Are your hands and feet always ice cold? Do you shock your loved ones with shivers when you touch them? Are you afraid to shake someone’s hand because you know your hands are far too cold for comfort? Having cold hands and feet is a sign of poor blood circulation. But before you freak out and self-diagnose Raynaud’s or scleroderma, try these natural remedies for better blood circulation.
In 2014, researchers in Italy reported that the antioxidants in dark chocolate increase blood flow to the arms and legs by activating biochemicals that help widen arteries. Researchers studied patients with poor blood circulation, and they found that after eating dark chocolate, patients showed increased levels of nitric oxide, a gas that widens arteries and improves blood flow.
Studies have shown that compounds in the ginkgo biloba leaf dilate the blood vessels in your whole body, temporarily increasing blood flow to your extremities. Taking ginkgo as a dietary supplement could go a long way toward warming up your hands and feet.
Wine (or alcohol)
Just one glass of wine or one alcoholic beverage per day can also work wonders for your circulation. Alcohol, like ginkgo biloba, dilates your blood vessels and helps blood reach extremities more easily, especially through the vessels in your hands and feet. So have a glass of red wine with your dark chocolate in the evenings after work. Trust me, they’re an excellent pairing.
Around 30-45 minutes of daily exercise, especially cardiovascular exercises like a brisk walk or jumping rope will get your blood flowing freely and can keep it flowing throughout the day. If the cold hands and feet return soon after you exercise, try cycling your feet for 5-10 minutes and rotating your arms in a quick circular motion for 5-10 minutes as well. These simple exercises can get the blood flowing again and warm you up quickly.
Peppers, onions, garlic and certain spices, such as curry powder and cayenne powder, are great for improving blood circulation. These spicy foods also offer relief for the muscle pain you might encounter after exercising.
Regular massages can work miracles for blood flow because blood gets stuck in knots inside your muscles. Massages stimulate the trapped blood and allow it to move more freely through your body. The pulling and squeezing of the muscles in your body during a massage works to flush lactic acid from the muscles, which also improves blood circulation.
One of the simplest ways to combat poor blood circulation is to stay hydrated. Poor hydration leads to poor blood circulation, so always keep a bottle of water with you when you’re out and about.
Quitting smoking, taking hot showers, dressing in layers, and taking fish oil in addition to Gingko Biloba will all help with better blood circulation, but adding just a few of these remedies to your daily routine will have you shaking hands confidently in no time.