Brain and Nervous System Health
Our nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord, sensory organs, and all of the nerves that connect these organs with the rest of the body. These organs are responsible for the control of the body and communication.
I love focusing on the nervous system with my clients. When we think of lifting weights, exercising and fueling our bodies we usually only consider the muscles, however, the nervous system feeds into the muscles and cells to enhance their productivity. Essential fatty acids are key components of the myelin sheaths (the covering that insulates the nerves).
When we are under a great deal of stress, whether it be; physical, emotional, or mental. While under stress for a long period of time, the body will rob the organs of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to keep the heart functioning. We have to make sure we are not in a constant state of stress. It is true wisdom to know when to go slow and when to give it your all.
The monkey mind can contribute to major stress. This is that constant state of worry, control, and fear. It is difficult to implement self care practices when you are in this state of mind. Many neurological disorders have been stemmed to lack of nutrition, oxygen, hydration and rest.
One of my favorite and inspiring talks regarding the connection of our brain to who we truly are is Jill Bolte’s Ted Talk: Stroke of Insight.
She had a stroke on the Left Side of the brain (which is the side I most commonly see in my practice, we tend to over use this side vs our right brain). The left side of the brain controls the ability to speak and understand language in most people.
The right side of the brain controls the ability to pay attention, recognize things you see, hear or touch, and be aware of your own body.
Tips to keep your nervous system healthy:
- B-vitamins: While I was studying for my boards, B-vitamins came up all the time for nervous system and cellular health. Check our our earlier post on B-vitamins.
Best food sources: calf’s liver, spinach, leafy greens, chicken, lentils, halibut, eggs.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: We are fat heads, since the brain is composed of mostly fat. Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for preventing brain degeneration and keeping the brain healthy. Best food sources: flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, sardines, halibut, scallops.
- Ginkgo Biloba: This tree has been a common treatment in Chinese Medicine. Ginkgo is known to increase blood flow through the brain’s blood vessels, as well as stimulate brain activity.
- Antioxidants & Vitamin E: These powerful nutrients help to protect cells from free radical damage in the nervous tissue and keep them functioning properly. Vitamin E can slow the process of cognitive decline.
Antioxidants: Best food sources: Dark colored berries, walnuts, pomegranate juice, fresh vegetables and fruits.
Vitamin E: Best food sources: raw sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach, leafy greens.
- Magnesium & Potassium: These two nutrients work together to help keep our nerves stay healthy and under control. They relax nerves and muscles, which allows for proper circulation and blood flow. Best food sources of magnesium: raw pumpkin seeds, spinach, salmon, raw sunflower seeds, halibut, sesame seeds, black beans. Best food sources of potassium: swiss chard, lima beans, yams, winter squash, soybeans, avocado, spinach, lentils.
Cheers to a relaxed nervous system,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N