Oftentimes when people start looking into going keto, they can be dissuaded by the “keto flu”—a particularly ominous sounding side effect of the diet.
The keto flu is a constellation of symptoms, including fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps, which are a direct result of reducing carbohydrates and transitioning your body’s primary fuel source from glucose to ketones.
One of the most painful manifestations of the keto flu is muscle cramps, which can hit out of nowhere and even wake you up from a deep sleep. Some people push through only for the keto flu to make the first three to five days of the transition SO challenging that they throw their hands in the air and quit.
Even though leg cramps are a perfectly normal reaction for a body transitioning into ketosis, there are a number of steps you can take to prevent their onset or, at a minimum, mitigate their severity.
Water alone will not relieve keto leg cramps because it only further exacerbates the electrolyte imbalance caused by the ketogenic diet.
To get relief from keto leg cramps, get your electrolytes on point! Specifically, this means ensuring you get adequate levels of sodium, potassium, and magnesium. To that end, here are some simple ways to increase your intake of electrolytes on the ketogenic diet and fight off leg cramps:
Salt Your Food – Any kind of salt will do…I don’t recommend one kind of salt (Himalayan pink, Hawaiian black, etc.) over the other. However, if you have a personal preference for one type of salt, that’s no problem! Just make sure you’re getting adequate salt into your diet to replace that which you’re no longer consuming through processed foods.
Consume Bone Broth – Bone broth is made by simmering the bones and connective tissues of an animal for ten to twenty hours, which is what separates it from the standard broth or stock found in most grocery stores which is only simmered for a few hours tops. Cooking this concoction for such a long time allows the liquid to absorb all of the collagen, glutamine, and other minerals that give bone broth its nutrient density.
Mix Up Electrolyte Homebrews – Never retreat to the sugary sports drinks of your youth to combat keto leg cramps. All of the mainstream “electrolyte-replacement” products on the market offer wholly insufficient levels of the electrolytes and are very high in sugar.
Stay Salty with LMNT Recharge – A new product that is precisely formulated to replenish the electrolytes your body will purge in the adoption phase of the ketogenic diet. It’s quite a tasty powdered mix full of everything you need–sodium, potassium, and magnesium–and nothing you don’t.