The nervous system is a very complex, highly specialized network of sensory nerves. Simply put, the nervous system enables communication between all parts of the body.
It regulates the body’s response to both internal and external stimuli and enables you to perform involuntary actions such as breathing and reflex responses. The nervous system also controls:
- The five senses: sight, taste, smell, hearing and feeling.
- Your ability to have conscious thoughts and sound reasoning is also controlled by the nervous system. It also controls emotions.
- Movement, coordination, balance and other voluntary and involuntary actions. Further, the nervous system plays a part in regulating the function of other body systems, including blood pressure and blood flow.
- Digestion, breathing, body posture and body temperature.
- The sympathetic nervous system controls and regulates the body’s natural fight or flight response to emergency situations.
The nervous system consists of:
- The brain and spinal cord, which together make up the central nervous system, also called CNS.
- A complex system of connecting nerves that transmit messages from one part of the body to the other and connects with the CNS. This nerve system is known as the peripheral nervous system or PNS.
The nervous system relies on its complex system of nerves and cells to transmit messages across the body and keep the body in perfect working condition.
Several different nerves perform a variety of functions, including facilitating movement and transmitting stimuli from the body to the brain and vice versa.
However, even the slightest impediment to this arrangement can prevent the nervous system from functioning optimally, leading to severe problems in the long run.
As you can imagine, the implications of a defective nervous system can be quite debilitating and severe, considering how vital the nervous system is to every aspect of our lives.
Nervous system problems can be degenerative (occurring over long periods and causing a gradual decline of functions) or acute (occurring suddenly). Some of the most common causes of nervous system problems are:
- Injuries to the head and spinal cord
- Infections such as encephalitis and meningitis
- Degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and Multiple Sclerosis
- Mental health issues
- Seizure disorders
- Genetic disorders
Depending on which area of the nervous system is affected, some of the symptoms most commonly associated with acute nervous system problems include:
- Sudden, painful headaches
- Severe nausea
- Behavioral changes
- Blurred vision
- Loss of speech faculties
- Weakness and instability
- Memory loss
- Numbness of arms and legs
- Loss of coordination
- Physical and mental fatigue
In most cases, these symptoms do not go away on their own and the best, most highly recommended course of action available to anyone suffering from any of them is to seek medical assistance.
With that said, it’s best to ensure and maintain a healthy nervous system, to protect yourself from suffering the disruptive repercussions of nervous system problems. Here are ten effective ways to maintain the health of your nervous system:
10 Ways To Keep The Nervous System Healthy
- Eat Right
Eating healthy and balanced diets regularly can help you maintain a normal weight and greatly reduce your vulnerability to a host of cardiovascular diseases. As it turns out, eating healthy foods in balanced proportions can also have a positive impact on the health of your nervous system.
Your neurons run on glucose, so it’s necessary to keep up your glucose levels with foods like brown rice, almonds and chocolate. Foods that contain decent levels of healthy fats and vitamins such as B-12 and D are good options.
You can further improve nerve transmissions with foods such as cauliflower, salmon, chia seeds and canola oil.
- Exercise Regularly
Exercise is highly essential to the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle and prevention of debilitating illnesses. However, exercise, in this case, is not limited to vigorous physical workouts.
To maintain the health and well-being of your nervous system, you would need to exercise it, in addition to exercising your brain. This can be achieved by engaging in activities that put your mental faculties to work such as solving puzzles and writing by hand.
These activities help in arresting brain degeneration and preventing paralysis, stroke and memory loss. Combining physical exercises (at least three times a week) with daily mental workouts can considerably improve and maintain the health of your nervous system.
- Get Lots Of Sleep
Insufficient sleep can cause stress, physical and mental fatigue, depression and exponential weight gain which can leave you vulnerable to a whole host of debilitating cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure.
In the same vein, insufficient sleep will impact your nervous system negatively. Restful and adequate sleep has loads of positive implications for the nervous system: it can help with the learning and remembering of new information much quicker and more effectively.
It’s important to maintain a healthy sleep schedule because sleep strengthens circuits within the nervous system, promoting a healthy nervous system.
- Don’t Underestimate The Importance of Meditation
Meditation means a lot of things to a lot of people. One thing that’s certain is that meditation can definitely improve the health of your nervous system. Apart from helping you cope better in high-pressure situations and increasing your pain threshold, meditation can also help in the calming of frayed nerves and the easing of accumulated stress and tension.
Several types of meditation can help regulate your heart rate and breathing rate, and also aids the production of antioxidants that combat stress-inducing cortisol. It can also help condition your voluntary and involuntary responses which will help put less pressure on your nervous system.
- Get Enough Sunlight
Have you ever wondered why the absence of sunlight contributes to feelings of restlessness and depression in the long run? The sun is also associated with vibrancy and benevolence, little wonder it is the number one deity in many cultures.
Apart from providing the body with vitamin D, regular exposure to early morning sunlight (for about 10 minutes each day) can give your nervous system a massive boost.
Studies reveal that the sun can greatly minimize your vulnerability to several health challenges. In the same vein, sunlight can play a leading role in the fortification of your nervous system.
- Walk Barefoot
It may sound strange and unconventional, but walking barefoot actually holds immense benefits for your nervous system. Being the most significant instinct for mankind, walking barefoot can help you maintain a correct posture, and on a deeper level, improves your health.
Apart from these, walking barefoot can give your immune system a boost and also help you sleep better at night. Studies further reveal that walking barefoot can reduce the severity of menstrual cramps, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and perfectly honest your senses.
On other levels, walking barefoot can also influence the way your brain interprets pain.
- Drink Green Tea
Green tea contains several ingredients that are beneficial to your overall health and the health of your nervous system in particular. Green tea contains amino acids that can aid digestion, while also increasing serotonin levels.
It also contains caffeine, which can help boost concentration and other cognitive abilities. Apart from all these, green tea also improves metabolism which can help you lose weight naturally.
Further, green tea can provide your body with an instant energy boost when you need it, improve immunity and also protect your body from the actions of free radicals.
- Eliminate Smoking and Minimize Alcohol Intake
Smoking may seem to smooth your nerves and promote calmness, but the opposite is actually the case. Cigarettes can corrode the integrity of your bones, cause disruptions to the activities of your nerve cells (even kill off most of them), and contribute to lower back pain and sciatica.
By the same token, excessive alcohol intake fills your body with potentially harmful toxins which your nervous system expends a lot of effort trying to get rid of.
Further, alcohol contains calories that are difficult to get rid of, and these calories may pile up, leaving you out of shape and vulnerable to a wide range of debilitating illnesses.
- Do Yoga Exercises
Yoga and other stretching and breathing exercises can also help maintain the health of your nervous system. Performing gentle yoga stretches can help ease accumulated tension, smoothen out kinks in your nerves and generally contribute to the optimal performance of your nervous system.
Yoga can also help reduce stress, improve flexibility and balance, help build core strength and also supports the health of your joints. Other benefits of yoga include improved immunity, better sleep, quicker and more effective weight loss, improved blood flow, reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and decreased joint degeneration.
- Reduce Risk of Damage
Several environmental factors can lead to damage to the nervous system, such as constant exposure to toxic chemicals. If you live or work in close proximity with these chemicals, try to ensure that adequate safety precautions are taken.
Repetitive motions can also lead to nerve damage, so proper care has to be taken to forestall such an occurrence. Try as much as possible to avoid staying in one position for too long, and intersperse motions that need to be repeated with other actions.
Don’t also forget to keep hydrated as dehydration is detrimental to the health of your nervous system.
How Does Nutrition Affect The Nervous System
You are what you eat sounds like a cliche, but it remains true. The way you nourish your body has a profound impact on respective organs, and the nervous system is not left out.
In much the same way as you take special diets to improve skin and heart health, or lose weight, there are certain foods that can give your nervous system a real boost. Your diet can also affect the brain’s ability to fight neurological disorders, retard the degeneration process and help it recover from injuries faster.
Let’s start with what you should not eat. We all have an idea that foods known as “junk food” are bad news, but they are particularly destructive to the nervous system.
Foods that contain extremely high amounts of saturated fats and sugars can produce damaging effects on the brain and nervous system. Research reveals that these foods enhance the deterioration of cognitive abilities.
They also slow down the brain’s ability to heal itself in the event of injury. Processed foods also rank high on the list of foods to avoid, as they promote inflammation and a tendency to overindulge.
On the flip side, research abounds that suggest that Omega-3 fatty acids are important for the health of your nervous system. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in certain types of fish, such as salmon.
This acid slows down the ageing process of the brain and helps the brain and spinal cord heal when they suffer injuries. Leafy vegetables are also highly recommended as they are loaded with lutein which may help prevent cognitive decline.
Also, foods that are rich in protein and fibre such as beans, nuts and berries are really good choices.
Certain vitamins can also improve the health of your nervous system. The B vitamins are notable for their benefits in this regard. Thiamine, for instance, is lauded for its nerve health improving properties.
Thiamine can be gotten from black beans, pork, pasta, cereals and rice. The B12 vitamin is also noted for preventing brain degeneration in elderly people and promoting brain development. It also protects nerve endings from damage. B12 is present in large quantities in animal meat and seafood.
For the maintenance of a healthy nervous system, the importance of calcium and potassium cannot be overestimated. Calcium and potassium are useful for the nourishment of your brain, and they also fortify the nervous system against degeneration.
Calcium is present in dairy products, while potassium can be gotten from bananas, potatoes and fish.
It is also important to stay hydrated and when it comes to this, your best option remains water, not carbonated drinks or other such beverages. These beverages contain sugar, which may cause more harm than good in the long run.
Finally, the best approach towards maintaining the health of your nervous system remains a well-balanced approach.
Best Foods For A Healthy Nervous System
As we’ve noted earlier, your nervous system can be affected, in a good or bad way, by what you eat. Foods that are rich in vitamins, good fatty acids, essential minerals and antioxidants are great for your nervous system.
Foods that contain saturated fats and refined sugars, not so much. Here are some foods that provide great benefits for your nervous system:
Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and cashew are great sources of magnesium, while brazil nuts boast a high selenium content. Nuts also contain reasonable amounts of protein and boast the ability to help calm the nervous system. No wonder they are so highly recommended.
Ready to eat oatmeal can provide your recommended daily allowance of dietary fibre. In addition to that, oatmeal can help stabilize the central nervous system. Oatmeal can also improve cognitive abilities, giving your productivity a major boost throughout the day.
Bananas are known as ‘brain food’ for a reason. Bananas boast a liberal helping of potassium which is extremely important for the development of the brain. Potassium is also an electrolyte that helps the body stay hydrated. Bananas, for good reason, are also a particular favorite among athletes.
Avocados are a great source of Vitamin B and Vitamin C which, among other things, helps boost your immune system. The B Vitamins are particularly adept at improving the health of the nervous system.
Avocados are also packed to the brim with folate and Vitamin K, which are useful for the prevention of stroke. These vitamins also improve cognitive function, particularly concentration and memory.
- Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is famous and popular for its anti-aging properties, which makes it a favorite among elderly people. Apart from this, however, coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides which can improve memory and cognitive abilities.
It does this by repairing defective neural pathways. Coconut oil also provides a myriad of other benefits for your nervous system.
Another veggie you shouldn’t be able to get enough of, broccoli is packed full of Vitamin C and fibre. Its high Vitamin K and choline content is also great for your nervous system.
In addition to these wonderful benefits, broccoli can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight, leave you feeling pleasantly full all day, help you maintain focus and improve cognitive abilities.
Garlic may not win many popularity contests, but in truth, it holds immense benefits for your body system. Garlic contains antioxidants which are really great at helping arrest the aging of your brain and improve brain function.
In addition to this, garlic can help detoxify your system, which is a great benefit in and of itself. If you find garlic hard to stomach, try preparing it in a meal.
- Rosemary Leaf
Rosemary leaf contains carnosic acid which protects the brain from the harmful effects of free radicals. Rosemary leaf can also retard the brain’s aging process, effectively protecting you from risks of strokes (and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s) and helping keep your memory intact.
Chiropractic Care And The Nervous System
There’s a fair chance that most people’s thoughts hardly flit to their nervous system when they’re confronted with illnesses and wondering how to treat them. But research indicates that everything about your body system begins and ends with your nervous system.
Here’s how it works, your nervous system consists of your brain, your spinal cord and all your nerves. What this means is that your nervous system controls and regulates every single activity that goes on in your body. It controls the endocrine system and yes, the immune system too.
This would suggest that as long as your nervous system is healthy and functions properly, the chances of you getting laid low by sickness are significantly reduced.
Indeed, a nervous system that functions in tandem with all its members will get rid of disease causing pathogens before they get any chance to do any damage. Your immune system can be said to be functioning properly if your parasympathetic nervous system and your sympathetic nervous system are working together.
Of course, this also means that when there is a miscommunication between your nerves and the brain, or if there’s an imbalance somewhere, serious complications may arise.
And without the ability to communicate properly due to this misalignment, the nervous system would be powerless to intervene. Actually, the affected nerve would become inflamed, causing considerable pain, and chronic inflammation can lead to the following health conditions:
- Chronic pain
- High blood pressure
- Susceptibility to infections
- Skin conditions
- Heart disease
This is where chiropractic care comes in. Chiropractic aims to repair misalignments in your spine and remove obstructions between your nerves and brain.
The idea behind chiropractic is to employ the use of spinal manipulation/adjustment to remove subluxations that compress spinal nerves. These subluxations put pressure on the spine and cause a variety of illnesses.
Chiropractic treatment aims to restore the lines of communication and also restore balance so that your endocrine and immune systems, and all other systems, can get back to functioning properly.
Chiropractic treatments directly affect the nervous system and alter how the brain communicates with other parts of the body. Chiropractors attempt to restore the health of their clients’ spine and by extension, their nervous system.
This is done with the expectation that a healthy nervous system would be capable of reversing most diseases that the client is suffering from.
While the jury is still out on the disease reversing abilities of chiropractic (some orthodox MDs remain unconvinced about the viability and safety of chiropractic in general), one fact that’s beyond dispute is that it does produce results.
Several studies reveal that chiropractic treatment can create a positive effect on the nervous system, and this may be useful for correcting nervous system dysfunction.
Whether or not chiropractic care is able to cure diseases, it definitely can help ensure that your nervous system is in perfect health, and this will help protect you from a multitude of debilitating ailments.
It can impact your nervous system and other parts of the body positively and promote a feeling of health and well-being in you, and that’s enough reason to book an appointment today.