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10 Foods That Can Help Ease Muscle Cramps

Muscle cramps are sudden, involuntary contractions of a muscle or a part of muscle that usually develop in the leg muscles causing sharp pain. Muscle cramps occur for a short period of time and go away within a few minutes [1].

Dehydration, muscle strain, staying in a position for a long period and overuse of a muscle are some of the causes of muscle cramps.

In addition, studies have also shown that certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as magnesium, vitamin D, potassium, sodium and calcium may increase the likelihood of muscle cramps [2], [3]. So, it's important to consume nutrient-dense foods rich in particular vitamins and minerals that will help reduce muscle cramps.

Read on to know the foods that may help get rid of muscle cramps.

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1. Coconut water

Coconut water is loaded with electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium all of which can help reduce muscle cramps.

The intake of fluids containing electrolytes may treat and lower exercise-associated muscle cramps in athletes. However, due to the fewer amounts of electrolytes in sports drinks, it may be difficult to replace the amount of electrolytes lost during exercise [4].

This may indicate that staying hydrated with coconut water rich in electrolytes may alleviate muscle cramps.

Tip: Drink coconut water whenever you experience muscle cramps.

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2. Papaya

Papaya contains a good amount of potassium and magnesium which can help reduce muscle cramps. Magnesium plays an important role in the active transport of potassium and calcium ions in the cell membranes, which is necessary for muscle contraction, nerve impulse conduction, vasomotor tone and normal heart rhythm [2].

Tip: Eat a bowl of papaya as a part of your breakfast meal to get most of the nutrients.

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3. Fish

Fatty fishes such as salmon and sardines contain significant amounts of essential nutrients such as calcium, iron and sodium that may help prevent and relieve muscle cramps.

Tip: Eat fatty fishes twice or thrice a week for optimal nutrition.

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4. Watermelon

Watermelon is a good source of calcium, magnesium and potassium and high in water content which aids in hydrating your body and also improves overall muscle function, thereby preventing and alleviating muscle cramps.

Tip: To receive most of the nutrients, add watermelon as a part of your daily diet.

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5. Sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are packed with various vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium that are important for proper functioning of the muscles. Low calcium and magnesium levels are known to cause muscle cramps.

Tip: Incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet to get most of the nutrients.

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6. Chamomile tea

Chamomile is an ancient medicinal herb which possesses many terpenoids and flavonoids. It is commonly used for treating several health ailments like inflammation, muscle spasms, menstrual disorders, wounds and insomnia [3].

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7. Avocados

Avocados are an excellent source of potassium and magnesium that plays an important role in muscle health and can help prevent muscle cramps. Eating avocados as a part of your daily diet will help in proper functioning of the muscles and improve overall health.

Tip: Have avocados in the form of smoothies, dips and spreads.

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8. Dark green leafy veggies

Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, lettuce and mustard greens contain good amounts of magnesium which can help prevent and reduce muscle cramps [4].

Tip: Add green leafy vegetables to your salad or have it in the form of smoothies.

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9. Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are rich in many vitamins and minerals including magnesium that may help soothe muscle cramps and improve muscle function. Increase your magnesium intake by eating nuts and seeds everyday as a snack [4].

Tip: Eat nuts and seeds daily to get most of the nutrients.

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10. Legumes

Legumes such as beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils and soybeans are packed full of magnesium. Magnesium works along with calcium to help relax your muscles and can help reduce muscle cramps or spasms [4].

Tip: Consume legumes in the form of soup, stews, dips and spreads.

Tips To Ease Muscle Cramps

Take a break from the activity that caused muscle cramps.

• Slowly and gently stretch the cramped muscle in the area and stay in that position till the pain reduces.

• Gently massage the cramped muscle.

• Apply cold or hot compress to lower the pain.

Common FAQs

Q. Are bananas good for leg cramps?

A. Bananas are a good source of magnesium, potassium and sodium that may bring relief from muscle cramps

Q. What deficiencies cause muscle cramps?

A. Potassium, calcium and magnesium deficiencies cause muscle cramps.

Q. What can I drink for leg cramps?

A. Drink plenty of fluids for easing muscle cramps.

Read more about: foods muscle cramps pain wellness
Story first published: Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 16:59 [IST]
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