a calcium-fortified brand for an extra boost. They’re not only hydrating but also can be customized to contain a hearty dose of muscle-supporting nutrients. But did you know bananas may not be the best source for helping prevent muscle cramps? They’re also rich in calcium, phosphorus, and B vitamins, which are important for muscle function as well (17). Fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds can help decrease inflammation in the … Watermelon. And 1 ounce of roasted, salted almonds has double that. For example, 1 ounce of toasted sunflower seeds has about 37 milligrams of magnesium. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. Plus, they’re high in fiber, and studies show that high-fiber foods can help ease menstrual cramps as well as help control your blood sugar and lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. 7 Signs and Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency, 8 Signs and Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency (Hypokalemia), Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT, What’s Causing Your Leg Cramps at Night? has about 975 milligrams of potassium, twice as much as a sweet potato or banana. Sardines may be tiny, but they pack a punch when it comes to nutrition. Eating leafy greens also may help with menstruation cramps, as studies show eating foods high in calcium can help relieve pain from periods. Sweet potatoes are a muscle-building diet. This article lists 7 symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Some athletes swear by pickle juice as a fast way to stop a muscle cramp. They’re rich in calcium and magnesium. Learn about 20 triggers, from…. | One study found that when 10 male athletes rehydrated with an electrolyte-containing beverage similar to coconut water after intense exercise, they were less susceptible to electrical-stimulation-induced muscle cramps, compared with when they hydrated with regular water (3). It’s best to limit or avoid these foods altogether. In fact, one 11-ounce (310-gram) papaya delivers about 15% and 19% of the recommended intakes for potassium and magnesium, respectively (15). For example, combining frozen berries, spinach, almond butter, and Greek yogurt in an easy-to-drink smoothie can help deliver the vitamins and minerals that your muscles need to function at an optimal level. What’s more, beet greens are loaded with nitrates, which are compounds that help improve blood vessel function, ensuring proper blood flow to your muscles. Salmon is an incredibly rich source of protein, healthy anti-inflammatory fats, and other nutrients that may help prevent muscle cramps, including B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus (20). It’s good for hydration. Greek yogurt is a healthy dairy product that’s high in many nutrients, particularly potassium, phosphorus, and calcium — all of which act as electrolytes in your body. They’re amongst the most nutritious greens you can eat and packed with a number of nutrients that support muscle health and may reduce your risk of muscle cramps. Muscle cramps can be caused by a number of factors, from certain medical conditions and medications to diet and dehydration.But did you know there are actually some foods that cause leg cramps and foods that trigger muscle spasms? What to Know About Magnesium and Your Leg Cramps. Foods that might help with cramps If you’re looking for the best food for period cramps, choose light, healthy fruits and vegetables that won’t be heavy in your stomach. Potassium can easily be lost through excessive sweating and dehydration. But this doesn’t mean you should chug water. Muscle cramps are a painful symptom experienced by many people. Sardines, tofu and calcium-fortified orange juice and breakfast cereals, turnip greens and kale are also good sources of calcium. Orange juice has 27 milligrams of calcium and magnesium. They can be caused by fatigue or overuse…, Leg cramps can be excruciating, and they often attack when you’re sound asleep. Some research shows that replacing certain nutrients, including potassium, sodium, and magnesium, may help counteract muscle cramps. Watermelon is a fruit that has an exceptionally high water content. Muscle cramps are very common condition which usually occurs at night when the patient is sleeping.. You probably want to treat this condition early to avoid the pain and discomfort that muscle cramps cause. Sweet potatoes are amongst the healthiest vegetables you can eat due to the powerful combination of vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds found within their flesh and skin. All rights reserved. 2. Avocados are creamy, delicious fruits that are packed with nutrients that may help prevent muscle cramps. Optimizing blood flow may help reduce muscle cramps (18). This tool does not provide medical advice. It’s also a potassium star with nearly 500 milligrams per cup. That’s three out of four nutrients you need to ease muscle cramps tucked under that yellow peel. But they’ll also give you magnesium and calcium. Exercise, dehydration, and menstruation are common causes. If you have stomach pain, pass on the cheeseburger and fries. Muscle cramps happen when your muscles tense up and you can’t relax them. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. One way to stop cramps is to stretch or massage your muscles and to eat enough of these key nutrients: potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium. All rights reserved. It’s a natural source of electrolytes like calcium, potassium, and sodium. Lack of fluids, blood circulation problems, strained muscles, or deficiencies in certain nutrients can lead to muscle cramps, WebMD said. Muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions that occur in various muscles. Muscle cramps are unexpected involuntary contractions that can target several muscles and they’re more than likely caused by a micronutrient deficiency like potassium. Sources Nuts, soybeans and seeds also have a … They’re particularly rich in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that act as electrolytes in the body and play roles in muscle health. They’re called electrolytes, and you can find them in the following foods. Some of the most common types of cramps include muscle cramps, stomach cramps, and of course, menstrual cramps. Those work well, but you’re not limited to them, so you can mix things up. What’s more, watermelon is a good source of magnesium and potassium, two minerals that are important for overall muscular function. A study in male athletes demonstrated that drinking small amounts of pickle juice strained from whole pickles reduced electrically-induced muscle cramp duration by 49.1 seconds, compared with drinking plain water or no fluids at all (19). Oily fish contains plenty of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which are healthy for the heart, and improves your blood circulation. Plus, bone broth is a good source of magnesium, calcium, and sodium — nutrients that may help prevent cramping. ", Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Hydrate Right During Physical Activity,” “Coconut Water: Is It What It's Cracked Up to Be?” “Kidney Disease: High- and Moderate-Potassium Foods,” “4 Keys to Strength Building and Muscle Mass.”, Reviewed by Kathleen Learn what’s causing these pains, how to alleviate them, and when to seek medical…, Foot cramps at night can range from a slight annoyance to a major factor in preventing good sleep. One cup of cooked lentils has about 71 milligrams of magnesium, and a cup of cooked black beans has almost double that with 120 milligrams. M. That is why you will often see athletes eating bananas during or after a competition. They have a lot of fat and calories, so keep that in mind. Here are ten more amazing foods that help reduce muscle pain and speed recovery so that you can hit it hard again and get more out of your body whether your goal is performance, muscle, or fat loss. See additional information. Like bananas, sweet potatoes give you potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Greek yogurt is also loaded with protein, which is needed for the growth and repair of muscle tissue. All of the above can help protect against muscle cramps. It is rich in water and minerals like potassium and magnesium which are needed to … In fact, watermelon is nearly 92% water, making it an excellent choice for a hydrating snack (9). Additionally, salmon is a good source of vitamin D. Having healthy blood levels of vitamin D is vital for muscle function, and being deficient in this nutrient may lead to muscular symptoms, such as muscle pain, spasms, and weakness (22). Legumes like beans and lentils are packed with magnesium. Let's take a look at the causes of each and how the best foods for cramps can help alleviate the symptoms and even prevent cramps in the future. If you frequently experience muscle cramps, try adding a few of the foods and beverages on this list into your diet for natural relief. Muscle cramps are a painful symptom experienced by many people. If you lose too much water, you’ll get dehydrated, and muscle cramps may happen. Plus, deficiencies in nutrients like magnesium, vitamin D, and certain B vitamins may increase the chances of muscle cramps (3, 4, 5). Calcium is essential for muscle and nerve function so that muscles contract and relax properly. Although the exact cause isn’t always known, intense exercise, neuromuscular abnormalities, medical conditions, an electrolyte imbalance, medication use, and dehydration are thought to be common contributors (2). This article will help you do that. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. One study in 230 women found that those who experienced muscle cramps consumed less dietary potassium than those who did not experience this symptom (16). The mineral potassium is a vital mineral to prevent cramp prevention. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on March 16, 2020, Mayo Clinic: “Muscle cramp,” “Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day?”, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: “Using Foods Against Menstrual Pain.”, Cleveland Clinic: “Don’t Let Foot Cramps and Charley Horses Slow You Down.”, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center: "Magnesium Rich Foods. M. Sodium and water are key because as you exercise, your body flushes sodium out with your sweat. Before you reach for a sports drink, know this: You only need these sugary electrolyte beverages if you’re doing high-intensity exercise for an hour or more. Fermented foods, such as pickles and kimchi, are typically high in sodium and other nutrients that may help reduce muscle cramps. When making bone broth, be sure to cook the broth for a long time and add an acidic component, such as apple cider vinegar, to your recipe. Foods That Cause Leg Cramps. Sweet potatoes get the win because they have about six times as much calcium as bananas. Sugar is one of the worst foods for muscle cramps, as well as refined vegetable oils and alcohol. Plus, they’re high in fibre, and studies show that high-fibre foods can help ease menstrual cramps as well as help control your blood sugar and lower levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol. But that might not be the case. Wild-caught salmon is a rich source of vitamin D and has been shown to contain between 8–55 mcg per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). Deficiencies of magnesium may result to muscle twitches as well. Do you ever get muscle cramps? They believe it’s effective because of the high water and sodium content. If you experience muscle spasms as a symptom of fibromyalgia, natural muscle relaxers such as magnesium and cayenne pepper could provide relief. M. Therefore, eating Greek yogurt after a strenuous workout can help replenish certain nutrients that may prevent exercise-related muscle cramps, as well as boost muscle recovery (13). ", Columbia University: “Foods that minimize menstrual cramps?”, The Cooper Institute: “Does Pickle Juice Relieve Muscle Cramps?”, American Heart Association: “Hyperkalemia (High Potassium).”, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Associations of Menstrual Pain with Intakes of Soy, Fat and Dietary Fiber in Japanese Women.”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise: “Reflex Inhibition of Electrically Induced Muscle Cramps in Hypohydrated Humans.”, National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements: “Magnesium.”, U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Basic Report: 09040, Bananas, Raw," "Basic Report: 11507, Sweet Potato, Raw, Unprepared," "Full Report (All Nutrients):  11353, Potatoes, Russet, Flesh and Skin, Raw," "Basic Report:  11422, Pumpkin, Raw," "Basic Report:  09037, Avocados, Raw, All Commercial Varieties," "Basic Report:  16070, Lentils, Mature Seeds, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt," "Basic Report: 16015, Beans, Black, Mature Seeds, Cooked, Boiled, Without Salt," "Basic Report:  09181, Melons, Cantaloupe, Raw," "Basic Report: 09326, Watermelon, Raw," "Basic Report: 01079, Milk, Reduced Fat, Fluid, 2% Milkfat, with Added Vitamin A and Vitamin D," "Basic Report:  11457, Spinach, Raw,” "Basic Report:  11233, Kale, Raw,” "Basic Report:  09206, Orange Juice, Raw,” "Basic Report:  12539, Seeds, Sunflower Seed Kernels, Toasted, with Salt Added," "Basic Report: 12563, Nuts, Almonds, Dry Roasted, with Salt Added," "Basic Report: 15237, Fish, Salmon, Atlantic, Farmed, Cooked, Dry Heat,” "Basic Report:  11886, Tomato Juice, Canned, Without Salt Added. The recommended Adequate Intake (AI) for potassium in 4.7 grams per day. 10. Exercise, dehydration, and menstruation are common causes. Legumes and beans are good foods for muscle cramps because they offer magnesium to help promote muscle contraction and prevent common muscle cramps. Bananas contain potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Given that it’s a liquid, drinking it can help you stay hydrated, which may reduce muscle cramping. For these reasons, eating nutrient-dense foods rich in particular vitamins and minerals may help decrease muscle cramping and prevent it from occurring in the first place. For electrolytes without the sugar, drink coconut water instead. I often get them if I don’t stretch after a run. Here are 8 signs and symptoms of a potassium deficiency. Many types of nuts and seeds have calcium and magnesium as well. Potassium-Rich Foods. Electrolytes are electrically charged substances that your body needs to perform critical functions, including muscle contraction (6, 7). Eating oily fish like salmon can help improve it. They’re also high in selenium, a mineral that plays an essential role in muscle function. There are some plant foods that are really rich in all of those 3 minerals, and I wanted to share them with you. Papayas are tasty tropical fruits that are especially high in potassium and magnesium. 3. For example, 1 cup (144 grams) of cooked beet greens contains over 20% of the recommended intake for both potassium and magnesium. They’re rich in calcium and magnesium. Bone broth is made by simmering animal bones in water for a long time, usually over 8 hours, to create a concentrated broth. Interestingly, some research has shown that consuming pickle juice may help inhibit electrically induced muscle cramps in athletes. Potassium is the main mineral known for cramp prevention. And it’s packed with protein, which helps repair muscle tissue after workouts. Proper muscle function requires adequate hydration, and lack of water can hinder muscle cells’ ability to contract, which may cause or exacerbate cramping. Fortunately, eating nutrient-dense foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals may help prevent and treat muscle cramps. This may indicate that staying hydrated with electrolyte-rich coconut water may help reduce your susceptibility to post-exercise muscle cramping, though more research is needed. #1: Eat blueberries, tart cherries, and other dark-colored fruit to reduce DOMS. View our slideshows to learn more about your health. One possible cause of muscle cramps is dehydration. Plus, a 3-ounce portion of cooked salmon has about 326 milligrams of potassium and 52 milligrams of sodium to help with muscle cramps. You also could try trout or sardines. Although potassium is often associated with bananas, those sweet fruits actually aren't a very high source, providing just nine percent of your daily recommended intake. Potassium is important because it helps your muscles work and keeps your heart healthy. The natural sugars will also help drive protein into your muscles and replenish low glycogen stores, and the high water content is essential in preventing muscle-cramping dehydration. Pickle juice has become a popular remedy for leg cramps over the years. It’s an excellent source of electrolytes, providing calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorus — all of which may help decrease muscle cramping (10). Papaya contains a good amount of potassium and magnesium which can help reduce muscle cramps. Therefore, consuming more potassium-rich foods like papayas may help reduce your risk of muscle cramps. All the above nutrients are incredibly effective at helping ward off muscle cramps. 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