Do you have muscle cramps?
If you do, you may be deficient in MAGNESIUM
What is magnesium?
Many people experience cramps when they sleep, which can be associated with excruciating pain. Athletes, on the other hand, tend to develop muscle cramps when they are exercising.
A wide variety of factors can cause muscles to contract painfully. The following are common causes:
Minerals that play a role
Fortunately, such severe calcium deficiencies are rare, but on the other hand, sub-optimal calcium intakes are relatively common, especially in teenagers and young women who cut out calcium-rich foods like milk and dairy products because they are afraid of gaining weight. If you hardly drink any milk and never eat yoghurt, or cheeses, you may well be inclined to a subclinical calcium deficiency.
The easiest way of ensuring that you have abundant potassium is to eat five or more servings of fruit and/or vegetables a day. If you think you lack potassium, buy a variety of fresh or frozen vegetables and boil them lightly in chicken stock to make a delicious, fat-free soup that is loaded with potassium. If you have a juicer, make an apple or grape and carrot drink to boost your potassium intake. Bear in mind that if you boil vegetables the potassium will end up in the water.
Potassium supplements should preferably only be taken if your potassium levels have been checked by a medical doctor and have been found to be low.
Potassium supplements should also only be taken under the supervision of your doctor, because a number of medications can influence the potassium levels in the body - for example, the so-called ‘potassium-sparing diuretics’ prevent loss of potassium from the body. If you take a potassium supplement, you could develop hyperkalaemia (excess potassium in the blood), which is also harmful. So rather eat fruit and vegetables and whole grains to top up on potassium, than take supplements.
If you do a lot of exercise in hot weather or if you are an athlete training hard, you need to make sure that you are getting some sodium in your diet.
People who develop cramps and do not eat any salt or use salt substitutes (which are rich in potassium) should consider that they might have a sodium deficiency.
Find out more about magnesium
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