We’re here to help you get the truth behind the question, “does potassium help with leg cramps?”
Most of us have heard of the old advice that you should eat bananas for leg cramps. Most people believe them, mostly because, why not, right? Bananas taste good and they’re filling. If they’re great for cramps, then that’s awesome. If not, then at least it’s a filling snack that packs a ton of minerals and nutrients. But, the truth is, potassium, which is found in huge concentrations in bananas, actually helps with leg cramps.
Why Does Potassium Help With Leg Cramps?
Recent studies have shown that a body that’s short in electrolytes like potassium is much more prone to muscle cramps than those that are not. The legs, in particular, are vulnerable to muscle cramps if you don’t have electrolytes in the human body. This is especially true in the summer, when the heat causes you to lose more minerals and nutrients than usual via sweat.
Usually, eating a healthy and balanced diet can provide the average person with the necessary levels of potassium, as well as other nutrients and minerals to help minimize leg cramps. However, that’s not always possible.
This is why it’s important to find ways to supplement our usual daily diet with multivitamins and supplements that can help replace depleted minerals, including potassium.
What Are The Natural Sources of Potassium?
While potassium supplements do exist in the market, it’s still best to get your daily dose of potassium (and other minerals and nutrients for that matter) straight from the natural source.
Fruits and vegetables that are great natural sources of potassium include the likes of avocado, spinach, coconut water, banana, and wild-caught salmon, among many others. Of course, there are other natural sources as well. Yogurt, for one, is a good example.
How Do You Treat Leg Cramps?
Prevention is always better than cure, but what happens if you have leg cramps? What do you do then?
Below is a five-step plan that you should follow if you find yourself having leg cramps in the middle of a workout, or even out of nowhere.
- Stretch – Slowly stretch the muscle groups that are cramping. If you need help, consult a physiotherapist to help guide and teach you what the best stretches for particular muscle groups are.
- Hydrate – Sufficient hydration is key to making sure that your body and muscles are able to maintain a healthy fluid balance.
- Massage – Gently massaging the cramping muscle area can help ease the pain and make it less worse.
- Apply ice packs – In case you’re having a particularly severe cramp, you can try applying an ice pack to the muscle for a couple of minutes. This can help reduce the inflammation and swelling.
- Go to your doctor – Muscle cramps are natural. It can happen to anyone at any time, even to the healthiest of individuals. However, if you regularly have muscle cramps, or if they tend to last longer than a couple of minutes, you might want to see your physician to see if you’re suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition.