Whether you’ve just had a hard workout (and whether or not you’ve had enough water) or you’re in the midst of a peaceful slumber, a gnarly muscle cramp has hit your arm, leg, or just about nothing. any other part of your body. It sucks. Luckily, some foods, like the seven below, contain vitamins and minerals that could help ease your cramps, so you can get back to what you were doing in no time.
First of all, what causes muscle cramps?
If you’ve ever had a muscle cramp (what, who hasn’t?), you know that sometimes they just pop up out of nowhere. In other situations, the cause is clearer. According to the Mayo Clinic, “overuse of a muscle, dehydration, muscle fatigue, or simply holding a position for an extended period of time can cause a muscle cramp.”
9 Foods That Might Help With Muscle Cramps
1. Sweet potato
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You’ve probably heard that bananas are good for preventing and relieving cramps because of their potassium, but a single banana doesn’t contain that much potassium (more on that later, because bananas shouldn’t be ignored entirely). Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that your body needs, among other things, to maintain healthy nerve and muscle function. A cup of mashed sweet potatoes contains 754 mg of potassium, or 16% of the recommended daily value.
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Our favorite toast topping is another great source of potassium. Half an avocado contains 345 mg of potassium, or 7% of the recommended daily value. Our favorite toast topping is also high in magnesium, another mineral that acts as an electrolyte in the body.
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Considering that dehydration is one of the main causes of muscle cramps, it makes sense that foods high in water content can help rehydrate the body. Watermelon, for example, is nearly 92% water, making it a great option for hydration. Besides that, it’s just really delicious, right?
4. Pickles (or pickle juice)
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Biting into a crispy pickle isn’t just delicious, it can also help relieve muscle cramps. This is because pickles are high in sodium, which is an electrolyte. “People use pickle juice as a way to get electrolytes,” says Dr. Felicia Stoler, DCN, registered dietitian, nutritionist, and exercise physiologist. “Think Gatorade without the candy. It’s great for people tired of sugary sports drinks.
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Jackfruit is a tropical fruit related to figs, and the texture of its unripe flesh is suspiciously similar to that of pulled pork (the more you know). A one-cup serving contains three grams of protein. It’s also packed with other health benefits, like three grams of fiber and 110 milligrams of heart-healthy potassium, plus vitamins A and C, magnesium, calcium, iron and riboflavin, according to the Cleveland. Clinic.
Summer’s most delicious treat has about 1.6 grams of protein per cup (pitted, naturally). They are an excellent source of potassium, which can regulate blood pressure and is essential for muscle function, and they have many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cherries are also high in melatonin, which can help you get a good night’s sleep. (And when they’re not in season, you can buy them frozen to mix into smoothies.)
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In addition to potassium, bananas also contain about 1.6 grams of protein per cup and are a convenient source of fiber, prebiotics, vitamins A, B6, and C, and magnesium. And FYI, you should eat those stringy bits (aka phloem bundles): they’re like the pathway for all the nutrients inside the fruit.
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