foods with electrolytes | foods that help with muscle cramps

Muscle Cramps Hampering Your Training? Try These 13 Electrolyte-Rich Foods

By Linnea Zielinski

There's little more frustrating than being sidelined by a muscle cramp. You've built the strength and the mental stamina, but you also need your muscles to perform their best — and that means keeping your muscles from seizing up.

Exercise strain and overuse are the most common causes of muscle cramps, explains Dana Hunnes, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., a senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan-UCLA Medical Center and author of Recipe for Survival.

But there's another thing to consider if you're prone to these annoyances: Your electrolyte intake. Your body needs optimal amounts of electrolytes (like calcium, sodium, magnesium, and potassium) to perform many tasks correctly, including muscle contractions.

Recent research found that drinking a solution containing electrolytes reduced the susceptibility of cramping compared with plain water. By eating a diet rich in foods with electrolytes, you may be able to help prevent imbalances that can cause your muscles to cramp. Here's a list of foods that (could) help with muscle cramps since they provide electrolytes.

Reduce cramping and fight fatigue with the optimal balance of electrolytes and carbs in LADDER Hydration.


1. Avocado

avocados on cutting board | foods that help with muscle cramps

You'll find several electrolytes in your serving of guac. Avocados offer up calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Hunnes says they may be able to help with cramps "if the cause of the cramping is due to low potassium or magnesium."


2. Banana

While bananas have a slightly inflated reputation for helping with muscle cramps due to their potassium content, one large banana provides 487 mg potassium, which qualifies them as a "good source" of the mineral, along with some magnesium and calcium.

In one study, researchers found that women who consumed less dietary potassium were more likely to experience muscle cramps.


3. Beans

white beans in bowl | foods that help with muscle cramps

You wouldn't expect beans to be one of the foods that may help with muscle cramps, but white beans are actually one of the top sources of potassium. Hunnes notes that beans may help ease your cramps if they're caused by low potassium or magnesium. That's because one cup of these legumes contains 1,190 mg potassium and 134 mg magnesium (an excellent source!). Plus, that generous amount delivers nearly 13 grams of filling fiber.


4. Bone Broth

Bone broth quality varies widely, so make sure you're buying from a brand you trust or try making it yourself. If you're making it at home, you can increase the magnesium and calcium in your bone broth by cooking it for eight hours or more.


5. Coconut Water

cup of coconut water | foods that help with muscle cramps

Coconut water is like nature's sports drink. Depending on the type of coconut, it may contain calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and magnesium, as well as natural sugars to replenish your glycogen stores. An 8-ounce cup of coconut water has almost 400 mg potassium. Hunnes also notes that replacing lost liquid, like with coconut water, may help with muscle cramps.


6. Dark, Leafy Greens

Greens are among the more unexpected foods that deliver minerals that might help with muscle cramps. These are an excellent source of magnesium and potassium that can help replenish low levels of these minerals. Hunnes adds that they can also help with hydration since they're also full of water.


7. Milk

glass of milk on tablecloth | foods that help with muscle cramps

Reduced-fat milk can help replenish lost fluids post-workout and deliver protein to rebuild muscles. One cup has 390 mg potassium, 96 mg sodium, and 309 mg calcium, which plays a vital role in proper muscle function. Like coconut water, milk may also help with cramps by replacing lost fluids, Hunnes explains.


8. Orange Juice

Orange juice will not only help refill your depleted glycogen stores after a workout but also supply several vital electrolytes. One cup of OJ includes some magnesium and almost 500 mg potassium. That's more than a banana, which gets a lot of credit for its muscle-soothing potassium content.


9. Papaya

sliced papaya | foods that help with muscle cramps

Burned out on bananas? Reach for papaya instead. This tropical fruit offers 300 mg of potassium in one cup. Like bananas, papaya will also deliver carbs that will refill your glycogen stores after a strenuous workout. Hunnes adds that this fruit also helps support digestion "from its naturally occurring enzymes, just in case you have any smooth-muscle (intestinal) cramping."


10. Pickle Juice

Swigging pickle juice to help your workouts isn't as weird as it once was, and researchers have looked into the practice. One study found that participants' muscle cramps went away about 49 seconds faster when they drank this briny liquid.


11. Salmon

salmon on cutting board | foods that help with muscle cramps

Wild-caught salmon has a lot going for it nutritionally. It's rich in heart-healthy omega-3s, protein to support muscle recovery, and contains the electrolytes magnesium and potassium.


12. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are another food you probably don't reach for when your muscles cramp. But if you're looking for a potassium boost, look no further! Just half a cup mashed provides 475 mg of potassium, so it's a good source.


13. Watermelon

slices of watermelon | foods that help with muscle cramps

Our muscles need enough water to function as they should, and watermelon is rich in it. This melon is almost 92% water.


LADDER Hydration

ladder hydration bottle | foods that help with muscle cramps

If you push your limits during training — especially in the heat — chances are you're losing many electrolytes with each workout. LADDER Hydration is formulated to deliver the electrolytes and carbs you need in the optimal balance to help fight fatigue, boost endurance, and reduce cramping.*

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


hydration supplements
How Do Hydration Supplements Work?
ladder hydration
When Water Isn't Enough: The Benefits of LADDER Hydration
man in sauna | how to lose water weight
6 Tips to Help You Lose Water Weight
what to eat after a workout
What Should You Eat After a Workout?