While it's normal to feel a bit chilly when it's brisk out and you forgot your jacket, feeling cold for seemingly no reason at all might be a sign that there's something going on with your body. If you find yourself reaching for the heated blanket when you should be warm enough, here are four reasons as to why that might be and what you can do about it.
Please note: The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition.
The Problem: Iron-Deficiency Anemia
Turns out having cold feet isn’t just another way to say you’re unconfident—cold hands and feet could be a result of iron deficiency anemia. According to an article published in Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine, iron deficiency is the most prevalent cause of anemia worldwide.
“Iron-deficiency anemia can lead to a wide variety of side effects ranging from easy bruising to overwhelming fatigue and even being chronically cold,” says Lisa Richards, nutritionist and author of The Candida Diet. “This is because people with anemia do not have enough red blood cells circulating throughout their bodies to provide adequate oxygen to the tissues.”
How to Fix It: Consider Taking a Dietary Supplement
If you have iron-deficiency anemia, your doctor may recommend taking over-the-counter iron tablets to help replenish your supply. When it comes to taking iron supplements, however, Richards says there are a few things you should be aware of.
“When taking an iron supplement you should not take it with any source of calcium, either food or supplement,” Richards cautions. “Calcium and iron compete for absorption sites in the intestines and calcium will typically win.”
Iron supplements may also cause constipation, so your doctor may recommend taking a stool softener as well.
The Best Subscription for the Job: Ritual
If you’re looking for a supplement that doesn’t taste or look like a supplement, I recommend giving Ritual Vitamins a try. They’re vegan, third-party tested, and are made with non-GMO, traceable ingredients. What’s more: Ritual Vitamins smell minty fresh and are easy to swallow. (They also gave me a slight boost in energy after taking two vitamins a day for 30 days!) The Essential for Women Multivitamin bottle costs $30 per month and contains 60 capsules.
The Problem: A Lack of Cardiovascular Fitness
If you’re not into working out (I mean, same), it could be affecting your body’s core temperature. In fact, according to the Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, runners tend to have more heat around their legs than their arms. This may be because, when running, your legs are doing most (if not all) of the work!
“Another reason for abnormal chilliness is a lack of cardiovascular fitness,” says Amy Neuzil, MD and host of the To Health With That! podcast. “In simpler terms, it's being out of shape.”
How to Fix It: Exercise
This may seem obvious, but one surefire way to get in shape and improve your body’s temperature is to exercise.
“Exercise helps to boost your circulation and works quickly, even when you're starting at the very beginning,” says Neuzil. “Plus, it's something that can be improved with nothing but five to 10 minutes per day and the right guidance.”
The Best Subscription for the Job: Fabletics
One of my biggest weaknesses is forcing myself to go to the gym. Once I’m in the rhythm of things, I’m good, but the initial push is so hard. One thing that’s helped? Fabletics VIP Membership.
Fabletics VIP Membership is $49.95 per month. While this price may seem steep at first (especially, if you’re like me and just don’t work out), Fabletics VIP members get up to 50% off of everything (including new arrivals), free shipping on all orders over $49.95, and FREE access to the Fabletics FIT app which is packed full of trainer-led workouts that you can view and follow anytime on your phone.
In my opinion, it’s totally worth it. You can also cancel at any time. (Can you tell I just signed up this month? I’m still pumped!)
The Problem: Yang Deficiency
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory, feeling cold and clammy could be the result of Yang deficiency. In TCM, Yang and Qi are the “driving forces of biological activities in the human body” and when one is off balance it can affect everything, from your sex drive to your mood.
“With Yang deficiency, you cannot heat the liver and kidney—two organs that help heat the rest of your body,” says Juli Kramer, Ph.D., and certified qigong instructor. “Yang qi is considered to be the force of all life activities.”
How to Fix It: Drink Hot Tea
While there are a number of home remedies that may contribute to balancing your Yang energy, Kramer recommends eating “warming foods” such as cinnamon, black rice, cashews, cherries, chives, chestnuts, chicken, fennel, ginger, glutinous rice, and avoiding “cooling” foods, such as cucumber, duck, and crab.
“When food is raw, it's like throwing your stomach into a freezing cold lake,” says Kramer. “It takes so much energy to heat the food, the stomach cannot draw enough nutrients from the food to nourish the body,” Kramer continues. “Drinking plenty of warm water hydrates the body so you can create enough blood and other body fluids. You will also reduce menstrual cramping as a bonus!”
The Best Subscription for the Job: Sips By
Sips By is a female-founded, monthly tea subscription that offers subscribers four personalized teas based on their flavor preferences. Each box includes 16 cups worth of tea, steeping guides, biodegradable tea filters (for subscribers who receive loose leaf tea), and additional offers from a number of tea brands.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 50% off your first box!
The Problem: A Clouded Mind
Eating “cooling” foods isn’t the only thing that’ll ruffle your Yang and Qi. Kramer notes that feelings of depression, sorrow, and grief also have the potential to throw a person’s Yang energy off course. Which, when you think about it, makes sense.
Whenever I’m feeling down, I find that it’s harder to do the simple things I need to do to function as a human (e.g. drinking enough water, getting adequate sleep, eating regularly).
How to Fix It: Start Journaling
While everyone processes their emotions differently, I find journaling as a way to “get out of your head”—journaling gives me the opportunity to escape “real life” and just be for a while. When I’m journaling, I don’t have to think about the audience, deadlines, or tone because it just doesn’t matter. It’s just me and my thoughts.
“When people get stuck in sorrow, grief, depression, etc., their energy and blood cannot flow,” says Kramer. “Clearing their mind and emotions will help warm the body as well.”
The Best Subscription for the Job: Silk + Sonder
Silk + Sonder is a monthly self-care journal that comes with a support system, daily rituals, and mindfulness exercises to help get your thoughts on a more positive track. Each journal is beautifully designed and provides the tools that you need to reflect, plan, and work towards future goals.
I’ve been a Silk + Sonder member since November 2020, and it’s had a huge impact on my life and my relationships. Each night, I try to dedicate 10 to 20 minutes of my time to writing in my S+S journal.
How do you keep yourself cozy during the winter months? What subscriptions are helping you out, if any? Let us know in the comments!
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