Cold hands and cold feet could be a sign of circulation problems, especially when they occur along with tingling and numbness. Plenty of people suffer from such circulation problems, whether they’re relatively minor, more severe or potentially life-threatening. That’s because cold temperatures make blood vessels in the hands and feet constrict, diverting blood toward some of the more vital organs. Your poor extremities feel the brunt of it.
A condition called peripheral vascular disease – or PVD – can also narrow the arteries that supply blood to the legs. In its mildest form, the disease can cause poor circulation and cold feet.
What’s surprising, though, is that few people know how to improve their circulation or prevent damage to their circulatory system. Fortunately, improving your circulation is a relatively easy thing to do. It requires us to reverse the very things that we’re doing wrong – things leading to poor circulation in the first place.
Here are 4 solutions for your perpetually cold hands and feet.
Simply put, physical activity keeps your heart healthy. Even a little bit of exercise every single day – at least three or four times per week – can greatly improve your circulation, not to mention keep you in great shape.
A higher volume of blood moves more rapidly through your arteries and veins whenever your heart muscle contracts at a faster rate. This causes a boost in your overall circulation.
At first, try cardio activities, such as walking, before attempting a light jog. Swimming is highly effective, too, especially for anyone with knee and joint problems.
2. Stop smoking
It’s true that it may take a while and plenty of commitment, but once you stop puffing, your body will begin to repair itself, undoing all of the bad stuff cigarettes did to your circulation.
Smoking happens to be a key risk factor for peripheral artery disease (PAD) – or poor circulation in the legs.
It’s not a pretty picture. Whenever you smoke, toxins from the smoke enter your bloodstream and: make your blood thicker and increase the likelihood of clot formation, raise your blood pressure and heart rate, cause your heart to work harder than usual, and narrow your arteries, reducing the amount of oxygen-rich blood circulating to your organs. And all of these can lead to an eventual heart attack or stroke.
When it comes to cold fingertips and toes, massaging your hands and feet will get your blood flowing directly to your extremities, warming them up. Although it’s not a cure, or even a permanent solution, this technique can go a long way in improving your blood circulation.
Generally, a healthy circulation brings oxygen-rich blood to tense and damaged muscles. A massage facilitates that circulation because the pressure created by a particular massage technique actually transfers blood throughout congested areas. The release of this same pressure then causes new blood to flow in.
What’s more, a massage helps to relax the muscles in your back and loosen some of those that are bothered by the sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower end of your spinal cord all the way down the back of your thigh, dividing above the knee joint. So if you suffer from chronic sciatic discomfort, for example, massage can help.
4. Change your diet
By replacing what you eat, you can improve your circulation immensely. Instead of eating processed food – basically, those high in salt, fat and sugar – try adopting a diet of complex carbohydrates. That means things like whole-wheat breads, oat bran, brown rice, baked beans and edible-podded peas.
And remember PVD? Well, recent studies have concluded that the vascular disease is associated with low levels of vitamin C in the body. So consider getting more vitamin C from fruits and vegetables, such as bell peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, kiwi and guavas.
Yet another nutrient that may help is vitamin E, which can thin the blood so it can pass more efficiently through narrowed vessels. Consume more vitamin E from foods that contain some fat, such as seeds, nuts, avocado and wheat germ.
When it comes to improving your circulation, there are steps you can take, so don’t suffer with the cold that can lead to more aches, pains and joint stiffness. Good circulation is a sign of good health.
With these tips, you’ll have a far clearer mind and lots of energy. Of course, your hands and feet will feel much warmer, too.
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