While sleeping you must have come across a sudden pain in your legs. That’s mainly a sensation of muscle cramp often called leg cramps. Mainly, it is a sort of uneasy painful feeling that doesn’t last longer but its effects last for the few hours.
Moreover, we need to understand the symptoms and the reasons causing muscle cramps to identify what foods trigger leg cramps.
Symptoms and Reasons:
During a cramp, a muscle is stretched painfully and involuntarily. Leg cramp mostly occur in the calf muscles. It occurs least in thigh or toe muscles. It continues for five to ten minutes generally while persists longer in thigh muscles.
Although any cause is not clearly specified for the muscle cramps. But there are some possible reasons behind. The main whys and wherefores behind leg cramps are:
- Excessive exercise
- Muscle fatigue
- Neuromuscular abnormalities
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Medicinal impacts
Wrong sleep habits can also lead to muscle cramps.
What Foods Trigger Leg Cramps:
Leg cramps or muscle cramps are also due to the deficiency of some vital nutrients; calcium, potassium and magnesium. Moreover, the health experts and nutritionists name these nutrients as electrolytes. Whenever our diet is deficient in these electrolytes, the chances of cramps increase accordingly.
But it would be difficult for you people to skip your favourite dishes from your meal. That’s why we will recommend you some delicious substitutes for the foods that lead into muscle cramps.
Saturated animal fats:
The saturated animal fats include red meat, dairy products and eggs mainly. You should abate your intake for these saturated animal fats. Because overloading these foods can contribute to build-up of arachidonic acid with its inflammatory properties that causes stressed joints and increase the chances for muscular cramps.
You should limit the use of processed food in your meals. Because they offer less nutrients and are more likely to include supplementary extras which can intensify achy joints by endorsing inflammation. Some of the main processed foods to avoid include white flour, baked goods, white rice, white bread along with many sources of refined or processed sugar. These simply have no nutrients to bargain in exchange for the calories they pile on your body.
Certain triggering vegetables:
There are certain fruits and vegetables that you should avoid to prevent cramps. For example, vegetables belonging to the nightshade family such as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and aubergines. Because these nightshade vegetables contain a chemical content solanine which triggers a chemical reaction in your body leading to painful sensations and cramps.
Fruits to be avoided:
The citrus fruits are often a healthy choice as they contain ample amount of vitamin C. But these citrus fruits can also activate a detox reaction in some people that can result into a muscle cramp.
High calorie food:
You should avoid eating sugary food and fast food. As researchers propose that sugar may upsurge inflammation which in turn can increase pain, particularly for those suffering from the other provocative conditions such as arthritis, gout and fibromyalgia. Similarly, the cheap vegetable oils used in fried and fast-foods can be a cause of cramp.
Table salt is main component of you seasoning and is made up of sodium. The excess amount of salt can knock off the equilibrium of key electrolytes and minerals from the body. Because these electrolytes and minerals help to support good health and appropriate functioning of our muscles and joints. The excess of sodium (table salt) can also deter the hydration levels of our body.
Caffeinated drinks and alcohol:
Caffeine and alcohol trigger the inflammatory process of our body. They also drain vital nutrients like magnesium, vitamin B and vitamin C from our body. That’s why they should not be used excessively.
Here are some foods that can help you get out of these painful leg cramps:
Sources of proteins:
Instead of saturated proteins resources, you should have foods that are rich in omega-3 such as salmon and other oily fishes. You can also use their oil supplement if you do not like to eat fish. Similarly, prefer plant based dairy products such as nut milks.
Food rich in magnesium:
Magnesium helps to relax muscles and also avoid deposition of calcium around joints in the form of crystals. Hence, to prevent the muscle cramps particularly leg cramps, we should have foods rich in magnesium such as dried fruits, oats and beans. They also aid in proper utilisation of calcium and vitamin D.
Fruits and vegetables:
The exotic varieties of foods such as papaya, pineapple, mango and guava contain naturally occurring enzymes that help in proper digestion of food. Similarly, the leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach etc. and the cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower etc. boast the anti-inflammatory properties of human body. Thus, helping to prevent cramps too.
You can add some good quality fats in your meals to relish your taste buds. Good quality fats for example coconut oil or olive oil can be used to make enjoyable, home-cooked delicious meals that contain a favourable balance of fatty acids.
Hydrate your body:
It is important to keep your body hydrated because dehydration is among key triggers for joint pain and leg cramps. Hence, keep your body hydrated and drink excess amounts of water. You can also use vegetables and fruits that are rich in water.
When to see a doctor:
Muscle cramps are not that much serious as our body recovers from it after a while. The recovery time may vary depending upon the severity of the cramp. Like the leg cramps in the thighs are tough to settle down while calf cramps are recovered within ten to fifteen minutes. You should visit a doctor if the cramp is more painful or it lasts long than normal.
If you have normal leg cramps, then by avoiding the above triggering foods and adding the necessary foods, you can reduce the chances of leg cramps. These suggested foods can help to eliminate leg cramps.
You might also like: