Foods that help fight muscle cramps

Muscle cramps: how they manifest themselves

When the body signals that the muscles are tired and there is a deficiency of some important minerals, there is often the appearance of muscle cramps or spasms. These are involuntary and sudden contractions of the striated muscles, which appear accompanied by very intense painful pangs, causing temporary immobility of the affected part. The muscle affected by a cramp appears hard to the touch, but does not present edema or bruising.

Cramps occur most frequently in the thigh, calf and foot. Sometimes, however, they can also occur in the rectum.

These contractions are transient and generally last a few minutes. They mostly occur during the night and cause frequent awakenings, disturbing sleep.

Cramps: causes

Usually the causes of muscle cramps are due to excessive load on the muscles, especially during exercise, running or walking, but the low level of blood flow also causes these muscle contractions.

They can occur in physically trained individuals who sweat profusely and do not replenish mineral salts. This causes, in fact, an imbalance between hydration and electrolyte concentration. Similarly, people suffering from hyperhidrosis may also suffer from cramps in the lower limbs. If they occur with a certain frequency, cramps may be due, in particular, to a deficiency or imbalance of sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin D.

Cramps are also a symptom of circulatory problems, more or less serious, which hinder the body's normal blood flow (e.g. peripheral atherosclerosis, venous thrombosis, varicose veins and phlebitis).

Best foods for cramps

Water intake is very important to cure muscle cramps. In addition to this, eating foods rich in nutrients is also essential to counteract annoying and painful contractions. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium prevent muscle cramps, as they act as electrolytes. This ensures proper muscle functioning and maintains muscle health.

The diet must never lack these seven foods capable of providing a considerable quantity of minerals useful for combating the onset of cramps:


Bananas are rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium which help maintain electrolyte balance essential for preventing muscle cramps. Potassium is considered the most important mineral, and the banana is considered a real “mine” of this nutrient. For this reason it is often recommended in the diet of those who sweat a lot – such as athletes, since potassium and sodium are the two minerals most lost through sweating – and of hypertensive people – potassium has hypotensive properties.


Potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese and phosphorus are present in abundant quantities in avocado. The level of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), folate, vitamin K, vitamin E (alpha tocopherol) and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is also excellent. Potassium and magnesium act as electrolytes, preventing muscle cramps.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in substances beneficial to our body and boast numerous properties. The presence of fibers means that yam (another name by which it is known) is useful in the presence of various conditions. Also worth considering is the presence of vitamin A, B6 and C, as well as mineral salts such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, manganese and phosphorus. Sweet potatoes are antioxidants, have a lower glycemic index than common potatoes and are therefore also suitable for diabetics. The peel also helps reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.


Being rich in potassium, watermelon is recommended for people who complain of muscle cramps, but also summer disorders linked to alterations in osmotic pressure, water retention, neuromuscular excitability and slight alterations in the rhythmicity of the heart.


Milk is a product that boasts a good source of proteins with high biological value, specific vitamins and minerals.
As regards the vitamin profile, milk is particularly rich in riboflavin (vit B2) and, especially whole milk, in vitamin A (retinol and equivalents); there is no shortage of interesting levels of many other components of group B. Regarding mineral salts, considerable quantities of calcium and phosphorus are appreciated; the various microelements (zinc, selenium, etc.) should not be ignored.


The legumes to consume to counteract the onset of muscle cramps are above all dried peas and beans. They contain iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin C, vitamin PP. Dried peas mainly contain iron, magnesium and zinc.


Papaya is a fruit come on very interesting nutritional values. In addition to being very rich in water, it contains vitamin A, folic acid (vitamin B9), vitamin E, vitamin K and above all vitamin C Among the mineral salts, however, they stand out potassiumcalcium, phosphorus and magnesium, precious for counteracting the onset of tension and muscle cramps.

For abdominal cramps, however, there are breathing exercises for abdominal cramps.


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