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Do you dread cold weather because you quickly end up with numb, painful fingers? Up to ten million people in the UK suffer from Raynaud’s disease, yet knowledge of the condition is low. Reynaud’s Awareness Month aims to change this by raising the profile of the disease.
In this article, you’ll discover why Raynaud’s occurs and some of the best foods for preventing the symptoms.
Many people don’t realise they are suffering from Raynaud’s, believing their symptoms are caused by poor circulation. However, it’s much more than simply having cold fingers. Raynaud’s can affect other extremities like your toes, ears, lips and nose, too. First, they turn white or blue and feel painful or numb. These symptoms are caused by an overreaction of tiny blood vessels to changes in temperature. They constrict unnecessarily, causing pain, numbness and colour changes as the area is starved of blood and therefore oxygen. Once your blood vessels relax again and circulation returns, you’ll feel pain and tingling.
Raynaud’s may occur on its own or it can be associated with other conditions such as scleroderma or rheumatoid arthritis. These are both autoimmune diseases, caused when the immune system becomes confused and attacks parts of the body such as the connective tissue of the skin, or the joints.
Although it’s not clear what causes blood vessels to contract in this way, it can be made more likely by smoking, stress, caffeine, alcohol and certain environmental chemicals. Because of its connection with autoimmune diseases, many therapists believe Raynaud’s is linked with the functioning of the gut. An unhappy digestive system can upset your immune system and encourage ongoing inflammation in your body.
Try including these foods in your diet to help support your circulation and alleviate Raynaud’s.
Finally, a square or two of dark chocolate is not only rich in magnesium, essential for helping blood vessels to relax, but also contains flavanols. These are a type of antioxidant contained in the cocoa bean. They have been studied because of their ability to relax blood vessels.
The above recommendations are general ones only. You are unique, and so are your body’s requirements. Your practitioner will take an in-depth health history and consider aspects of your lifestyle. They may recommend appropriate tests to examine gut function or immune health, depending on your circumstances.
Once the underlying imbalances contributing to your symptoms are discovered, your practitioner will recommend personalised nutritional, dietary and lifestyle changes to put these imbalances right and reduce your symptoms.
Would you like natural support for Raynaud’s ? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.
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