If suddenly you feel strong painful contractions and tightening of your muscles that last from seconds to few minutes that right there is a muscle cramp also known as a charley horse. It mostly happens to muscles of the leg. Some activities can trigger muscle cramps such as exposure to low temperature even cold water, injury, overuse or straining of the muscles, exercise, pregnancy due to a reduced level of minerals like calcium and magnesium often towards delivery time. Another being seated for an extended period of time, standing on a hard surface for too long, placing your legs in strange positions while asleep, when the body loses too much fluid thereby getting dehydrated, some medical conditions like multiple sclerosis, peripheral arterial disease, kidney problems, thyroid conditions. Even certain medications can cause it like birth control pills, steroids, statin, antipsychotics, and diuretics.
There are various ways to stop muscle cramps when it occurs but here are ten foods that fight these muscle cramps;
- Sweet Potatoes
A medium-sized sweet potato can offer an estimated amount of about 15% of your daily value. It keeps you satisfied with lots of energy because this delicious food contains complex carbohydrate. After the strenuous workout, the glycogen stores are drained, this helps restore them.it also keep your body in good shape because of the presence of vitamin C and beta-carotene. Just slice them up, add olive oil, salt, chili powder, cayenne pepper and toss them in an oven or bake them on a grill. Include this in your post work out a meal plan, and you can say goodbye to your muscle cramps.
- Green Tea
Green tea is usually packed with lots of antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory which is an excellent choice to have after work out in other to prevent cell and muscle damage related to exercise. Even women can take it during their period if they are having cramps. It is also essential for training and recovery because it helps athletes stay hydrated. It can be served hot or cold.
- Spinach and Kale
For a very good reason, spinach is well known for being a superfood. After a hard exercise, there is quick rebound not only this, but free radicals in our body are fought in other to prevent illnesses like heart disease and cancer due to spinach fully packed with antioxidants. Due to its nitrate, it is a good diet staple for boosting good health and strength of muscle. It has shown to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar and also aids in the maintenance of proper muscle and nerve function because of its high content of magnesium. Spinach and kale are also rich in calcium which is essential for the proper function of the muscles and can ease muscle pain. So try to make it always present in your salad or as a side dish, or add it to your smoothie if the taste is not good enough for you, toss in some almond milk or fruit.
This very palatable fish is packed with vitamin D and omega-3 which are very helpful when it comes to muscle cramps because it helps fight inflammation. Another benefit is that it is full of lean protein an essential element for restoring and building of muscles. It is recommended that for those working under intense environmental and physical stress for instance having competitions in high altitudes or extreme low or high temperatures or those who do intense workout should consume fish oil as it helps to combat oxidative and reduce waste production during vigorous exercise.
This decreases stress in our body affiliated with exercise, balance electrolytes and increase energy levels because it is packed with vitamins B, magnesium and antioxidants. The antioxidants which it contains are called flavanols and are able to increase the production of nitrous oxide in your body, leading to the dilation and relaxation of your blood vessels resulting in lower blood pressure and better health in general.
This has been shown to reduce what is known as delayed onset muscle soreness due to its packed anti-inflammatory, antioxidant curcumin. The compounds present in this spice aids in the reduction of muscle damage and inflammation, and boost reparation of muscles ensuring an increased level of performance in an athlete. Curcumin also relieves pain and swelling by inhibiting the effects of pro-inflammatory enzymes and chemical pain messengers.
Oatmeal aids in relaxation of muscle due to its high level of potassium. Also if you intend to lose weight, oatmeal aids in achieving that goal. As it is one of the foods for weight control, oatmeal incorporation with other whole grains like buckwheat, bran, pasta, whole grain bread can give you a full feeling naturally and also help in the maintenance of muscle movement.
- Blue Berries and Tart Cherries
It has been observed that these two fruits decrease delayed onset muscle soreness and recover strength faster. These two are both dark-colored fruits, and they consist of nutrients which assist the elimination of waste products to produce in the process of working out. Another benefit of tart cherries is its melatonin elevating property which is a sleep hormone within the body thereby ensuring better sleep.
As we all know eggs are a good source of animal protein and have increased concentration of leucine which is an essential amino acid for the building of muscles. Eggs contain antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin and selenium which decrease soreness and inflammation inside the body.
Beans and Legumes are excellent foods for muscle cramps as they consist of magnesium to aid in the promotion of muscle contraction and avoid muscle cramps. Muscle twitching can also be as a result of a deficiency in magnesium. Muscle boosting magnesium is also found in large amounts in seeds, nuts, and soybeans.
Muscle cramps are almost not avoidable especially if you are in constant risks or situations that will lead to it like being a sportsman, but reducing this is possible by inculcating these foods which are rich in magnesium, potassium, antioxidants, calcium into your daily diet plan.
20 Best And Worst Foods For Muscle Cramps Relief & Prevention. (2018). NutritionKit.com – Research-Based Health & Nutrition Articles. Retrieved 13 April 2018, from https://nutritionkit.com/foods-for-muscle-cramps/
Muscle Cramps. (2016). HealthLink BC. Retrieved 13 April 2018, from https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/za1086
Smith, B. (2018). 10 Foods to Cure Sore Muscles and Speed Up Recovery. Men’s Journal. Retrieved 13 April 2018, from https://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink/10-foods-cure-sore-muscles-and-speed-recovery/