Ever had muscle cramps? Of course you have, and they are pretty crappy. Fitness enthusiasts and your everyday person alike can experience them, but how do you prevent them from happening? Of course, studies have shown that fitness people like triathletes and cyclists are very likely to experience the excruciating pain of muscle cramps, due to the nature of their fitness, but can you prevent it from happening frequently or at all?
So apparently, medicine has been unable to pinpoint the EXACT reason that someone can get cramps. The hypotheses vary from having existing diseases such as hyperthyroidism to having low electrolyte and potassium in your body. Assuming you are healthy and have no previous medical issues, it would seem that the electrolyte and potassium loss are the likely cause, in which case we’ll need something to replenish those loses! Of course, stretching always helps reduce these cramps, which is why you want to make it a habit to stretch before and after training.
So how can you modify your diet that both replenishes the low potassium and electrolyte count while keeping you at tip top health? Well the obvious response to getting potassium in your system following an intense workout is having a banana. Your typical banana has enough to replenish all the lost potassium. A substitution for bananas can be a cup of OJ or one potato. However, if you are concerned about the sugar that are in these foods, you can also fix your diet with beans. Beans have more potassium packed in them than your medium sized banana. However, you do want to be mindful of the carbs that are in these. It is not that carbs are bad, as mentioned in several other posts, it’s simply that you want to be mindful of your carb intake and make sure that it correlates to your workout routine. We all know that too many carbs and not enough activity doesn’t lead to the most desirable result. If you’re looking into some greens with loaded potassium, Mediterranean chard is the way to go. Not too high on carbs, this leafy green is perfect to ensure you don’t get those gnarly cramps, as they have twice the amount of potassium than bananas do. I will state from personal experience that chard tends to taste a bit bitter, so try mixing it up with some other foods to give it some nice flavor. Though I’m not a particular fan of squash, I will mention that these foods have some crazy high amounts of potassium. Specifically the acorn squash, this superfood has over 800 milligrams of potassium, double that of bananas.
If you’re having night cramps, or cramps in the middle of sleep, make sure to take in more calcium, as having these cramps may signify a lack of calcium in your diet. Make sure to follow the necessary first aid procedures following a cramp (proper stretching and immediate cessation of physical activity) to prevent potential soreness that results from the cramp.