Muscular cramps – a painful and involuntary contraction of the muscles is something that occurs with many of us and happens all of a sudden out of the blue. You may be in between an activity like biking, running, swimming or even sleeping in the middle of the night, when all of a sudden a particular or a group of a muscle tightens up and causing intense pain and discomfort.
Why do we get these muscle cramps?
Expert health advisor and renowned dietician Sheela Seharawat explain that although the exact cause of muscle cramps may not be found, things like dehydration, fatigue, intense exercise, neuromuscular abnormalities, certain medical conditions or use of medicines or electrolyte imbalance are thought to be some of the common causes.
She even stresses the factor that lack of proper intake or deficiency of certain nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and sodium may also cause muscular contractions. Other nutrients like vitamin D, B vitamins and magnesium deficiency can also increase the chances of having muscle cramps.
It is therefore important that when we regularly face the issues of painful and discomforting muscular cramps, we must take care of our diets and start including certain nutrient-dense foods mainly rich in minerals and vitamins in our regular diets.
Noted below are the top five foods that may help us get relieved from muscle cramps:
The creamy and delicious fruit is packed with the goodness of valuable nutrients needed by the body including omega-3 fatty acids. Avocado is also a rich source of potassium and magnesium, the two minerals that act as electrolytes and plays a critical role in our muscle health. These electrolytes are certain electrically charged elements that the body needs to perform certain important functions including the contraction of muscles.
Certain activities like intense exercises can cause an imbalance in these electrolytes and further causing muscular contraction. So, if you are an exercise freak and undergo extensive exercise regimes, you must consider including avocado in your diet.
Sweet potato is another food that contains high amounts of potassium, magnesium and calcium and even more than in bananas. It also has high amounts of water content and valuable hydrating agents that aids against muscle cramps.
Sweet potatoes are often regarded as one of the healthiest foods available to us due to its powerful combination of vitamins, minerals, and certain plant compounds. Again potassium, calcium, and magnesium are the three nutrients found in abundance in sweet potatoes that are critical for muscular health.
This fleshy, sweet and delicious tropical fruit is another nature’s blessing to us with high amounts of potassium and magnesium. It is considered that even a smaller quantity like 250 gms of papaya can give us around 20% of the recommended daily need of these two valuable nutrients that our body needs.
Dietary potassium has been found very effective against people who suffer from regular muscle cramps. It is thereby, consuming papaya or any other potassium-rich food that may help us reduce risks from muscle cramps.
Often it has been found that muscle cramps are a result of poor blood flow in the system. This can be overcome by eating oily fishes like salmon, trout, and sardines.
Salmon is very rich in protein, healthy fats with anti-inflammatory qualities and other valuable nutrients like B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium and phosphorous. It is also very high in iron content that is essential from the production of blood cells, the oxygenation of muscular tissues and thus the blood flow. All these together contribute to protecting us from muscular cramps.
In addition to all of it, salmon is a rich source of vitamin D, and having healthy levels of vitamin D in the blood is vital for good muscular function and its health. The deficiency of vitamin D has many times been attributed to muscular spasms, pains, and weaknesses.
Kimchi, pickles and other fermented foods are typically rich in certain nutrients like sodium and others that have been found effective against muscle cramps. It has also been confirmed by certain research studies that consuming pickle juice can help reduce electrically-caused muscle cramps in athletes.
Fermented foods including pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut, and others are high in certain electrolytes like sodium and are a great choice for people who frequently face problems with muscle cramps. More studies are being conducted over the subject to be certain that fermented foods and beverages could be effectively used for the treatment of people who get muscle cramps.
A cramp, or maybe a series of them, takes place when a smooth muscle or an entire muscle group in our body suddenly seizes up involuntarily. The most common locations for cramps are the thigh muscles, maybe in the hamstrings in the back of the thigh, or the quadriceps at the front. However, you should know that no muscle group is spared from cramping. The back of the thigh, abdomen, back, neck, shoulders, hands, and feet can all cramp up. But, fortunately, most muscle cramps do not last for long.
Using common-sense can prevent most cramps. Getting in shape before starting any major sport like doing short warm-ups to send blood to muscles before the activity. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water ahead of your thirst. Frequent cramping or excessively painful cramps should be checked out by a doctor.
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