Photo: Rachel Johnson

And we're not talking about bananas. 

Hayley Sugg
November 29, 2017

Muscle cramps, often associated with strenuous exercise, can sometimes be partially caused by a poor diet. Regularly incorporating certain foods into your diet can potentially help prevent cramping, or at least make it a less frequent issue. 

Potassium is the main mineral known for cramp prevention. It's an essential mineral that can aid communication between muscles and nerves. Although potassium is often associated with bananas, those sweet fruits actually aren't a very high source, providing just nine percent of your daily recommended intake. Instead, reach for one of the five foods and drinks listed below to help out with muscle cramps. 

Sweet Potatoes

One medium cooked sweet potato has roughly 542 mg (12 percent of your Daily Value) of potassium. Add in their high levels of vitamin A and you've got a winner all around. Try them baked, roasted, or mashed

Water

Dehydration can sometimes be the cause of muscle cramps. Making sure to stay fully hydrated can contribute to keeping cramps at bay. If water seems boring to you, try pumping up the taste by creating one of our Infused Water Recipes. Or if you forget to keep hydrated, try one of our 9 Easy Ways to Drink More Water

Melon

Enjoy two slices of watermelon and you'll be eating 640 mg (14 percent of your Daily Value) of potassium. If you're not interested in eating it alone, try it in our Hot-Sweet Grilled Watermelon, Watermelon-Tomato Salad, or a plethora of other recipes

Pickle Juice

Although the exact reason that pickle juice helps with cramps is still unknown (it's speculated it might be something to do with the vinegar it contains), a 2013 study suggests that it can reduce the amount of time a cramp lasts. We recommend taking it as a small shot (if you're sensitive to sodium, check with your doctor first) and saving the rest to use as a marinade

Beans

Different varieties have different levels, but overall beans are a good source of potassium. One cup of kidney beans contains 717 mg (15 percent of your Daily Value) of potassium, while a cup of black beans contains a whopping 801 mg (17 percent of your Daily Value). Use beans in chili, soups, dips, and more