Freshly-squeezed juice is a refreshing, healthy drink that’s beneficial for your overall wellbeing. But did you know that juicing may also help to relieve muscle cramps?
If you’re strategic about the types of fruits and vegetables you include in your juices, you can use fresh juices to help soothe\cramps and spasms in your muscles.
Why do we get muscle cramps?
often occur when you have lower than average levels of calcium, magnesium and other minerals known collectively as electrolytes.
Electrolytes are nutrients that play an important role in maintaining the fluid balance and hydration in cells, tissues and muscles.
In addition to calcium and magnesium, electrolytes consist of sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, hydrogen phosphate and hydrogen carbonate.
When your electrolyte levels are low, you may be more likely to experience muscle cramps, delayed muscle soreness
and spasms - often after periods of exercise and, for some women, during menstruation.
Juicing and muscle cramps
Regular juicing with fruits and vegetables that are particularly high in electrolytes can help to increase your electrolyte levels which may in turn reduce your chances of experiencing recurring muscle cramps.
Which fruits and vegetables contain electrolytes?
The following fruits and vegetables are high in electrolytes and can be used to make up any number of juice combinations:
- Green leafy vegetables (spinach, chard and kale)
You can also try enhancing your juices with coconut water, nuts and seeds (particularly almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds) - as these also contain electrolytes.
How often should you drink juice?
There are no rules or guidelines about juicing for muscle cramps, so you may need to experiment to see what works for you. Start with one juice a day and try this for a few days to see if this improves your cramps. You can also talk to a qualified dietitian about your overall diet to see where juice fits in and which nutrients in particular you may be lacking in.
Juicing and exercise
During physical exercise, your potassium and sodium levels can be depleted. After you exercise, you could consider making up a juice with fruits and vegetables high in these ingredients.
Red, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are high in potassium and sodium.
You can also consider drinking a juice containing electrolytes before you exercise, as this may help to maintain your electrolyte levels during your workout.
Post workout juice boost
- 1 cup coconut water
- Handful of baby spinach
- 1/2 apple, chopped
- 1 banana chopped
- A few strawberries
- Handful of almonds
Place all ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a large glass to serve. Serve chilled.
Other tips to reduce muscle cramps
3 ways to prevent muscle cramps
- Drink plenty of water - while water doesn’t contain electrolytes, it’s an important source of hydration
- Stretch - stretch before, during and after exercise to help your muscles relax
- Regular massage - a massage with a qualified practitioner can help to lengthen cramping muscles and encourage cramps to dissipate
- See your health professional - if your muscle cramps aren’t improving, make an appointment with your healthcare professional to discuss your treatment options