Cold Hands and Feet? Tips to Keep Them Warm in Winter
Have you noticed your extremities getting unusually cold in the winter months? This happens because there is an increased constriction of the blood vessels supplying your hands and feet, or possibly an occlusion. Common causes include exposure to intense cold, stress, medications, or heart dysfunctions. The most common cause is Reynaud’s syndrome—more common in females than males, this is a congenital constriction of the vasculature supplying the fingers and toes. Thyroid issues are something you should consider, as the thyroid gland in the neck is responsible for regulating body temperature. The ancient Chinese would attribute cold extremities to a shortage of ‘yang’, or fire energy. Short of seeing a GP, which might not be such a bad idea if you might have a legitimate condition, there are several winter tips to warm cold hands and feet at home.
- Decaf with your tea and coffee. Stay clear of unnecessary additives and preservatives as well.
- What should you be consuming? Look for foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. We’re talking oily fish such as, mackerel and salmon. Consume foods rich in iron such as, spinach, broccoli and walnuts. Go for red meats such as, beef and mutton.
- Adorn your food with a hearty dose of spice and pepper. Cinnamon, turmeric and ginger are known to improve your circulation, so make sure those are a key component of your meal plan.
- Consider Chinese herbs such as, Dragon Male. It was said the augment the ‘yang’ energy of one’s body. Primrose Oil and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) have both been proven to help fight Reynaud’s.
- Keep your upper extremities warm with regular movements. Some doctors recommend holding your hand in a loose fist and patting your abdomen and thighs (if you’re sitting) just to keep the juices flowing and your fingers in action. Funnily enough, playing video games with a handheld controller can go a long way to keep your hands warm, too. Perhaps one of the best things you can do is swing your arms in a circle. This is aptly called the ‘heat pump’ by some experts, because the centrifugal force sends blood straight to your fingertips. Just imagine you’re swinging your arms in a mock cricket bowling action. Alternate with both arms.
- Take controlled, deep breaths. Oftentimes, the blood vessels in your fingers and toes constrict out of anxiety. Contemporary research in Tibet, centered around Tibetan monks, proves that taking deep breaths in fresh air coupled with meditation, warms up your core temperature as it allows your body to relax and gets the circulation flowing.
- This seems quite obvious, but wear gloves, even when indoors. If you need your fingers to be mobile, opt for fingerless gloves. They essentially keep your hands warm, but allow for extra movement. The material matters. Polyester, or synthetic gloves and socks won’t really keep you warm. Even cotton is designed to let the air flow through. Woolen material is what you’re looking for.
Having said all of that, if you noticed your fingers and toes getting excessively white, or even blue, do consider setting up an appointment with your local physician.