Understanding and Strengthening Nervous System Health [Slideshow]

The health and function of the entire body is dependent on the health of the nervous system. A variety of factors, including diet, environmental toxins, stress and emotion can affect the nervous system. Watch this slideshow to understand how your nervous system works and how you can help it stay healthy.

See the slides below, or view the entire webinar with audio here: Nature’s Sunshine Webinars

You are Electric

Everything in your body is connected:

  • Nerve cells
  • Electrical impulses
  • Chemical messengers

The nervous system “wires” us together!

Your Brain is Complex

Your brain:

  • Houses 98% of your body’s neurons
  • Makes up only 2% of your body weight
  • Consumes 25% of your oxygen
  • Consumes as much as 20% of your sugar

Let’s take better care of our brain and nervous system!

You are What You Eat

This phrase particularly applies to the brain. A “junk food” diet short-circuits your mental attitude and your emotional responses creating a “trashy” brain. With the poor diet of most Americans, nervous system disorders like stress, depression, anxiety and insomnia are on the rise

Understanding the Nervous System

The nervous system consists of conscious and unconscious areas:

  • Brain
  • Spinal column
  • Peripheral Nerves

Conscious/Voluntary

  • Perceive through senses
  • Move skeletal muscles
  • Regulate conscious actions
Unconscious/Involuntary
  • Known as “Autonomic”
  • Keeps your heart beating
  • Digests your food
  • Regulates temperature
  • Makes sure you breathe
  • Takes care of everything you don’t have to think about!
  • Autonomic is divided into 2 parts

 

Autonomic Nervous Systeem

 

This is divided into the Sympathetic , which gets us charged or “wired up” and the Parasympathetic, which helps us wind down and relax.
The Sympathetic Nervous System — When we’re excited, stressed or scared, the sympathetic nervous system:
  • Tenses our muscles
  • Makes our heart beat faster
  • Moves blood away from digestive organs
  • Shuts down elimination
The Parasympathetic Nervous System — As we relax and unwind, the parasympathetic nervous system:
  • Moves blood to the digestive organs
  • relaxes muscles
  • Aids elimination
  • Initiates healing and self repair

Care For Your Brain and Nerves

The nervous system is probably the most nutritionally sensitive system in the body. Long before you feel physical conditions, you’ll notice mental and emotional conditions from poor nutrition, such as:

  • Fuzzy thinking (brain fog)
  • Absentmindedness
  • Mental confusion
  • Nervousness

These can lead to chronic insomnia, anxiety, depression and memory loss.

Other Facts about the brain:
  • The brain is 70% water,  so it is sensitive to dehydration
  • 50-60% of the “dry” weight of your brain is fat, 35% being omega 3
  • DHA is most abundant type of omega 3 in the brain
  • B-vitamins are essential to lower risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia

The Brain and Blood Sugar

Your brain consumes the most glucose of any organ. But, if you get too much sugar, you might experience:

  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness

If you don’t get enough sugar, you may experience:

  • Hypoglycemia
  • Mental confusion
  • Shakiness
  • Fatigue

 

But just because your brain needs sugar, doesn’t mean you should fill it with candy. Simple sugars contribute to brain fog. Complex sugars found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains stabalize blood sugar and nourish the brain. And try to include protein and good fats with your meals.

Toxins and the Nervous System

Toxins pose a significant threat to the nervous system. Some of the toxins we’re exposed to frequently include:

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Chemical solvents
  • Pesticides & herbicides
  • Excessive caffeine
  • Refined sugar
  • White flour
  • Hydrogenated oils

How Stress and Anxiety Affects the Brain

  • Stress response is healthy and normal – too much is hurtful
  • Sympathetic nerves are activated (wind-up)
  • Parasympathetic are inhibited (relax)
  • Blood shifted from digestive organs to muscles

Consequences of Long-term Stress

  • Most dangers aren’t physical, but feel like a threat to our survival
  • Continuous activation of the stress response can lead to “burn out”
  • Many people live with emotional and nervous exhaustion

5 Helpful Ways to Manage Our Stress

  1. Stop and Take a Deep breath — Fastest way to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This can restores calm and clear thinking. Breathing slow and deep counteracts the effects of stress
  2. Use Adaptogenic Herbs (Adaptamax) — Adaptogens mediate the output of stress hormones, which gives you clearer thinking and helps you feel calmer and more relaxed.
  3. B-Vitamins Help You Be Calm — B-vitamins are vital for the nervous system. When depleted, refined carbohydrates increase anxiety and nervousness. Look to whole grains and take a good anti-stress vitamin and mineral supplement like Nutri-Calm.
  4. Get Physical and Active — Stress hormones prime the body for action. Even taking a walk when stressed clears your head.
  5. Pamper Yourself — Pleasurable experience does more good for the body than a stressful one does harm. Pleasure enhances health, energy, and emotional well being. Get a massage, engage in a hobby or activity. Take a relaxing bath, listen to beautiful music, and surround yourself with pleasant fragrances.

Depression And the Nervous System

  • 18.8 million American adults suffer from depression
  • Anti-depressants are used to artificially increase serotonin
  • Complex sugars help increase serotonin naturally without the “letdown”

Age Related Memory Loss

  • Mostly associated with oxidative stress
  • The brain is sensitive to inflammation and free radicals
  • Feed the brain with antioxidant-rich foods
  • Thai-Go and Super Orac are other great ways to give the brain antioxidants
  • Brain Protex is another product designed for longevity and overall wellness that provides protection against free radical damage, and may help block the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of acetylcholine.