Our nervous system is always on the job, 24/7, 365 days a year (or 366 days in a leap year). Every breath we take, every time our heart beats, every time a thought enters our head, our nervous system is hard at work and playing a role. It's no wonder we can't afford for our nervous system to ever take a day (or an hour or a minute) off, and with that goes the responsibility to keep our nervous system properly fueled. It needs TLC and a steady supply of healthy nutrients as well. Remember, too, when we talk nervous system, we are also talking about our brain and its functionality., Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia are becoming more prevalent in American society, affecting more people at an earlier age. This is attributed to poor eating habits, with many of us simply not consuming the essential nutrients, and yet we instead are loading up on foods that have been contaminated with preservatives and artificial flavoring.
The Nervous System DefinedOur nervous system consists of the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord, comprising the primary infrastructure for electrical communication throughout the body. To maintain healthy neuronal development and functioning, we must be consistently consuming an assortment of the proper nutrients. If we are deficient in ingesting enough of certain vitamins, we risk reduced cognition and memory, chemical imbalances, oxidative damage, altered moods, and even shrinkage of the brain.
Feeding the Nervous SystemThe topic of what foods to eat and which vitamins and supplements to take is something that merits a discussion with your physician and/or a licensed nutritionist. Meanwhile, if you're ready to start putting together a new menu and some recipes for yourself, here is a starter's list – but not an exhaustive one – for the types of vitamins and supplements you might want to consider adding to your diet:
- 5-HTP. The HTP stands for hydroxytryptophan (Spelling bee, anyone?). It can boost the production of the chemical serotonin, which can affect such factors as sleep, appetite, sexual behavior, and pain sensation.
- B vitamins. This cluster of vitamins is led by B-12. There are eight B vitamins in all that are involved in regulating a wide range of nervous system functions.
- Calcium. Calcium isn't just key to our bones and teeth; it also helps to regulate nerve impulse transmission and hormone production.
- Chamomile. Most often consumed via tea, chamomile has been shown to modify the brain's alpha-wave activity – for the better, of course – aiding in deep relaxation.
- Essential fatty acids. These include omega-3's, such as DHA and EPA, which have a hand in benefitting our body's cells – all of them. They, too, aid in nerve impulse transmission.
- Feverfew. An aromatic herb that assists the body in dealing with the kind of muscular tension that can lead to head and neck pain.
- Folic acid. Important vitamin for development of the central nervous system, especially during the embryonic stage, per livestrong.com.
- Magnesium. One study, referenced at Newport Natural News, described magnesium as a superstar mineral, able to enhance synaptic function and neuronal signaling.
- Passionflower. A calming and soothing herb that bolsters natural support for the relaxation centers of the nervous system.
- Potassium. It contributes to the maintenance of the electrochemical impulses nerve cells use to transmit signals throughout the cell. Also helps to prevent uncontrolled nerve signaling that can lead to epilepsy, among other diseases.
- Vitamin A. Needed for healthy development of the central nervous system and essential for healthy vision, per livestrong.com.
- Vitamin E. Known to cut down on oxidative stress in the brain, helping to stop the onset of age-related dementia.