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Having Cold Hands And Feet Can Mean More Serious Health Problems Than Just Bad Circulation

Having Cold Hands And Feet Can Mean More Serious Health Problems Than Just Bad Circulation

It is that time of year when people typically begin to feel the cold, particularly in extremities such as their hands and feet.

While some will cite adverse weather or fluctuations in the bodies temperature as the triggers for this, however, there are other potential causes that are far more serious in their nature, like the ones explained below.

1. Poor Circulation

When people ask ‘why are my hands and feet always cold’, one of the most common answers in poor circulation. This can occur as a result of a sedentary lifestyle and excess smoking, which causes blood vessels to constrict and this reduces the flow of blood to the extremities.

2. Raynaud’s Disease

Despite its relatively obscure nature, Raynaud’s Disease affects 10 million people in the UK alone, with 90% of these being female.

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This condition causes blood vessels in the hands and feet to react negatively to cold temperatures or stress, as blood vessels taper and limit the blood supply throughout the body. Another symptom of this may be pale or dusky coloured digits on your hands and feet.

3. Anemia

Anemia is another condition that causes extreme, pale skin fatigue, along with cold hands and feet. This often occurs as a result of iron deficiency, which is usually diet-related and restricts the flow of oxygen to your blood cells, organs and tissue.

Subsequently, blood flow subsides and your extremities become colder, and anemia can often lead to Raynaud’s Disease if it is not diagnosed.

4. Diabetes

Diabetes can also be a core trigger for cold hands and feet, as a combination of poor circulation and high blood pressure make it difficult for blood to reach your extremities.

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This can be managed when diagnosed, but if not, your symptoms will get progressively worse over time.

Why Are My Hands and Feet Always Cold, and What Can I Do About It?

Remember, it is perfectly normal for your extremities to be cold during the winter, but constant or persistent discomfort may highlight a wider health issue. The triggers for cold extremities are extremely diverse in their nature, however, while they are also complex and potentially debilitating.

This means that it is always advisable to seek out medical consultation if the issue persists for months and beyond the season of winter, in order to determine the precise cause and a viable course of action.

In the meantime, here are some steps that you can take to manage your symptoms and keep your extremities as warm as possible:

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1. Increase your Consumption of Omega 3

During studies of those who suffer with Raynaud’s Disease, it was discovered that fish oil supplements helped to improve blood flow to the extremities. By increasing your intake of Omega-3 and eating at least two fish dishes each week (one of which should be oily), you can keep your hands and feet warmer over a sustained period of time.

If you are a vegetarian you should look to eat Omega-3 enriched eggs, while vegans can consume foods rich in alpha linolenic acid such as soy, tofu and walnuts.

2. Wear Protective Gloves and Socks

While this may sound obvious, wearing protective gloves and socks can help to keep your hands and feet warm whatever the weather.

Remember, hands and feet are subject to conductive cooling at all times, while the latter often sweat and this can eradicate heat at a rate of 25%. So, protective and moisture resistant gloves and socks help to retain heat and keep your hands and feet warm.

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3. Stop Smoking and Live a More Active Lifestyle

We have already discussed how smoking restricts blood vessels and prevents the flow of blood to the extremities, so looking to cut back on your nicotine intake (or eliminate it entirely) can help your body to regulate the temperature of your hands and feet.

Living a more active lifestyle also helps, however, as this offsets the risks posed by ‘sitting disease’ (where excess levels of inactivity can trigger heart disease, diabetes and extremely cold extremities. Women are particularly vulnerable to this, but a regular and sustainable exercise regime can help to avoid such conditions.

4. A Healthy Supply of Iron in Your Diet

By ensuring that you have a healthy supply of iron in your diet, you can minimise the risk of cold extremities by restricting your chances of contracting anemia and Raynaud’s Disease.

Both men and women need to consume 10 mg or iron on a daily basis to remain healthy, although females who are pregnant may need to take up to 30 mg. Iron can be found in green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and Swiss Chard, along with soybeans, lentils and sesame seeds.

Hopefully, these steps will help you to cope with the issues posed by cold extremities. If the problem persists, however, be sure to seek out expert medical opinion so you need never again ask yourself ‘why are my hands and feet always cold?’

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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