Causes and How to Get Warm

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Some people feel a bit chilly after eating. This can happen for a number of reasons, including certain health concerns.

Why do I get cold after I eat?

Various factors can make you cold after you eat. These include:

Fear not! Each cause of coldness has its own remedy, although a remedy isn’t always necessary.

Here’s what might be causing your post-meal shiver sesh.

1. Diabetes

Diabetes can mess with your metabolic processes by fudging the mechanisms your body uses to absorb sugar from your bloodstream.

It can lead to shaking, sweating, tingling, and an unpredictable body temp. Numbness or a cold feeling after eating (especially in your fingers and toes) is a regular experience for peeps with diabetes.

Contributing factors include:

  • circulation concerns
  • nerve injury
  • fluctuating insulin levels
  • lifestyle factors

Peripheral neuropathy is a type of nerve injury outside your brain and spinal cord that can result from diabetes. It causes similar symptoms.

If you have diabetes, the best way to prevent feeling cold after eating is to manage the condition. You can also grab some special socks online, to keep your tootsies toasty.

Heart alert

If upper body pain or heartburn accompany sudden chills, it might be a symptom of a heart attack.

Get medical attention ASAP if that’s the case.

2. Hypothyroidism

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that helps regulate your metabolism. (Disappointingly, it doesn’t start out as a caterpillar-shaped gland.)

When your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, it can be a sign of hypothyroidism. This condition can make you more sensitive to temperature changes (especially to the cold).

In addition to feeling chilly, other symptoms include:

The good news is that your doc can prescribe a medication to help regulate your thyroid.

They may also suggest you switch up your diet to better support your overall health. According to Harvard Health Publishing, you don’t need to be on a special diet, but you should avoid certain foods. Other tips to consider include:

  • Stay on point with healthy foods. This is important whether your thyroid is cranking out enough hormones or not. Be sure to get in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts, and stick to healthier oils, such as olive.
  • Focus on healthy fats. Sticking to food that provides polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids is key to keeping down levels of harmful cholesterol in your body. As hypothyroidism can lead to weight gain, this is a good way to limit the potentially harmful effects of the extra body weight, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  • Choose lean proteins. Fish and beans are lean sources of protein that go easy on damaging fat content while dishing out those all-important healthy fats.
  • Limit soy protein and iodine. Those appetizing, jiggly blocks of tofu boast a high soy protein and iodine content. But soy and iodine can mess with how your body absorbs thyroid hormones.
  • Get that fiber. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help you bump up your fiber intake. This can help remedy the constipation effects caused by low thyroid hormone levels.

3. Low carb diet

A small 2008 study showed that your body gets a lot of energy (and heat) from carbs. So, a low carb diet (like the Atkins or keto) can cause a case of the chills.

You might also feel sluggish or tired. According to Harvard Health Publishing, carb avoiders even experience flu-like symptoms (via the infamous keto flu). Thankfully, most folks feel better after their bodies adjust to #KetoLife.

If your low carb diet symptoms don’t improve after a couple of weeks, talk with your doctor. A medical pro can help you determine if your change in eating plan is to blame or whether the chills are the result of an underlying health concern that needs some TLC.

4. Anemia

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, anemia happens when your body doesn’t make enough red blood cells, reducing how much oxygen your organs can lap up. A common symptom of anemia is feeling cold.

Other side effects include:

  • dizziness
  • an increased heart rate
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue

There’s no one-size-fits all treatment for anemia. Your doc might treat the individual symptoms or prescribe a medication to bump up your iron levels.

Studies show that daily vitamin B12 supplements help anemia caused by low levels of this vitamin.

5. Anorexia

Long-term food deprivation can slow your metabolism down. This can put a damper on your inner furnace and lead to those post-meal chills.

A 2015 research review showed that folks with anorexia also tend to have a below-average body fat percentage and poor circulation, which can also contribute to coldness.

In addition to feeling cold, anorexia symptoms can include:

You’re not alone

If you live with an eating disorder, you’re far from alone.

The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) has some amazing resources that may help you.

You can also text “NEDA” to 741741 or call (800) 931-2237 to talk with a trained volunteer.

6. Kidney illness

Kidneys are much more than pee-pee producers. They also:

  • balance bodily fluids
  • release vital hormones
  • control red blood cell production
  • remove waste and toxins from your body
  • produce a form of vitamin D that promotes healthy bones 🦴

Various kidney conditions — like glomerulonephritis and polycystic kidney disease — can throw these functions out of whack.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the most common kidney disease is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). A common symptom is feeling cold. The cold feeling is from anemia as your kidneys control red blood cell production.

Your doctor can run tests if they suspect kidney disease is the culprit behind your coldness. Treatment depends on the kidney condition at play.

There’s no one way to get warm when chills hit. Sure, you can wrap yourself in 30 layers of clothing à la Joey Tribbiani, but that might be overkill (it’s also just actively spiteful when those clothes are your roommate’s — sorry Chandler).

Give these tips a go if you get cold after eating.

Go gaga for ginger. This root’s been used as a natural way to warm up for centuries. (Maybe this is why most gingerbread houses don’t have central heating.)

A study showed that drinking a beverage containing ginger can warm up folks with cold sensitivity.

Sip something hot. A nice cuppa tea or bone broth can bring the heat. Even though it doesn’t actually change your internal body temp, it can give you a warm, fuzzy feeling to you stave off the shivers.

Plus, holding a hot mug of goodness in your hands is hella soothing.

Pro tip: Combine the above tips and drink a cup of ginger tea about 30 minutes before eating. This will help keep the chillies away when you’re done with your din-dins.

Calories can keep you warm. A 2004 research review suggested that calories play a huge role in your body temp. If you need a quick boost of warmth, eat a high calorie snack. (Yes, please!)

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