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Your Nervous System - Part 3

21 March 2016 2 comments

Tips to have a healthy nervous system

neural-network There’s no single pill or mental exercise that will supercharge your nervous system. It’s about modifying your lifestyle to keep this essential body system healthy. Beef it up with these health tips:

  • Meditation or relaxation exercises are a sure fire way of relaxing your nervous system and reducing stress. The long-term benefits of meditation have been very well documented in various scientific studies. Your sympathetic nervous system, an important part of your central nervous system, usually takes the greatest amount of stress from your daily activities. Tension, fatigue, depression, and anxiety are just some examples which could pummel your sympathetic nervous system into dough. Meditation activates your parasympathetic nervous system which enables you to relax and release tension and anxiety.

  • Get some sleep. You need quality sleep to shut down your nervous system and give it a rest. Just like a computer’s CPU (central processing unit) when it heats up and slows down, you need sleep to reboot your nervous system and repair any damage it may have encountered during a stressful day. As an adult you need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night for health and wellbeing.

  • fun-brain Use it or lose it! Go to a mental gym. Uhm, for the record, a mental gym isn’t an actual place you can go to. It’s something you can do for your brain. You see, your brain is like a muscle. The more you use or train it, the better it gets. Unlike a muscle, your brain doesn’t fatigue that easily. Regular training puts it in the right mood to accomplish your tasks. There are many exercises for your brain including painting, gardening, cooking, writing poetry, crossword puzzles, playing card games, learning a new language and many many more.

  • Don’t burn your bridges, maintain the brain-gut connection. Your brain may be in control of everything in your body, but hidden from your conscious mind is a second brain (an assembly of intelligent neurons) in the walls of your gut. This second brain is aptly named your ENS (Enteric Nervous System). It communicates directly with your central nervous system, hence brain-gut connection. It’s responsible for digestion, mood and the way you think. Remember, food can improve your mood and if you’re in the right mood, you can think optimally. Read more on the brain-gut connection by clicking here.

  • Essential Fatty Acids. You need to feed your brain with essential fatty acids to keep it running in good condition. We mean your omega-3’s, NOT omega-6’s which we get plenty of already in the modern western diet. One omega-3 called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is particularly important for your brain. The brain needs it for functional maturation during foetal development and infant brain development after birth. Yes, you still need it now because it also acts as an important brain messenger. Examples of rich sources of your omega-3 essential fatty acids include fish and other seafood, walnuts, microalgae and flaxseed, chia seed and hemp seed oils.

    In addition to essential fatty acids, you also need other nutrients like your B vitamins for the healthy conduction of signals along your nerves. Especially vitamin B12, but remember B’s are best taken together as a family.

  • Brain food. Your brain consumes about 20 percent of the total calories you eat and drink, whether you do a lot of thinking (we hope you do) or not. It’s made up of nearly 60 percent fat. There are around 86 billion neurons communicating with each other on a daily basis. All of them require brain food.
    keto-food-pyramid[Click on the image to Enlarge]

    So feeding your brain the right foods is key for the health of your brain and nervous system. In fact studies have shown that a diet low in carbohydrates (sugars, grains, and starches) and high in healthy fats with moderate protein and fresh vegetables has great potential for many common neurological disorders. This type of diet is also known as a ketogenic diet.

    Additionally, one food that is very good fuel for your brain, is coconut oil because it is rich in medium chain triglycerides which are easy for the body to absorb and use for energy. Lecithin is another great brain food because it's rich in phospholipids; the same stuff all your cell walls are made from.

  • Your nervous system loves herbs too. Herbs like Rhodiola, Withania, Siberian ginseng, liquorice, Ginkgo, Rehmania, and Bacopa improve your concentration, mood, and memory as well as helping you cope better with stress.

In summary, the health tips mentioned above are vital to the normal functioning of your nervous system. Make them a part of your daily routine, whenever you can. But don’t stress about trying to do them all at once because stress is not good for your nervous system.

Read the other parts of this article by clicking on the following links:

Your Nervous System Part 1: A sneak peek at your body’s own CPU
Your Nervous System Part 2: Common clues and medical conditions that indicate a troubled nervous system

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