Body temperature drops in winter, and people frequently become less energetic and prone to disease. In fact, medical professionals have found that there is a correlation between body temperature and human life expectancy, as well as appearance and body weight.
In addition to the influence of cold weather, modern people use cars instead of walking. Their sedentary lifestyles, coupled with the stress of modern life, result in a lower body temperature than people had in the past. For example, the Japanese have seen their body temperature drop by an average of 0.7 degrees compared to that of 50 years ago.
According to Kawashima Lang, a famous Japanese naturopath, one secret to longevity, beauty, and weight loss is to let body temperature rise by one degree. He believes that “all disease results from coldness.” Decreased body temperature leads to decreased basal metabolism, which may bring obesity, poor immunity, and eventually cancer and other diseases.
Why is a low body temperature bad for the body?
Dr. Yuki Ishihara, another Japanese natural health practitioner, also pointed out in his book Warm Body Cures that for every 1°C drop in body temperature, immunity decreases by more than 30 percent. At the same time, metabolism also decreases, which leads to various diseases.
Kawashima Lang, a leading expert in the field of cold-repellent treatment, explains this effect from the perspective of blood circulation. He believes that a colder body equates to a drop in blood temperature. When blood temperature drops, there are subtle changes in blood circulation; this may cause a block and cause blood clots to form.
The two main roles of blood are to transport oxygen and nutrients, and to send out aging substances, which, when blocked over time, may have adverse effects on the body in the following ways:
1. Lack of vitality
If body temperature drops and blood circulation is poor, the body will not be able to transport necessary substances in the body. Waste products cannot be discharged properly, which will lead to a lack of vitality over time.
For example, if oxygen is not properly transported through the blood, the body becomes less efficient at producing the energy it needs. In addition, immune cells and the antibodies they produce, which kill flu viruses and cancer cells, are mainly transported through the blood, so poor blood circulation can weaken the human body’s ability to deal with diseases.
2. Poor complexion
As mentioned, with poor blood circulation, waste products that should be excreted from the body begin to accumulate; blood vessels may become thinner and it becomes more difficult for the blood to carry nutrients as well. This will lead to blemishes, dark circles under the eyes, and a poor complexion.
People with cold bodies tend to feel unhappy, and may even feel depressed. This is related to the secretion of serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin is known as the “happiness hormone.” It inhibits stress, helps people feel relaxed, and helps improve the quality of sleep. However, 95 percent of serotonin is produced in the intestines and does not reach the brain directly. The brain can produce serotonin on its own only if tryptophan, an amino acid, is transported to the brain by the blood. When blood circulation is poor, brain serotonin production will decrease and people can easily become depressed.
4. Lower immunity and affected life expectancy
Blood is also responsible for carrying the heat that warms the body, and the body will feel cold where blood circulation is poor. When body temperature drops, blood circulation becomes even poorer, the body’s ability to warm up will be weakened, and a vicious cycle of body coldness will result.
The lower the body temperature, the colder the body will be; thus the activity of the catalysts that play a chemical role in the body will be reduced, and the body’s ability to create nutrients, inhibit bad substances, remove waste from the body, and repair damaged cells, will become weaker. This leads to a decrease in immunity and an increase in the chance of developing cancer, potentially decreasing longevity.
How to increase body temperature by one degree
Low body temperature makes people lack vitality, look bad, become depressed, and fall into a vicious downward cycle. On the other hand, when body temperature is raised, people become healthier and happier. So what should you do to warm up your body and improve blood circulation?
According to Kawashima Lang: “Ten percent of the entire body’s heat is produced by diet, 20 to 30 percent by exercise, and the remaining 60 to 70 percent by basal metabolism when not exercising.”
To increase your body temperature by one degree, a good place to start is with exercise, diet, and enhancing basal metabolism.
1. Jump around
To increase your body temperature, you must first increase your basal metabolism. “Muscles produce the most heat, so exercise is recommended to drive away coldness,” said Kawashima.
One simple exercise to increase body temperature is to jump in the same spot. This exercise not only moves the muscles in the lower body, but this also increases blood circulation in the lower legs, acting like a pump and raising body temperature. Doing this 10 times a day, before breakfast, is recommended.
2. Eat soup
It is generally believed that consuming hot soups during winter can quickly raise the body temperature. Just a few spoonfuls of piping-hot soup are sufficient to achieve this effect. Kawashima says thickening the soup with potato starch is more effective than just eating the soup by itself. By thickening the soup, it helps bring heat directly into the stomach and intestines so that the body can be warmed up for a long period of time.
3. Wear a down jacket
Wearing a down jacket in cold weather can make the body temperature rise, but one should do it the correct way.
A down jacket heats up by virtue of body temperature causing the feathers to swell up and form a warm layer. If one wears very thick clothes inside the jacket, the insulation layer of down cannot form a very warm layer. Therefore, the thinner the clothes worn inside the down jacket, the warmer you will be.
4. Warm up your stomach
An effective way to keep your body warm in winter is to warm up the areas where blood circulation is typically active. These areas include the stomach, places that have larger arteries passing through, such as the neck, and places with a lot of muscle mass, such as the thighs.
Kawashima said he personally likes to use a hot water bag to heat his abdomen and warm his stomach. The stomach is the center of metabolism and immunity, and a cold stomach invites many diseases. Therefore, keeping the stomach warm is a good way to help maintain good health.
Translated by Audrey Wang