How to avoid dreaded muscle cramps!
A muscle cramp can be a serious buzzkill when you are dialed in on a workout. Or worse, they can be an unwanted and painful wake up call in the middle of the night. So how can you prevent these awful knots in your muscles from occurring? While proper hydration and sleep are important factors, your nutrition habits can have a huge impact on preventing cramps.
Foods rich in potassium, sodium, magnesium, Vitamin D, and calcium help your muscles function properly and prevent muscle cramps. Potassium is an electrolyte that your body sweats out when you exercise. Lack of potassium is one of the leading causes of muscle cramping. Those taking diuretic supplements have higher tendencies for potassium deficiencies and should be especially aware of their intake efforts.
Sodium is another important electrolyte your body needs for optimum performance. While too much sodium can be a problem, most people forget to make sure they have enough when exercising. You lose it quickly when you sweat and need to make sure you’re replenishing these levels or you may experience harsh side effects like nausea and vomiting.
Magnesium has shown to play a role in muscle cramps too. While adding magnesium alone is not sufficient enough to prevent cramps, it can definitely aid the cause when added with sodium, potassium, and vitamins.
Calcium is great for healthy bones and also plays a big part in muscle function. The essential electrolyte is more commonly deficient among females. Milk is a top source for calcium but there are also calcium supplements available that offer more than enough of your recommended intake.
Vitamin D is there to help your body absorb things like calcium and magnesium. Commonly found in popular nootropic supplements, this vitamin can even help protect your body from diseases and cancer.
The bottom line is that if you take special care to eat foods rich in all of these electrolytes and vitamins, you will greatly reduce the risk of getting muscle cramps.
Here are 6 foods naturally packed with these anti-cramping vitamins and electrolytes:
- Red beets
Loaded with over 65 mg of sodium per beet, red beets are an excellent source of sodium and potassium to help you prevent from cramping. Pickled beets are an easy addition to a salad or fruit smoothie. Beet juice is a trendy serving suggestion and is becoming more popular as the benefits of this plant continue to be discovered.
If you’re looking for a tasty fish that’s packed with healthy components like vitamin D and calcium, salmon can be a great choice. In fact, 6 ounces of cooked salmon has over 600 international units of vitamin D—enough for a person’s daily recommended intake. Salmon is also loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12, both super good for your body.
- Pickle juice
Have you heard of athletes drinking pickle juice for cramps? It’s not a myth, pickle juice actually works to prevent cramps. High in sodium and electrolytes, pickle juice is even being bottled and sold purely as a workout drink. It has proven to relieve cramping within seconds of drinking it, making it a great beverage to have on hand in the case of muscle cramps.
Commonly found in vegetarian dinner plates, lentils are a highly nutritious, low calorie bean-like pods. They are an excellent source of potassium—one cup of boiled lentils has almost the same potassium content as two bananas. Also rich in dietary fiber and lean protein, lentils are a great choice for dieters and weight watchers alike, and are constantly cracking top weight loss diet lists.
These little green tree vegetables are loaded with potassium (457 mg per cup) as well as magnesium and calcium, making it an effective cramp preventing food. Some people add broccoli to their green smoothies while others prefer it raw in a salad. Other green vegetables like kale and spinach boast high nutrition as well making green smoothies a go-to for athletes and dieters.
Rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium, almonds make a great healthy snack. They’re a tree nut naturally high in protein and low in sugar. Perfect for masking hunger pains or providing quick energy before a run, almonds are one of the most nutritious nuts in the world. Packed with anti-cramping components, adding them to your diet will definitely reduce the occurrence of muscle cramps.
It doesn’t take much. Simply adding one or a few of these nutrient rich foods to your diet will significantly reduce muscle cramping. The best thing you can do is to be aware of what you consume and monitor your intake of essential electrolytes like potassium, calcium, and sodium. If you increase your exercise activity levels, likewise, you need to increase your intake of vitamins and electrolytes.