Have you ever noticed how eating certain foods can relax you or get you wired?
This comes back to the physiological changes that food has on our nervous system. The health of your nervous system is vital for maintaining all your body’s functions and avoiding a range of potentially serious health problems.
Stress on the nervous system
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Modern-day living causes long term stress for most people that can have a serious effect on their central nervous system, especially if they are not taking proactive steps to counteract this perpetual negative effect.
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 be in the form of anxiety, panic, or depression, which depletes your energy reserves and potentially even harms the other systems of your body.
Counteract the damage
One way to help counteract this damage, 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.
When your nerves are frayed, we normally head for our comfort go to foods.
A large serving of starches, trans fat and processed sugar is what many comfort foods contain, and they might make you feel better in the short term, though unfortunately the long-term solutions might mean a constant supply of your go-to foods to keep you happy.
So the best foods to eat to calm the nerves are:
A wide range of fresh produce in your diet will help to calm your nerves.
Fruit and veg
Fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential to your overall health. A deficiency of nutrients in some cases can cause mood changes, and lead to anxiety.
Include protein in your diet to reduce anxiety, especially in your first meal of the day. Lean protein sources include chicken, beef, fish and eggs.
Starting your day with protein gives you energy to balance your blood sugar level, to stop you feeling anxious, stressed and depressed.
Protein also helps your body make hormones – including those that regulate stress – and some of the amino acids found in protein help you produce brain chemicals that regulate your emotions.
Omega-3 rich food
Eating foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and seeds have been proven to fuel the neurons in the brain that prevent and actually treat depression.
And finally, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Water is an essential part of living, and some estimates place the number of people living in a constant state of dehydration to be as high as 75%!
Dehydration may affect our emotions in a variety of ways. Hormones are unable to reach their destined locations because of poor blood flow. Muscles may tense up.
Your brain may experience weakness or changes as a result of water loss. Remember, the brain is 75% water.
And even if you’re not dehydrated, it is sometimes useful to go and grab a glass of water whenever you’re feeling anxious or nervous.
Drinking water can be soothing, and often your body will benefit from the added hydration during times of stress.
Connect with Expert Dean Griffiths