If you find that your hands and feet are constantly cold, a quick internet search probably suggested that poor circulation is to blame. That’s not completely inaccurate! The skin is kept at a comfortable temperature by the blood vessels. The blood vessels distribute blood throughout the body, which is essential to maintain pH levels in the body and stabilize body temperature. The problem starts when blood flow becomes restricted to certain parts of the body. It can affect any part of the body, but it’s most commonly seen in the toes or fingers.
What Affects Blood Circulation?
Blood circulation can be affected by several factors, including:
- Aging – The arteries lose some of their elasticity with age, and they also become more narrow, causing the heart to work harder to push blood through. This causes a decrease in blood flow and an increase in blood pressure.
- Excess Weight – Excess weight that causes swelling in the lower legs and feet can inhibit blood circulation.
- Smoking – Plaque build up on the inside of the blood vessels can lead to high blood pressure, poor blood circulation and heart problems.
A more severe cold sensitivity may be a sign of Raynaud’s disease, in which extremities such as the fingers and toes feel numb in response to cold temperatures or stress. Cold hands can also be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as hypothyroidism, lupus, diabetes, low iron levels or a Vitamin B12 deficiency. Check in with a doctor to make sure there isn’t something more serious going on.
How to Improve Blood Circulation
If the cold feeling you’re experiencing is due to poor circulation, try some of these simple solutions to get your blood flowing:
Exercising several times a week will get your blood pumping on a regular basis. Find something you enjoy doing that allows you to be active!
If you have a problem with blood circulation, try stretching several times a day. Especially if you sit for long periods of time. Stand up, stretch and walk around as often as you can.
Massage increases circulation by stimulating blood flow. Massaging muscles that might be tense or inflamed will allow the body to achieve better circulation.
4. Elevate Your Legs
Prop your legs up to increase circulation when you’re sitting down. This will keep blood flowing and allow you to relax at the same time!
Foods to Improve Circulation
- Oranges – Oranges and other citrus fruits that are high in Vitamin C work as natural blood thinners in the body. The Vitamin C helps to strengthen capillary walls and prevent the buildup of plaque, which causes poor circulation.
- Cayenne Pepper – Cayenne pepper has been shown to increase the metabolism and strengthen arteries and blood vessels.
- Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin E, which has been shown to help prevent blood clots. Nuts and pumpkin seeds can also be used to improve circulation.
- Garlic – Garlic is a powerful food with many health benefits, including cleansing the blood and preventing plaque buildup.
- Ginkgo Biloba – Gingko Biloba dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow. It’s also believed to increase blood flow to the brain.
- Goji Berries – Goji berries are high in fiber, and they help boost the immune system while increasing blood circulation.
- Watermelon – Watermelons are rich in a natural antioxidant known as lycopene, which is linked to improving circulation.
- Avocados – Avocados contain heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acid, which supports the cardiovascular system and increases blood circulation.