- 04 Feb - 10 Feb, 2023
CRAMP RELIEVING FOODS
- 30 Jul - 05 Aug, 2022
- health & nutrition
When you have been blessed with a case of cramps that feel like a knife is being twisted in your body, your game plan for pain relief might include popping a pain killer and binge-watching your favourite series with a heating pad. While those tried-and-true tactics will likely alleviate some of the pain, noshing on certain foods that help with cramps may also save you from your agony.
Here, we break down the best foods that help with cramps and explain the magical powers driving these pain-relief effects. Read on:
Dark leafy greens
Mixing some dark leafy greens into your diet is an easy way to get your fill of magnesium. One cup of raw spinach, for example, provides about eight per cent of the RDA for the mineral per cup, while a cup of turnip greens offers roughly five per cent of the RDA. Add them to your morning smoothie or lunchtime stir fry, whip up a quick sautée with eggs or chicken, or use them as a base for your favourite salad toppings.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of magnesium, according to the National Institutes of Health, packing 41 per cent of the RDA per half-cup. To get your fill of the food that helps with cramps, blend the seeds in a food processor to create a homemade pumpkin seed butter that's the perfect dip for apples. You can also mix them into your salads or coleslaw for a crunchy addition, use them in place of pine nuts in pesto, or incorporate the seeds or butter into no-bake energy bites.
Just one ounce dark chocolate with 70 to 85 per cent cacao packs a whopping 21 per cent of the RDA for magnesium, and luckily it's pretty effortless to incorporate into your diet. Aside from eating a few chocolate squares straight-up, consider mixing cacao powder with some honey and pumpkin seed butter for a fudge-like treat.
This potent-smelling herb is packed with two of the aforementioned polyphenols: diosmin and hesperidin. When it comes to peppermint, often the easiest way to bring that into your diet is through peppermint tea, which is a really popular way to sip on it and consume it. Not a fan of the beverage? Get your fill of the food that helps with cramps by finely chopping the leaves and adding them to a salad or stirring them into Greek yogurt with berries.
Ginger has a reputation for being an anti-inflammatory all-star, and one systematic review found that consuming the root orally (via capsules containing ginger powder) may be a potentially effective pain relief treatment for cramps. While there's no guarantee eating ginger straight-up will have the same effects as those found in studies, it's easy enough to incorporate into your diet and, thus, worth a shot. Consider brewing a cup of ginger tea or blending it into your green smoothie. A ginger-based smoothie with some berries would be a fabulous cramp drink in the morning.
A single golden spice can help you score that anti-inflammatory, prostaglandin-inhibiting curcumin. We really love adding turmeric into stews, or you can even use that as a seasoning onto the fish, like the salmon or mackerel. Turmeric lattes, as well, are excellent, like a golden milk latte you can do before bed. That warm, soothing beverage can also help reduce some of that cramping and that pain, too.
While dairy is typically what first comes to mind when you think of calcium, you can also get your fill from tofu, which provides 12.5 per cent of the RDA per three ounces. Transform the plant-based protein into a crispy taco filling, mix it into soups or curries, or use it to create an animal-free take on scrambled eggs.
Along with satisfying protein, you'll nab nearly 30 per cent of the RDA for calcium per cup of plain, whole milk yogurt, which makes it one of the top foods that help with cramps (potentially, of course). Eat the dairy product by the spoonful, turn it into a creamy salad dressing, or use it as a dip for fresh veggies.
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