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One problem with evaluating cramp busters is that many contain more than one active ingredient. These three ingredients have research linking them to cramp-busting potential: sugar, vinegar, and capsaicin (which gives chile peppers their heat).
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Keep a record of when cramps happen, then create a list of suspects, including heat and humidity, exercise type and intensity, liquid and food intake, mental state, and sleep hygiene, says cramp researcher Kevin C. Miller, Ph.D.
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Sleeping well, exercising regularly, and avoiding extreme temperatures and stress all help prevent cramps. But if you get one, the science is unequivocal: “The fastest, safest way to relieve a cramp is to stretch it until it goes away,” says Miller.
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