Why do bananas help with leg cramps

Cramps: high tension in the muscles

After the gym class, while swimming or at night in bed - almost everyone has been surprised by muscle or calf cramps. You meet sporty and unsporting people as well as adolescents and the elderly. What you can do to prevent cramps in the first place and what means for self-medication you can get in your pharmacy.

Painful, but mostly harmless: muscle and calf cramps

Most of the time, the cramps occur suddenly and for no apparent reason and go away as quickly as they came. Most often the muscles of the calves and the soles of the feet are affected by the twitching and after a few minutes at the latest the spook is over again. From the 6th decade onwards, about half of the people are regularly awakened by nocturnal muscle cramps. Seizures increase with age, as muscles shorten and people don't drink enough. This causes shifts in the body's salt balance and, in particular, an imbalance in the magnesium ions seems to favor the development of cramps.

Tip: After physical exertion and hard physical work that is associated with sweating, as well as during pregnancy, cramps also occur more frequently. In many cases, stretching exercises, isotonic drinks and foods or preparations with mineral salts will help you against the annoying muscle twitching.

So that cramps do not arise in the first place

The alpha and omega of the fight against muscle cramps is a balanced diet in which you pay special attention to the electrolytes it contains. Magnesium ions affect the amount of calcium ions, and both are vital to muscle activity. For this reason, incorporate more magnesium-containing foods such as bananas, peanuts, broccoli and whole grain bread into your diet. Sports such as hiking, gymnastics and walking are particularly suitable for people who are prone to cramps, as they use all muscle groups equally. Before each exercise, think about warming up and stretching the muscles.

In the long term, light strength, endurance and coordination training helps. For example, practice balancing on unstable equipment like gyroscopes and rocking boards. Warm wraps, a hot water bottle and hot baths also relax the muscles.

Tips on how to prevent muscle spasms in a simple way:

  • Drink at least 2.5 to 3 liters of water, tea or juice spritzer per day.
  • Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise daily, but don't overdo it. Otherwise you will overload your muscles.
  • Distribute stretching exercises evenly throughout the day: for example, bend over while standing and try to bring your fingertips to the floor.
  • Swimming promotes long-term muscle building. Cool off in the shower beforehand. How to avoid cramps.
  • After exercising, a gentle massage loosens the muscles of the feet and calves particularly well.
  • A warm foot bath in the evening relaxes feet and calves.

Help from your pharmacy: Magnesium supplements

Magnesium supplements provide effective relief for both pregnant women and elderly people who suffer more from calf and leg cramps. Magnesium should be dosed in a sufficiently high dose, with the German Nutrition Society recommending the intake of 300 mg to 400 mg magnesium per day. If the dose is too high, loose stools or diarrhea may occur. Then interrupt the treatment and resume it at a lower dose after normalization.

Magnesium supplements are available in the form of effervescent tablets (for example Biolectra® Magnesium 243 mg forte effervescent tablets), coated tablets (for example Magnesium Verla®) and capsules (for example Magno® Sanol capsules, Pure Encapsulations® Magnesium citrate capsules) are available. Pellets, which dissolve on the tongue and can be taken without water (for example Biolectra, are useful for traveling® Magnesium 300 mg direct, Magnesium-Diasporal® 300 direct, Magnetrans® directly granulate). But be patient: a positive effect will only appear after a few months at the earliest.

Note: If you suffer from cardiac arrhythmias or kidney disease, consult your doctor about magnesium supplements. The effects of various drugs, including thyroid preparations and antibiotics, can be influenced by magnesium. Make sure you take a long time interval and follow the recommendations of your pharmacist.

This is how you bring cramped muscles back into balance

Despite all caution, you may be surprised by a cramp while sitting comfortably on the sofa: the muscles harden, a sharp pain runs through your leg. The best way to end the cramp is to stretch the muscles. The muscle can be massaged passively by hand or actively stretched with exercises. This loosens the muscles and releases the cramps.

Tip: Try out the treatment with a so-called fascia roller. This is a knobbed roll that has its origins in sports medicine. Stroking the affected muscle groups loosens and stretches the connective tissue.

Source: Janine Naß, Kampf dem Krampf, DAZ No. 27, page 40, July 6, 2017.


Simone Lang | last changed on at 11:32