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For those who regularly work out their leg muscles, leg cramps can seriously derail your workout. However, while leg cramps are most common during a workout, they can also strike at random. Leg cramps are usually caused by mineral deficiency, or by insufficient blood supply to the area.

Leg Cramps

Not only do we use our legs during runs, or other workouts, but they are generally important to our lives; they get us where we need to go! Here are some nutritional tips to avoid the dreaded leg cramp.

  1. Stock up on Minerals

    If you’re experiencing cramps due to mineral deficiency, they won’t go away until you resupply your body with electrolytes, including potassium, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. There are many ways to deliver these important minerals to your body!

    • Magnesium: dark, leafy greens (kale, swiss chard, etc), beans, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains.
    • Calcium: Dark, leafy greens, dairy products, soy, almonds.
    • Potassium: Potatoes, bananas, avocados.
    • Sodium: While we are often warned to avoid too much salt, our bodies need some of it, especially if we are sweating out a lot. Sodium-rich foods include seafood, dairy products, meat, and vegetables. You can also add good-quality salt to your food.

    In addition to a mineral-rich diet, you can also add supplements, mineral-rich smoothies, and sports drinks to your diet, especially if you’re quite physically active.

  2. Stay Hydrated

    Water is so important, especially during a workout where we sweat out precious H2O. Water can also help maintain healthy circulation, and flush out toxins from the body. Make sure to keep well hydrated….recommended amount varies depending on activity levels.

  3. Foods that are high in water content can also help you stay hydrated. These include:

    • Cucumber
    • Lettuce
    • Celery
    • Radishes
    • Tomatoes
    • Watermelon
    • Strawberries
    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower

    Basically, in addition to water, a plant-rich diet will help you stay healthy and hydrated!

  4. Avoid Harmful Foods

    If you’re experiencing frequent leg cramps, it may be time to eliminate some harmful foods and drinks from your diet.

    • Caffeine: Caffeine constricts blood vessels and limits circulation. Cut out coffee, soda, black tea, and switch to water, or herbal tea.
    • Junk Food: Foods that are high in sugar, trans fat, and sodium should always be avoided, and can also contribute to poor circulation.
    • Alcohol: Alcohol can lead to dehydration, and mineral depletion.

When it comes to avoiding leg cramps, it really comes down to staying hydrated, and taking in minerals. For those who lead physically active lifestyles, remember to supplement your diet with minerals, and to drink plenty of water. Even if you aren’t very physically active, we can all benefit from a healthy, mineral-rich diet!

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