Can Certain Foods Help With Restless Legs?

Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a health condition that affects between 7%-10% of the population. It causes impaired memory, daytime sleepiness, and even depression and anxiety.

Certain lifestyle changes such as cutting down on caffeine and getting regular exercise may help you feel better. What you eat can also play a role in how you feel. Research shows that adding certain foods into your diet may help relieve the symptoms of RLS.

How can B12, magnesium, folate, and iron help?

People with RLS may not be getting adequate nutrients such as iron. One study found that several people with RLS had a lack of brain iron. Another study found that iron therapy most likely improves the severity of RLS symptoms. Also, it is known that low levels of magnesium may affect other health conditions including RLS. People may not have sufficient magnesium because of lifestyle choices or poor nutrition. Older adults also are at additional risk because they do not absorb this nutrient well.  

Supplementing your diet with folate and vitamin B12 may decrease or ease your symptoms of RLS if you have an underlying vitamin deficiency. On the other hand, as is the case with all vitamin and mineral supplements, only take them if your doctor recommends that you do. You can still get vitamin B12, folate, magnesium, and iron from your meals even though you do not take supplements. These minerals can be found in a wide variety of foods that are easy to find at your supermarket.

Foods that have iron

Iron is found in many different types of foods. These include:

  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Fruits, especially prunes and raisins
  • Green vegetables like broccoli, kale, and collard greens
  • Whole grain, enriched and fortified bread
  • Seafood, poultry, or meat
  • Rice, pasta, and cereals

The iron in food is either non-heme or heme. Seafood, poultry, or meat contains heme iron, which is better absorbed by your body than non-heme iron. Non-heme iron is found in plant foods like beans and spinach. This form is not absorbed as easily as the iron in meat. However, you may increase your absorption of iron from plant foods by eating them either with a food that is rich in vitamin C or with meat. Vitamin C is found in strawberries, citrus fruits, kiwi, and bell peppers.

Foods that contain magnesium

Increasing the amount of magnesium in your diet is easier than you might think. Foods that have magnesium include:

  • Cereals
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Potatoes
  • Fruit, especially bananas and raisins
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy products
  • Nuts and pumpkin seeds

Foods that have fiber typically have some magnesium, but several types of foods are likely to lower magnesium levels in your body. These culprits include sugar, high-carb foods, caffeine, carbonated beverages, and alcohol.

Foods rich in B12

Boosting your B12 intake also helps with the symptoms of RLS. This vitamin is found in a wide range of foods, including:

  • Eggs
  • Fortified cereals
  • Meat and poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Seafood like trout, clams, salmon, tuna, and haddock,

Adding folate to your diet

B vitamins that are important for your body, folate is a key nutrient. You can find it in foods like:

  • Avocados
  • Oranges
  • Spinach
  • Beans and peas
  • Asparagus
  • Enriched grain products like cereal, bread, rice, and pasta

Leave a Reply