Modern-day living and all the busy-ness and stress that comes along with it can do a real number on your central nervous system, especially if you are not taking proactive steps to counteract the negative effects on your body. Rather than feed energy and nutrients into your body’s productive systems, an overtaxed nervous system typically expends most of its resources just trying to defend the body against attack, whether it is in the form of anxiety, panic, or stress, which depletes your energy reserves and potentially even harms your endocrine system.
One way to help counteract this damage; however, is to consume foods that minimize the amount of time and energy your nervous system spends in catabolic mode, which tears down the body, and maximizes the amount of time and energy it spends in anabolic mode, which nourishes, heals, and regenerates the body.
For maximum health and to counteract the negative effects of your environment and diet, try eating more of the powerful foods we’ve highlighted, to calm your nervous system naturally.
Sweet Potatoes, and Yams – A complex carbohydrate food that contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and B vitamins, sweet potatoes are another nutritionally dense food that can help calm your nerves, eliminate stress, and even lower your blood pressure. Similarly, yams contain an array of nutrient compounds that feed the glandular system and promote respiratory, urinary, and nervous system health.
Bananas – Many athletes eat bananas after a game or match because the fruit contains potassium, an electrolyte that helps the body stay hydrated. But bananas also contain magnesium, vitamin B6, and other nutrients that help boost production of digestion-enhancing mucous, as well as promote feelings of happiness and calm inside the body. Eating bananas also aids in the production of serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that regulate mood and sleeping patterns, and promote muscle relaxation and stress relief.
Green, Herbal and Chamomile Teas – Sometimes the best way to take the edge off is to have a nice cup of warm herbal or green tea. Green tea in particular contains an amino acid called ‘L-theanine’ that helps reduce stress and promote relaxation naturally.
Dark Chocolate & Cacao – Dark chocolate and cacao contain L-tryptophan, the neurotransmitter responsible for relaxing the brain. They also contain magnesium; a mineral recognized its ability to calm the nervous system. While eating chocolate is not the ideal way to correct a magnesium deficiency, adding a little extra dark chocolate or raw cacao into your diet can help calm your nerves and promote restfulness.
Brazil nuts – Said to be nature’s richest source of selenium, Brazil nuts are virtually unmatched in the nut world when it comes to relaxing the nervous system. According to a study out of the University of Wales, eating the equivalent of just three Brazil nuts daily can help significantly boost mood, promote feelings of calm, ease anxiety, and raise energy levels in as few as three months. Walnuts are a great alternative.
Spinach – In order for your brain and nervous system to function as they should, your body needs a high input of fat-soluble vitamins that contribute to the building up of the fatty layers that protect your nerves from damage. One such vitamin is K, which you can get in high amounts by simply eating spinach. Spinach also helps regulate the production of hormones in the nervous system to improve mood, sleeping patterns, and the body’s response to physical activity and stress.
Avocados – Because avocados contain Vitamins A, C and a nice round of the B vitamins, they can help to maintain proper function of neurotransmitters. The calcium and magnesium in avocados also help the body to calm and aid in achieving recuperative sleep, something that is necessary for the nervous system to function at peak efficiency.
Berries – Vitamin C helps to counteract stress hormones and has a calming effect on the nervous system. Berries rich in vitamin C include blueberries, strawberries, cherries and raspberries.
Asparagus – Historically known as a medicinal food, the Greeks believed asparagus was an herbal medicine which, among other things, would assists the immune and nervous systems.
Flax Seed (and Oil) – For the brain and nervous system, flax seed oil helps improve symptoms of depression, improves mental function and is beneficial in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Foods to Avoid
If you’re feeling nervous or anxious, avoid foods containing caffeine, alcohol, sugars, and processed ingredients.
Caffeine is a stimulant that can produce a jittery feeling that might amp up your anxiety.
You might think alcohol will take the edge off your mania, but as your body breaks down the chemical, anxiety and edginess are likely to return. Alcohol can cause dehydration, which also can affect your mood.
Sugar and processed foods do not necessarily contribute to anxiety and mania, but they contain chemicals to which many people are sensitive. Food sensitivities can affect both your physical health and your behavior. Stick with natural, organic, fresh ingredients.
Information for this article includes mindfood.com, hsphealth.com, and naturalnews.com.
Image: The Earth Diet