Why?are some people always hot or always cold? There are several reasons:
Your constitution. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, and even more contemporary dietary theories such as the Blood Type Diet teach the concept of bioindividuality. What this means is that different people have different constitutions, or characteristics (including hot, cold, damp, dry, oily, etc), which are categorized into different types. Different constitutions have different needs in terms of diet, physical activity, and lifestyle and different constitutions are prone to certain ailments.
Certain health conditions. Hypothyroidism/Hashimoto’s, iron deficiency anemia, Raynaud’s syndrome, candidiasis, and chronic stress are linked to cold (sometimes extreme) intolerance. On the other hand, diabetes, Graves disease/hyperthyroidism, Lyme disease, hormone imbalances, and heart disease can produce the symptom of always being hot.
Certain foods. Just like people have different constitutions and characteristics, so do foods. Some foods have naturally cooling properties (think ‘cool as a cucumber’, while others are naturally warming (ginger, cayenne). Eating too many cooling foods, if you have a cooler composition–especially during a cool season–can cause you to be cold, and the same applies to warming foods, warmer constitutions, and warm seasons.
Lack of physical activity. It might seem that people more prone to excessive heat might not want to exercise rigorously, but it’s important to understand that sweating releases excessive heat from the body, along with toxins. On the flip side, many people with a propensity to extreme cold also have poor circulation. Increasing circulation also increases body heat, so regular movement is very important for chronically cold people.
Shallow breathing. Breathing deeply on a regular basis is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall health and wellness–plus anyone can do it at any time! Adequate breathing does so much for the mind and body, but people who are always hot or always cold especially benefit from a deep breathing practice for reasons similar to those given for regular physical activity. It helps increase the body’s circulation, and also helps regulate body temperature by releasing excessive heat and raising the temperature if necessary.
Improper or inadequate skin moisturization. One of the skin’s many functions is to help regulate body temperature. In order for it to do so, its barrier must be intact, unbroken, able to breathe, with adequate moisture levels. Using too much moisturizer or moisturizers containing occlusive ingredients like mineral oil or petrolatum can suffocate the skin, trap excessive heat in the body, and also interfere with circulation. On the other hand, using plant oils and butters which nourish the skin and seal in moisture while still allowing the skin to breathe is a great way to help keep body temperatures regular.
What can you do if you’re always hot or always cold?
Start by understanding your constitution. You can take a quiz to discover your Ayurvedic dosha here, or your Chinese constitution here. ?Once you know your constitution, it’s easier to understand where to start with food and lifestyle choices that best support your needs.
Try changing up your foods. If you’re always hot, try eating more cooling foods and if you’re always cold, focus more on warming foods. Take note of how you feel.
Start a deep breathing practice. This is a great way to start your day, end your day, or give yourself a mid-day boost. Learn more here.
Try to incorporate some kind of physical activity into your day. Some people love exercise, others loathe it. Whatever the case, sometimes our busy schedules interfere with our best intentions, and exercise doesn’t happen. Remember that some exercise is better than none, done is better than perfect, and it doesn’t have to be a conventional form of exercise. I truly believe there’s a form of movement for everyone–sometimes we have to look a bit outside the norm to find it.
Moisturize with a natural plant oil like coconut, olive, or jojoba?daily. In addition to helping to seal in moisture, this helps insulate and regulate the body temperature. Apply enough that the skin absorbs it, but not so much that you feel a greasy residue on the skin–this means the skin has absorbed all it can handle, and any excess on the surface could have an occlusive action, which we don’t want.
Consult with an integrative healthcare professional.?If you’ve tried all of the above?and are still always hot or always cold, then you might have a health condition that needs attention. Integrative and functional healthcare professionals like integrative or functional MDs, naturopathic physicians (NDs), and homeopathic doctors have had education on the topics mentioned above, and might be able to provide you with information a regular allopathic doctor can’t.
Tell me what’s worked for you in the comments below!
*Cucumber image by Stacy Spensley,