Leg Cramps

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.

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