[Wellbeing & You] 2022 Nutrition Ice-Breaking Journey: 1st Stop – Cold Hands

January 6, 2022

Perhaps we have never experienced the ice-breaking trip in Northern Europe, but what if I tell you there is one ice-breaking trip that is free of charge, and you can set off immediately, would you be interested? What I am referring to is the “Nutrition Ice-Breaking Journey” in this column of [Wellbeing and You]. We will go through three common and annoying health conditions in the “ice-cold” winter and guide you to conquer these “icebergs” one by one. In this ice-breaking journey, we will bring you to visit three main “tourists’ spots” – Cold Hands, Dry Skin and Chapped Lips. In each stop, we will lead you to understand the causes, myths (“YES & NO”) and suggestions (“DO & DON’T”) of each health condition. I hope you all will enjoy this exciting journey and say goodbye to the above health conditions in 2022 and have a warm and fulfilling new year.


Cold environmentHigh “Fat:Muscle” RatioSlow metabolism and circulation
Viral infection
(e.g. Raynaud’s syndrome, diabetes complications)

The “YES & NO”

Question: Is it exclusive for women?

NO, but…

Both men and women would experience cold hands.
However, women are indeed more likely to have cold hands then men, according to a study by the University of Utah, which demonstrated the hand temperature for men (32.2°C) are higher than women (30.7°C). The differences were possibly attributed from the smaller size, higher “Fat:Muscle” body composition and the different hormonal profile of women.

Question: Does the old saying “Cold hands, warm heart” true?

Interestingly, the research by the University of Utah also found that women had a higher core (heart included) temperature than men. The saying “Cold hands, warm heart” may have a certain scientific basis because blood vessels in the extremities are often first to constrict in the face of temperature drop in order to maintain the core temperature for survival and normal metabolism of the body.

Hot food and drink: broth, soups, teasCold food: Salad, ice cream, sushi
Adequate protein intake
(> 1g Protein /1kg Body weight)
e.g. Egg, dairy products, meat
Low-carbohydrate diet,
which slows down metabolism as well as energy/heat production
Coconut oil (Steam-refined)
MCT inside accelerates thermogenesis
Phytate-rich foods:
Beans, seeds and nuts
Coffee and black tea boost blood flow, metabolism and body temperature
Anti-thyroid/Goitrogenic foods:
Soy, raw/undercooked cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower), millet
Ceylon Cinnamon, white pepper, ginger, chili, star anise, nutmeg, cardamom
Deep-fried foods
Especially those fried with PUFA – Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acid
Regular exercise (walking counts!)Alcohol & Smoke


American College of Rheumatology, University of Utah, Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins Medicine, National Health Service, National Institute of Health, PMID: 9464451, 2921306, 26894086, 16676119, 17898493, 30666166, 31343948, 27069497, 23204610, 29430626, 20224686, 28274349, 33898702


Charles Wong, Senior Nutritionist
Compass Group Hong Kong Limited