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Foods + Herbs that Support The Nervous System

The Nervous System (NS) plays a foundational role in the way our body responds and reacts to the world. It's made up of your brain, spinal cord, and a network of nerves that innervate every area of your body allowing for a chain of events to occur when it comes to helping the body relax, as well as respond to stress.

The Nervous System can be broken down into 2 parts:

  • Central- the brain, spinal cord

  • Peripheral- the nerves that extend from the central nervous system and innervate all parts of the body.

From there the Peripheral Nervous System can be broken down into:

Autonomic Nervous System- the neurons that help the body with reactions that happen on a subconscious level that can be broken down even further into sympathetic or parasympathetic NS. Think of this like the reactions that happen in the gut and hormones when you are relaxed vs. engaged. (More on this below).

Somatic Nervous System- the neurons that innervate the muscles and skin that help produce conscious reactions/ responses. Think of this when it comes to exercise- there's more of a conscious response on your end to help you with the movements, especially when you are just starting out.

When we think about the Nervous System the words "fight, flight, or freeze" are often the first thing that people think of. This is a reaction of the Sympathetic NS and is a plethora of symptoms that is seen as a reaction to stress.

Here's the kicker, here in America most people are operating in this Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)- causing a cascade of symptoms that can get worse overtime.

What you need to know about why that's a problem:

  • It takes ENERGY away from other functions/ systems of the body because the main priority is to produce stress hormone as a way to protect you.

  • When activated, it shuts down digestion and alters your gut microbiome, as well as interferes with your ability to absorb vital nutrients.

  • It also can impact brain health, alter sex hormones, minimize ability to build muscle, alters cellular turnover of the skin, and impacts you on a cellular level.

I'm not telling you you can never be in that SNS, you will be, instead I want you to make sure you're nourishing your body effectively to recover from those higher stress times.

(Btw if you haven't downloaded my stress support guide yet, you should! It goes into additional ways to support your body through stress.)

Foods for your NS:

  • QUALITY and NUTRIENT DENSE is the name of the game. Foods like regenerative meats, pasture raised eggs, and wild caught seafood will replenish the body with essential nutrients that are bioavailable/ easy to absorb. These foods are also rich in essential B vitamins that can be depleted during stress, and have fat soluble nutrients that are imperative for immune function and brain health.

  • Citrus: And really other foods rich in vitamin C are not only supportive to the immune system but can play a vital role in replenishing the vitamin C that is lost through stress. Vitamin C also helps with the structure of the neurons and overall health of neurons.

  • Omega 3's: Healthy fats play a vital role in synthesis of hormones, keeping the inflammatory response in balance, and supporting overall health of the brain. There have been studies that show poor memory and cognitive decline without adequate omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3's are rich in wild caught fatty fish, avocado's, olives/ olive oil, flax seed, chia seeds, walnuts (and other nuts).

  • Minerals: Magnesium plays a vital role in regulating muscle and nerve function, Zinc plays a role in helping with the neurotransmitter GABA (which helps with inhibiting the nerve response from persisting, allowing for reduced feelings of anxiety), Selenium helps with motor control, Potassium helps the nerves fire properly, and together with Sodium, helps power nerve impulses and helps with motor control.

(Minerals are consistently being depleted in the soil, it's a good idea to utilize mineral sea salt, take electrolytes, and/or add trace mineral drops into your water).

Herbs for your NS:

All of these herbs are adaptogens which help support your body through stress by calming the nervous system.

  • Reishi mushroom: a powerful adaptogen that is also known for it's ability to protect the nervous system and help regulate blood sugar.

  • Ashwagandha: An adaptogen you may have heard is supportive for sex hormone function, that's because this herb helps counteract the stress response which can allow for more relaxation, in turn, helping with sex hormone balance.

  • Holy basil or Tulsi: another adaptogen that is gentle on the body and can ease the SNS allowing for more of a relaxed state.

These foods and herbs are a great starting point to help you support your body. It should be mentioned, and highlighted, that food can only go so far. There will need to be lifestyle shifts and changes to ensure the body is able to feel safe, and come down from this fight or flight response to avoid burnout.

Everyone will be different in terms of what their specific needs are. Always consult before taking herbs/ supplements.

To discover your unique needs- book a Comprehensive Assessment!


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