February is Raynaud’s Awareness month and chosen, because it is typically a cold month and it is a disease associated with cold weather. Do you have cold hands and feet? This does not mean you have Raynaud’s, but if you are feeling the cold this winter and longing for some warmth in your body, the tips below are good ways to incorporate heat and energy into your life.
So what is Raynaud’s?
It is a vascular disorder that results in hands and feet being very sensitive to cold. When these extremities are exposed to cold the small arteries that supplies the toes and fingers suddenly contract and go into a spasm. The fingers and toes are then deprived from oxygenated blood causing them to turn a white or bluish colour. They can also feel numb and painful. It can also affect other extremities such as nose and ears. There may be an autoimmune link with Raynaud’s as there is a common occurrence in developing it if you already have an autoimmune condition.
Raynaud’s has 2 categories: Primary Raynaud’s which is not seen as serious but that’s not to say the symptoms are not bothersome and Secondary which has an autoimmune connection and in chronic conditions the surface area may shrink, ulcers may form, damaging tissues and may result in infection under the nails and toenails.
It affects about 10 million people in the UK. Young girls and women more than men are affected. Onset is usually from about 20-40 years of age however children can develop it.
- Eat a wholesome, varied healthy diet.
- Aim for half your plate to be vegetables at all meals.
- Include spices and herbs into cooking especially warming ones such as ginger, cinnamon, paprika, cumin and turmeric.
- Warm up your digestion. Starting the day with fresh ginger tea supports digestion and will help warm your whole body up. Make warm soups, stews and casseroles. Cooking food at a low temperature for a long period of time breaks down the proteins in the food and makes them easier on digestion. Use slow cookers, they are easy and your meal is ready for when you come in from work. In the winter months if having cold foods add ginger, Ayurvedic medicine encourages this to warm up your digestion.
- Add nuts and seeds to your diet for their vitamin and mineral and essential fat content.
- Use cold pressed olive oil – add to cooking, use a dressing on vegetables and salads
- Eat 2-3 pieces of fruit a day; try eating seasonal fruit, Chinese medicine suggests this supports your digestion and health. February fruit: blood oranges, clementines, kiwi, lemons, pears, pomegranates and rhubarb.
- Eat a diet rich in wholegrain, vary grains and don’t just stick to wheat – quinoa, buckwheat, millet, brown rice, oats and amaranth.
- Eat good quality proteins with each meal: fish, organic chicken, organic eggs, grass fed meat, beans, pulses, lentils, peas, plain natural yoghurt, nuts and seeds
- Include oily fish at least 2-3 times a weak – salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines
- Support your digestion
- Avoid fried foods, trans and hydrogenated fats.
- Avoid caffeine as it may impact constriction of blood vessels.
- Keep your hands and feet warm – wear gloves and warm socks when you feel you need to. Running tops and jackets with sleeves where you can put your thumbs into can be handy (excuse the pun).
- Avoid smoking as this constricts blood vessels.
- Find ways to relax – at least once a day find something you enjoy doing that you find relaxing, that might be doing nothing or it might be reading a book. Switch off electrical equipment so not to be distracted. Meditation may help increase temperature; studies have found an increase in core temperature after a meditation practice.
- Exercise is helpful as it increases temperature and supports circulation, but stay warm if exercising outdoors. If new to exercise, seek professional advice and start of slow, walking is a brilliant way to start.
You can find more information at Raynaud’s SRUK
For more information, please contact me: Natasha Alonzi 07824 875 112 email@example.com