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What Foods Trigger Leg Cramps?

The muscles of the lower leg and foot are prone to develop cramps. Leg cramps are characterized by the presence of hard lumps in the muscle or tissue under the skin resulting in the pain in this area. They are caused by overuse of muscles during intense physical activities, heavy weight bearing exercises, injury, alcoholism, pregnancy, dehydration, and deficiency of magnesium, sodium or calcium in your diet and many more. These cramps are usually a harmless condition that can settle on their own or can be treated with simple home remedies. They can be an indication of a serious condition in rare cases such as kidney disease.

What Foods Trigger Leg Cramps?

What Foods Trigger Leg Cramps?

Leg cramps are a common type of muscle cramps happening in the age of 20-40 years. It is represented by hard lumps and cramping pain in the legs. These cramps are located in the legs and foot. These cramps are mostly felt in the midnight. However, they can develop in the daytime when excess physical activities are performed such as cycling or running. It may end in few seconds to few minutes. These leg cramps are involuntary contractions of the muscle due to the appearance of hard lumps in the muscle.

Sugary Foods- the food that is high in sugar or highly processed may trigger leg cramps. Researchers consider them the worst food if you have muscle cramps. It affects the integrity of the digestive tract. It is also supposed to induce inflammation in the gut in a chronic manner. It influences the immune system. (1)

Alcohol– alcohol consumed in large quantities can lead to excessive damage to the digestive tract. It causes excessive growth of the yeast in the intestines. It also increases the number of toxins in the body which cannot be excreted completely. It may trigger cramps in the legs. (2)

Grains- grains are considered the worst food for muscular cramps. Any grain whole or refined is considered harmful for those who have regular episodes of muscle cramps.

The main reason behind this is that grains are not easy to digest that may result in inflammation of the GI tract. The inflammation of the GI tract causes slow or no absorption of vitamins, minerals such as magnesium, calcium in the gut. It results in a deficiency of these essential nutrients that are directly linked to leg cramps. (3)

Pasteurized Milk Products- the milk products that are pasteurized are one of the worst foods for leg cramps. Some researchers say that gluten sensitivity is related to packed milk products. The main reason for this is that the cows or buffaloes are given gluten-containing grains and chemicals. Their milk automatically contains hormones that may induce and even worsen leg cramps. After the process of preservation, the milk becomes high in casein protein that induces muscle cramps.

Refined Vegetable Oil- refined oil such as soy, canola or corn oils are considered healthy oils but they are known to induce muscle cramps including leg cramps. These oils may lead to inflammation and pain in the muscles. They become worse food for leg cramps when they are cooked with other common processed foods.

What Causes Leg Cramps?

Leg cramps are caused by the following –

  • Dehydration
  • Vigorous exercise
  • Running and cycling
  • Improper nutrition
  • Trauma to muscle
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Weight-bearing exercises
  • Birth control medicines
  • Steroids
  • Diuretics
  • Deficiency of calcium or potassium
  • Cold weather
  • Low blood supply
  • Pregnancy
  • Spinal nerve compression
  • Alcoholism
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Kidney failure
  • Low thyroid gland function
  • Sedentary lifestyle


Leg cramps is a condition characterized by cramping pain and appearance of hard lumps in the muscles of the legs. Foods containing sugar, alcohol, refined oil, pasteurized milk products, and grains are the food that can trigger cramps in the leg. These food items cause inflammation of the GI tract leading to leg cramps.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 23, 2019

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