The nervous system is a vitally important part of our bodies that is responsible for ALL bodily functions. This being the case, it is important that we take the health of our
nervous systems as seriously as we do other parts such as the muscles and cardiovascular system. This post will focus on a brief explanation of the 2 primary parts of the nervous system, as well as ways we can work to increase nervous system health.
The nervous system is made of up two primary parts, the Central Nervous System and the Peripheral Nervous System. The Central Nervous System is responsible for all actions and responses that we go through on a daily basis (including involuntary actions such as breathing). The Peripheral Nervous System receives information and then sends signals back to the Central Nervous System which then responds with an action or particular movement.
Nervous system health is an important aspect of overall health as our bodily functions rely on the nervous system, as well as our emotional health. Our emotions play a large role in overall health, as well as being able to live a happy and productive life.
So ways to improve nervous system health include both exercise and nutrition.
Exercise is such an important part of nervous system health, as it increases circulation and oxygen consumption. This creates an environment within the body where there is more oxygen rich blood that can be circulated throughout the body and to the brain. Yoga is a particularly effective form of exercise that increases nervous system health, especially the peripheral nervous system, by relaxing the muscles and sensory organs. Yoga also promotes natural detoxing of waste products and cortisol which has a catabolic effect on our muscles. It has been clinically proven that exercise is more effective for treating moderate depression than leading antidepressant medications.
Regular Chiropractic care helps to maintain the range of motion in both the spinal muscles and bony structures. Chiropractic adjustments remove pressure that is applied to the nerve roots and spinal cord, as a result of misalignment. This allows the brain and body to communicate as designed without interference or blockage. Even if pain is not present, it is important to have regular spinal checks and adjustments made in order to avoid decreased function.
Nutrition is another way that we can improve nervous system health, and certain foods have a positive effect on the nervous system. Complex carbohydrate consumption is encouraged as these foods (whole grains and sweet potatoes) help to stabilize blood sugar levels, which in turn helps to stabilize mood. Scientific research links unstable blood glucose levels to an instability in mood. Simple sugars cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, as they are easy assimilated into the bloodstream. This then leads to the “sugar crash” that many people report after consuming sugary foods. Omega 3 Fatty Acid consumption has been linked to positive effects on the nervous system. Good sources of Omega 3’s include fish, walnuts and flaxseeds. The B Vitamins, which are found in foods such as whole wheat, sweet potatoes, bananas, seaweed, beans and dark green leafy vegetables are also important for nervous system health.
Some other foods to consider adding to your diet for improved nervous system health and function include: Spirulina, oats, whole grains, Brewer’s yeast, blackstrap molasses, chocolate, barley, nuts, and seeds.
So, take care of your spine and nervous system, it’s the only one you have!
In Wellness and Love,
Crocker, P. The Vegan Cook’s Bible. Robert Rose, Inc. Ontario, Canada. 2009
Dr. Christopher Weaver DC, PAK is a Doctor of Chiropractic and Professional Applied Kinesiologist. He's published two books on health and Wellness.