It’s wintertime, which means unless you live in the South, it’s cold! With cold temperatures comes cold hands and feet. Your hands and feet feel colder during the winter months because low temperatures cause veins and arteries to constrict, which limits blood flow to these extremities. Blood flow is necessary to feel warm, so reduced circulation can trigger cold fingers and toes.
There are simple tips you can utilize during the winter months to warm up your fingers and toes, such as wearing mittens instead of gloves, wearing thicker socks, eating spicy foods, and giving yourself a massage to get the blood flowing thoroughly.
Other tips for warmer fingers and toes include not smoking, as this further restricts blood flow. You also want to cut back on the coffee and up your intake of water, which can promote circulation.
Here are some more in-depth tips to keep your fingers, toes, and entire body warm this winter.
Wear loose-fitting clothes: Loose clothes act as a space heater, which is why mittens are preferred over gloves. Body heat fills up the extra space in mittens, which aids in insulation. You may also want to layer tighter fitting clothes like an undershirt or sock with a thicker, baggier one on top.
Eat spicy foods: Spicy foods help boost circulation by opening up the blood vessels. Spicy foods increase your body temperature along with increasing heart rate, which gets more blood flowing.
Don’t smoke, drink coffee, or consume alcohol: As mentioned, smoking and coffee constrict your blood vessels, which makes circulation more difficult. Alcohol leads to dehydration, which can also trigger coldness, not heat.
Eat fish and leafy greens: Leafy greens and fish are high in iron. Iron is necessary for circulation and nutrients in fish allow the blood vessels to open up.
Stay hydrated: Even if you don’t feel thirsty, continue to drink water. Being hydrated helps regulate internal body temperature. Furthermore, in the winter, it’s far more difficult to determine dehydration compared to the summer, so it’s a good idea to keep your water bottle full.
Exercise: Regular exercise makes for a strong heart, and a strong heart means your body can get adequate circulation to keep you warm.
If you’ve tried these tips and find that you still can’t warm up, then you may want to see your doctor, especially if your hands don’t change color after coming in from outside. This could signal a blocked artery or other complication that is preventing blood from flowing freely. Uncovering the underlying cause of your cold hands and feet is the first step in ensuring they start to feel warm again.