You have low iron levels
If you’re constantly wondering: ‘Why am I always cold?’, iron-deficiency anemia might be to blame. Red blood cells need iron to carry oxygen into the blood, and low levels of iron could hurt your circulation, says registered dietitian nutritionist Alyssa Tucci, RDN, a registered dietitian in New York, NY. “Coldness in extremities—hands and feet—is most pronounced, because the body is smart, so it diverts blood to vital organs like the heart and brain first,” she says. Meat is the most common dietary source of iron. Leafy greens and legumes are good sources, but pair them with a vitamin C-rich food like red pepper for maximum absorption, she says; it’s harder to absorb iron from plants. Don’t ignore these other signs of iron deficiency, either.
You need more vitamin B12
“People might assume they’re not getting enough iron when it’s really a B12 issue,” says Andrea Moss, a certified holistic nutrition coach in New York, NY. Vitamin B12 anemia can cause coldness, numbness, and low energy, she says. Like iron, most B12-rich foods are animal products, so vegetarians might have a tough time getting enough. Vitamin B12 is found in eggs, yogurt, and cheese. Vegans can sprinkle nutritional yeast—a cheesy-tasting powder—on popcorn or baked potatoes. If you are a vegan, ask your doctor to periodically check your vitamin B12 levels to make sure you’re getting enough. Nutritional yeast isn’t always enough to ensure adequate levels of the vitamin.
You have a thyroid condition
When your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone to regulate your metabolism, you could end up feeling cold all the time, says Margarita Rohr, MD, an internal medicine specialist at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York, NY. If you’re experiencing other symptoms of thyroid disease, such as hair loss, constipation, weight gain or fatigue, go to a doctor for a blood test for hypothyroidism, she says. In the meantime, watch out for these silent thyroid symptoms.