The temperature has dropped, and there’s a chill in the air. You’re bundling up and dressing in layers to go outside, but still can’t seem to keep your fingers and toes warm.
But what if the cause of your cold hands and feet isn’t just about the weather? Cold extremities can be the result of poor blood circulation, which fortunately, is a condition that you can do something about. Here are some natural ways to boost your circulation and warm up those fingers and toes all season long.
Causes of Cold Hands & Feet
It’s natural for the body to draw blood away from its extremities when it becomes cold to conserve warmth for your internal organs. Cold hands and feet are almost always a sign of a blood circulation problem, but this can be caused by a variety of conditions and range greatly in severity.
If you only experience cold extremities on occasion or in understandable circumstances, don’t be alarmed because this is totally normal. What’s not normal is when cold hands and feet happen constantly, without explanation, or if the skin begins to change color.
Conditions Associated with Cold Hands & Feet
Reynaud’s Disease is an inherited auto-immune condition that can sometimes lead to excessively cold hands and feet. The disease occurs in the blood vessels here, causing arteries to thicken and blood flow to become limited. It’s most common in women, and unfortunately there’s no definitive cure.
Some other conditions that can cause this symptom include anemia, diabetes, lupus, thyroid disease, and nervous system disorders. Iron deficiency anemia doesn’t just cause cold extremities, but also pale skin and weakness. Diabetes sufferers often have issues with circulation, blood pressure, and the thyroid, which can lead to cold hands and feet. And since blood vessels are under attack with lupus, icy hands and feet are a common symptom.
Treating Cold Hands & Feet
Exercise is a sure-fire way to bring up your body temperature, and a great way to stay physically and mentally fit and active during the winter season. When you work out, you help small blood vessels in the body develop and keep blood moving throughout your body.
Simple breathing exercises may also help improve your circulation and warm up your extremities. Breathing in too much air can actually hinder blood flow because carbon dioxide is a powerful vasodilator. To try this remedy, try inhaling with slightly smaller breaths and then completely relax without putting any effort forth in your exhale. It may also help to lie on your left side or stomach while sleeping to boost blood flow.
Make sure that you wear gloves and thick socks when you go out in the cold to protect your hands and feet, and dress in thin layers while indoors. Massage, reflexology, and acupuncture may also help people who consistently struggle with cold extremities.
Foods to Boost Circulation
One of the best ways to increase warmth in your body is to add warmth to your food. Cook with spices like garlic, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne pepper to awaken your taste buds and stimulate your digestion. Herbal remedies like hawthorn and gingko biloba are also used to improve circulation in the body. Avoid smoking and caffeine because both substances restrict blood flow to the blood vessels in the fingers and toes.
Instead, eat more of these circulation-boosting foods to keep your fingers and toes active, agile, and comfortable: