I have been getting cramps in my calf muscles. What's missing
from my diet that would prevent this?
People can get cramps in their calf muscles due to a few reasons.
The first might be a failure to stretch adequately before and after
exercising. Muscle cramps might also develop from simple
overexertion, a case of pushing yourself too far, too fast. The third
possibility is an insufficient intake of fluids. Staying hydrated is
essential to keeping your electrolytes in balance, and allowing your
muscles to contract and relax. The balance of electrolytes in the
body, i.e. sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphorus,
magnesium, and carbon dioxide rely on adequate levels of
hydration. So even though cramps can be related to low levels of
certain minerals such as calcium and potassium, supplementing
your diet with these minerals must be done in combination with
keeping yourself hydrated.
Finally, cramps in the calf muscles either during exercise or at
night can be the result of insufficient mineral intake. Most
commonly, cramps can be avoided by increasing your intake of
calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Both calcium and
magnesium can be taken in the form of a supplement, but it is
recommended that potassium levels be increased through the
intake of more fruits and vegetables. People with certain medical
conditions may be at risk in taking potassium supplements.
Potassium can be found in cantaloupes, bananas, tomatoes,
grapefruits and orange juice. These minerals should be part of a
person's daily diet, as it will not help to simply take a supplement
before running, or when cramps set in.
If you are older, legs cramps could be due to decreasing
circulation. This is often accompanied by signs such as yellowed
and thickened toenails, cold or bluish feet, and decreased pulses
in the feet and ankles.