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Top 7 Foods That Help With Muscle Cramps

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

There is nothing that can wake you up with a jolt as strong as the one you get when you suffer muscle cramps. They come unannounced and before you know it, you are screaming in pain. Alluded to low levels of calcium, potassium and sometimes because of dehydration, muscle cramps can strike you any time of the day or night.

Not just exercises but even poor nutrition can be a significant factor contributing to muscle cramps. If one has been suffering from painful muscles every so often, changing one’s diet makes a huge difference. In case you are suffering from a muscle cramp, you could do light stretching exercises. If available, an ice pack applied to the cramping muscle helps. Here are some foods that fight muscle cramps.


Did you know?

  • Muscle cramps can occur in any muscle, but they are most common in the thighs, feet, and hands. source: MedlinePlus
  • Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps. source: MedlinePlus
  • Muscle cramps can be more common in older adults, overweight individuals, athletes, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions. source: MedlinePlus
  • Stretching, massaging, and applying heat or ice can provide relief from muscle cramps. source: MedlinePlus

1. Melon

The humble watermelon has more to offer than just its water content. Melons are rich in potassium, the mineral needed for the efficient working of muscles. Having even a couple of slices of watermelon has shown tremendous improvements in healing muscle cramps.

2. Sweet Potatoes

Such is the abundance of potassium in sweet potatoes that having just one everyday caters to about 12 per cent of the daily requirement. Roasted, boiled, baked or mashed-have them whichever way you love.

3. Water

Not much of a food element, but water is essential for proper muscle function. Staying hydrated is the key to avoiding muscle cramps. A minimum of eight glasses daily is a must. If plain water seems too much for you to handle, you could try infused water or have lemon juice mixed in it. Increasing your fluid intake by having tomato juice, sweet lime or orange juice also helps.

About 975 milligram of potassium is present in one avocado, that is twice as much as a sweet potato or a banana. Since it helps maintain your heart health and enables your muscles to function, potassium is believed to be essential. To cope with muscular cramps, add an avocado in mashed form to your breakfast sandwich instead of your go-to mayonnaise spread. You can even add a piece to your salad. Remember to consume in moderation as they are high in fat and calories.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: What Is Stiff Person Syndrome: Unraveling the Mystery of the Rare Disorder

4. Calcium-rich foods

Another mineral that is needed for muscle health is calcium. Dairy products, fish, leafy greens and nuts are all abundant in calcium and therefore work wonders when one is suffering from muscle cramps. Almonds, yoghurt and cheese have the highest concentration of calcium.

5. Banana

There is a reason why you see all the sportspeople chomping on bananas in between matches. Banana is rich in potassium and magnesium; both elements help with controlling muscular cramps. The effects can be felt almost immediately. Having a banana with your morning cereal is one of the healthiest breakfasts that cater to your daily intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium.

6. Salt And Sodium-Rich Foods

Sodium helps in regulating blood pressure and in maintaining fluid balance in the body. It works with other electrolytes like potassium for proper nerve and muscle function. To avoid the muscles cramping up, eat rock salt or sea salt and avoid processed foods that create an imbalance in electrolytes in the blood leading to fluid imbalance. Beetroots, carrots, celery, smoked fishes and meats and olives are naturally high in sodium.

Magnesium is abundant in legumes like beans and lentils. About 71 milligram of magnesium is present in one cup of cooked lentils, whereas 120 milligram is present in one cup of cooked black beans. Additionally, they contain a lot of fibre, and studies have shown that fibre-rich meals may help manage blood sugar, reduce levels of ‘bad’ also known as LDL cholesterol, and reduce the occurrence as well as the intensity of period cramps.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

7. Dark Chocolate

Here is one more reason to eat some dark chocolate. Rich in magnesium, dark chocolate helps in improving muscle function. Magnesium aids in the contraction and relaxation of muscles and in maintaining electrolytic balance. Read more about the health benefits of dark chocolate.

Also Read: Calf Strain: Understanding Its Causes, Symptoms, and Recovery Tips

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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