How to Prevent Post-Workout Muscle Cramps

How to Prevent Post-Workout Muscle Cramps

Q: I get really bad muscle cramps after workouts – is there anything I can add to my diet to help?

A: A lack of magnesium in the diet can increase the likelihood of developing muscle cramps. Insufficient potassium and/or sodium - both of which can result from dehydration - could also be the culprit if you are an athlete or sweat profusely.

If dehydration seems to be the problem, try drinking coconut water after your workout instead of regular water, as it contains both magnesium and potassium to replenish lost electrolytes.

Dietary sources of magnesium include rice bran, pumpkin seeds, raw cocoa, black strap molasses, dark chocolate, leafy greens, beans, nuts and seeds.

While incorporating these foods into your diet will eventually increase your magnesium intake, you can supplement your diet with an additional 250 to 500mg per day of magnesium citrate until your diet catches up with your needs. The daily recommended intake of magnesium is 400mg per day, however, most people need twice that amount. Do not supplement with extra potassium unless advised to by your doctor.

Registered Dietitian

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