Muscle cramps are unpredictable. No one is immune to them, but you can make healthy lifestyle choices to help prevent them. Work from the inside out by incorporating foods high in potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium into your diet. These nutrients are key for muscle cramp prevention and overall wellness.
Learn more about the foods that help with leg cramps—as well as the foods that cause leg cramps—so you can avoid them.
Foods That Help With Leg Cramps
- Sweet Potatoes
Baked, roasted or mashed, sweet potatoes are tasty in any form and rich in potassium. One medium sweet potato has 15 percent of your daily value, as well as magnesium and calcium. Plus, sweet potatoes naturally have a lot of water in them, so they can help keep you hydrated, too. (Dehydration is a common cause of muscle cramps!)
Melons are loaded with potassium and water and also contain a good amount of magnesium and calcium, as well as a little sodium, which your body needs after a workout. The best part: Melons are in season, so you can find them fresh at your favorite supermarket.
WebMD calls avocados a “potassium powerhouse” because they contain twice as much of the essential nutrient as sweet potatoes. Avocados are super easy to add to meals like salads, soups and sandwiches—simply switch out mayo for the heart-healthy fat.
All varieties of beans have potassium, but black beans have the most: a whopping 801 mg per cup (or 17 percent of your daily value). Add them to your favorite Mexican dish or try this superfood black bean and quinoa salad, perfect for summer.
Dairy-based foods make great snacks throughout the day. Yogurt contains between 350 and 500 mg of potassium per cup, depending on the variety, and a cup of milk has more than 300 mg. Plus, milk is a natural source of calcium, sodium and protein, which helps repair muscle tissue after workouts.
- Dried Apricots
Another potassium-rich snack is dried apricots. Just one cup delivers roughly one-third of your daily value, or about 1,500 mg. Make sure you buy unsweetened dried apricots, so you’re not loading up on sugar.
Foods That Cause Leg Cramps
Sugar is one of the worst foods for muscle cramps, as well as refined vegetable oils and alcohol. Sugar and refined vegetable oils, like soybean oil, cause inflammation, which can lead to muscle cramps and other health issues. It’s best to limit or avoid these foods altogether. Alcohol can also cause inflammation and should be avoided in excess.
Safe and Gentle Topical Muscle Nutrition
Adding healthy, potassium-rich foods to your diet is just one step to beating muscle cramps. Applying PHUEL is another. Our topical muscle nutrition activates muscle function before workouts and supports recovery afterward. Because PHUEL is made with safe and gentle ingredients, you can apply anytime you feel a cramp coming on or when you need to release muscle tightness. Learn more and add PHUEL to your fitness regimen today.
Note: If you’re experiencing frequent muscle cramps, talk to your doctor about what could be causing them and how to best manage them.