How to Prevent Muscle Cramps

· 18th February 2015

When a muscle contracts involuntarily, a spasm – or cramp – occurs. They commonly occur after exercise or at night and can be extremely painful. Here, we’ll discuss the foods, nutrients and supplements that may help to prevent cramps and improve muscle health.

Magnesium

Magnesium is vitally important to muscle health. Unfortunately, this mineral is sadly lacking from our diets because we have fallen into bad dietary habits. Not only do we not consume enough magnesium-rich foods. The quality of today’s fruit and vegetables is also poor.

Magnesium can be taken as a supplement in chloride or citrate form. However, the following foods also contain magnesium:

  • Leafy greens
  • Cacao
  • Dried fruits
  • Peas
  • Avocado
  • Whole-grain rice
  • Bananas

rice

Potassium

Our muscles also need ample amounts of potassium. It’s a mineral that’s balanced by sodium. Since our diets are often too heavy in sodium, our dishes often times have an imbalance of potassium as well.

Which foods are potassium powerhouses?

  • Tomato
  • Bananas
  • Wheat germ
  • Dried fruits
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Melons

To ensure sure that you get enough magnesium, calcium and other minerals each day, eat a sumptuous salad of leafy greens, dried fruit, sunflower seeds and sprouts.

Crushed garlic is also a good choice for seasoning your dishes.

colourful rhubarb pieces

Natural supplements

Viburnum tincture: derived from the viburnum bush, this tincture is a vegetable option for combatting cramps. Put 1 tsp. in water and drink as much as three times a day.

Rusco: Rusco helps improve circulation, so this plant makes a vital contribution to cramp prevention. Take from seven to 11 mg of Rusco extract per day.

Rosemary: Rosemary is such an effective herb for the circulatory system, that your diet really shouldn’t be without it!

Cold baths for sore legs

Therapy using water at different temperatures is called hydrotherapy. It can be extremely useful for improving the circulation. For cramps, use cold water and follow the steps below with your legs completely submerged in the water:

1. Let the water run down the outside edge of the right leg.

2. Lower the shower hose down the inside of the right leg.

3. Run the water along the outside edge of the left leg.

4. Repeat until you reach your knee, then switch back to your right knee. Switch to the left knee and continue downwards.

5. Follow the same pattern with the backs of the legs. You don’t need to switch knees.

6. When you dry off your legs, use a rough towel and rub the skin lightly, from the bottom to the top.

Exercises, stretching, massage!

Daily exercise is just as important as your diet – just don’t do it too aggressively. Walking, swimming or cycling are all great choices, but take care to stretch properly afterwards.

Give yourself a massage where you frequently experience crampsIf you have the option, see a physical therapist or and osteopath – but it’s also something you can do yourself if the area’s not too painful. Use a sesame oil base, adding a few drops of the following essential oils: hamamelis, rosemary, rusco, or grapevine. When you’re finished with the massage, cover the area with a towel and then rest for at least 15 minutes. This will keep the affected area warm and maintain the heat generated by the massage and oils.

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