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Foods for Muscle Cramps

based on NIH guidelines. Potassium, magnesium and calcium content of 8,000 foods

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Food NamePotassiumMagnesiumCalcium
Butter, salted24224
Butter, whipped, with salt26224
Butter oil, anhydrous504
Cheese, blue25623528
Cheese, brick13624674
Cheese, brie15220184
Cheese, camembert18720388
Cheese, caraway9322673
Cheese, cheddar9828721
Cheese, cheshire9521643
Cheese, colby12726685
Cheese, cottage, creamed, large or small curd104883
Cheese, cottage, creamed, with fruit90753
Cheese, cottage, nonfat, uncreamed, dry, large or small curd1371186
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  • Potassium, magnesium and calcium values are in milligrams and calculated per 100g of food weight.
  • Click on column header to sort foods by name or by column's content.

Muscle cramps

information from the National Institutes of Health

Muscle cramps are involuntary and often painful movements (contractions) of the muscles.
The most commonly involved muscle groups are:

  • Back of the lower leg or calf
  • Back of the thigh (hamstrings)
  • Front of the thigh (quadriceps)
  • Cramps in the feet, hands, arms, abdomen, and along the rib cage are also very common.

Causes of muscle cramps

information from the National Institutes of Health

Muscle cramps often occur when a muscle is overused or injured. Working out when you haven't had enough fluids (you're dehydrated) or when you have low levels of minerals such as potassium, magnesium or calcium can also make you more likely to have a muscle spasm.

Potassium is needed for cells, especially nerve and muscle cells, to function properly. You get potassium through food. The kidneys remove excess potassium in the urine to keep a proper balance of the mineral in the body.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health. Approximately 50% of total body magnesium is found in bone. The other half is found predominantly inside cells of body tissues and organs. Only 1% of magnesium is found in blood, but the body works very hard to keep blood levels of magnesium constant.

Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong.

Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include: hyperexcitability, dizziness, muscle cramps, muscle weakness and fatigue.

Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, is found in some foods, added to others, available as a dietary supplement, and present in some medicines (such as antacids). Calcium is required for vascular contraction and vasodilation, muscle function, nerve transmission, intracellular signaling and hormonal secretion, though less than 1% of total body calcium is needed to support these critical metabolic functions.

Care for muscle cramps

At the first sign of a muscle spasm, stop your activity and try stretching and massaging the affected muscle. Heat will relax the muscle when the spasm begins, but ice may be helpful after the first spasm and when the pain has improved.

If the muscle is still sore, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help with pain.

The most common cause of muscle cramps during sports activity is dehydration. Often, drinking water will ease the cramping. However, water alone doesn't always help. Salt tablets or sports drinks, which also replenish lost minerals, can be helpful.

Other tips for relieving muscle cramps:

  • Drink plenty of fluids while exercising and increase your potassium intake (orange juice and bananas are great sources of potassium).
  • Stretch to improve flexibility.

Foods for muscle cramps

List of common American foods rich in all 3 minerals potassium, magnesium and calcium content.
Potassium, calcium and magnesium values are in milligrams per 100 grams of food weight.



Foods Rich in Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium Potassium Calcium Magnesium

Chives, dried or dehydrated 3149 979 447

Total 344 3680 131

Coffee and chicory, dry instant powder 3535 141 327

Coffee, dry, acid neutralized 3535 141 327

Coffee, dry instant powder, regular 3535 141 327

Coffee, dry instant powder, decaffeinated 3501 140 311

Coffee, decaffeinated, and chicory, dry instant powder 3501 140 311

Cocoa, whey, and low-calorie sweetener mixture, not reconstituted 2702 576 208

Cocoa powder with nonfat dry milk and low calorie sweetener, dry mix, 2702 576 208

not reconstituted

Milk, malted, dry mix, fortified, not reconstituted, chocolate 1193 1881 96

Chocolate, instant, dry mix, fortified with vitamins and minerals, not 1193 1881 96

reconstituted

Soybean meal 2515 206 429

Milk, dry, nonfat, not reconstituted 1705 1231 117

Whey, sweet, dry 2080 796 176

Milk, dry, lowfat, not reconstituted 1688 1219 116

Buttermilk, dry, not reconstituted 1592 1184 110

Carrot chips, dried 2540 212 118

Instant breakfast, powder, sweetened with low calorie sweetener, not 1705 500 410

reconstituted

Raisin Bran, Total 644 1818 73

Milk, dry, whole, not reconstituted 1330 912 85

High calorie milk beverage, powder, not reconstituted 1221 882 212

Vegetable mixture, dried 1795 292 168

Protein supplement, milk-based, powdered, not reconstituted 1176 867 195

Cocoa powder, not reconstituted (no dry milk) 1524 128 499

Seaweed, dried 1244 372 482


Foods Rich in Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium Potassium Calcium Magnesium

Onion, dehydrated 1622 257 92

Molasses 1464 205 242

Algae, dried 1304 246 339

All-Bran with Extra Fiber 1050 415 340

Sesame seeds, whole seed 468 975 351

All-Bran 1020 389 362

Soy nuts 1470 138 145

Cod, dried, salted 1458 160 133

Fish, dried 1458 160 133

Octopus, dried 1327 201 114

Rice cereal with bananas, baby food, dry, instant 769 691 141

Oatmeal cereal with bananas, baby food, dry, instant 731 651 118

Flax seeds 813 255 392

Instant breakfast, powder, not reconstituted 947 285 228

Optimum, Nature's Path 751 455 249

Mixed cereal with bananas, baby food, dry, instant 668 696 90

Rice cereal, baby food, dry, instant 385 850 206

Papad (Indian appetizer), grilled or broiled 1000 143 271

Protein powder 400 880 110

Mousse, chocolate, lowfat, reduced calorie, prepared from dry mix, 919 348 115

water added

Oatmeal cereal, baby food, dry, instant 470 733 145

Almond butter 758 270 303

Fiber One 774 333 200

Barley cereal, baby food, dry, instant 395 795 115

Almonds, dry roasted (assume salted) 746 266 286

Almonds, dry roasted, without salt 746 266 286


Foods Rich in Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium Potassium Calcium Magnesium

Mixed cereal, baby food, dry, instant 437 733 100

Almonds, roasted 699 291 274

Whole wheat cereal with apples, baby food, dry, instant 516 600 140

Almonds, unroasted 728 248 275

Almonds 728 248 275

Sorghum syrup 1000 150 100

Cheerios 696 405 131

Malt-O-Meal Toasted Oat Cereal 696 405 131

Sesame Crunch (Sahadi) 322 655 251

Brazil nuts 659 160 376

Squid, dried 933 122 125

Fish moochim (Korean style), dried fish with soy sauce 893 137 99

Almonds, honey-roasted 622 257 242

Herring, dried, salted 828 156 85

Bread, multigrain, reduced calorie and/or high fiber, toasted 600 214 249

Natto (fermented soybean product) 729 217 115

Oat cereal 567 348 119

Nuts, carob-coated 664 228 129

Almonds, chocolate covered 592 208 211

Dietetic or low calorie candy, chocolate covered 606 303 100

Familia 494 173 317

Bread, multigrain, reduced calorie and/or high fiber 546 195 226

Sesame paste (sesame butter made from whole seeds) 414 426 95

Sesame butter (tahini) (made from kernels) 414 426 95

Cocoa (or chocolate) with dry milk and sugar, dry mix, not reconstituted 712 133 83

Raisin bran 603 178 134

Mixed nuts, in shell 550 126 229

High protein bar, candy-like, soy and milk base 325 282 282

Sesame seeds 406 131 346

Malt-O-Meal Toasty O's 317 406 119

Nuts, chocolate covered, not almonds or peanuts 507 155 180


Foods Rich in Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium Potassium Calcium Magnesium

Muffin, multigrain, with nuts 486 214 121

Almonds, yogurt-covered 469 210 134

Alpen 568 147 94

Quaker Oat Bran Cereal 438 191 168

Berry Burst Cheerios 337 333 124

Toasted oat cereal 307 357 123

Oatmeal Honey Nut Heaven, Quaker (formerly Toasted Oatmeal, Honey 369 272 123

Nut)

Milk chocolate candy, with almonds 444 224 90

Cocoa (or chocolate) flavored beverage powder with sugar, dry mix, not 467 203 80

reconstituted

Bitter melon leaves, horseradish leaves, jute leaves, or radish leaves, 512 143 91

cooked, fat not added in cooking

Malt-O-Meal Honey and Nut Toasty O's 305 333 107

Honey Nut Cheerios 305 333 107

Oatmeal cereal with fruit, baby food, dry, instant, toddler 346 286 107

Life (plain and cinnamon) 285 350 96

Muffin, multigrain, with fruit 417 212 97

Roll, whole wheat, 100%, toasted 493 121 107

Peanuts, yogurt covered 477 154 86

Basic 4 281 357 73

Multi Grain Cheerios 293 316 93

Spinach, cooked, from fresh, fat not added in cooking 464 135 87

Spinach, cooked, fat not added in cooking 464 135 87

Quaker Oatmeal Squares (formerly Quaker Oat Squares) 366 201 117

Chocolate, milk, with nuts, not almond or peanuts 411 173 94

Multi Bran Chex 387 182 109

Bran Chex 387 182 109

Spinach, cooked, from fresh, fat added in cooking 452 132 84

Spinach, cooked 452 132 84

Spinach, cooked, from fresh 452 132 84

Spinach, cooked, fat added in cooking 452 132 84


Foods Rich in Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium Potassium Calcium Magnesium

Wheat Chex 375 200 80

Biscuit, whole wheat 310 242 88

M&M's Almond Chocolate Candies 379 141 115

Almond paste (Marzipan paste) 314 172 130

MARS Bar 325 168 72

Spinach, cooked, from canned, fat not added in cooking 346 127 76

Scone, whole wheat 271 201 77

Spinach, cooked, from canned, fat added in cooking 339 124 74

Spinach, cooked, from canned 339 124 74

Spinach, cooked, from frozen, fat not added in cooking 301 152 82

Salty snacks, corn or cornmeal base, tortilla chips, lowfat, baked 272 159 97

without fat, unsalted

Salty snacks, corn or cornmeal base, tortilla chips, lowfat, baked 272 159 97

without fat

Salty snacks, corn or cornmeal base, tortilla chips, light (baked with less 272 159 97

Spinach, cooked, from frozen, fat added in cooking 294 149 80

Spinach, cooked, from frozen 294 149 80

Muffin, English, oat bran, toasted 277 127 71


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