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Your nervous system is the first thing to be affected by stress, tension and emotion. Therefore, it makes sense to minimize this destructive influence in your life to the degree possible. If you truly hate your job—find another one. If your partner is a genuine jerk—say “so long.” If you honestly can’t stand where you live—move. Individuals who look for solutions rather than complain about problems are generally healthier than their counterparts. Sometimes the solution isn’t a change in the situation, however, but a change in attitude. Mastering the ability to cope with adversity and stay motivated is really the key to feeling satisfied. We refer to people that can do this as having “nerves of steel,” but in actuality, they have nerves that are healthy largely due to their conscious effort to remain positive, focused, inspired and disciplined. (See “Emotional Health” under Health Concerns). In addition to the mental and emotional aspects of nerve health, there are physical factors to consider, too, and the primary one is good nutrition.
Emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains since they are long in nerve-loving magnesium, plus coldwater fish like salmon for its abundance of Omega-3 essential fatty acids as well as magnesium. Dairy products offer support for the nerves, too, since they are a rich source of calcium, but give preference to low-fat forms like yogurt, skim milk, and mozzarella cheese. Additionally, seven key supplements really go to the mat for your nerves to do battle with stress.
• Essential Fatty Acids—EFAs benefit every cell of the body including nerve cells, and they aid in the transmission of nerve impulses. Omega-3 EFAs like DHA and EPA are especially important, yet food sources of them are very limited.
• Calcium—Calcium is important for nerve impulses, especially in association with magnesium.
• Magnesium—The number one supplement for calm nerves! What calcium is to the bones, magnesium is to the nerves. It is vital for nerve impulses, and a deficiency causes irritability and nervousness.
• B-Complex —The 11 B vitamins are often referred to as the stress vitamins since they are vital for the health of the nervous system. Food sources of the B-complex include brown rice, whole grains, leafy vegetables and brewer’s yeast.
• Lecithin—Lecithin is packed with choline, which is necessary for the proper transmission of nerve impulses from the brain through the central nervous system, and it protects and repairs nerves. Take 1 to 2 tablespoons of granules per day or 1200 to 2400 mg in softgel form.
• Chamomile —Anyone in need of destressing should try chamomile in the form of a tea, dietary supplement, or essential oil.
• Taurine —High concentrations of the amino acid taurine are found in the central nervous system, and it is vital for efficient utilization of magnesium and calcium, two requisite minerals for healthy nerves.
Anything that stresses your nerves is a negative influence but many of them simply can’t be avoided. However, the following three stressors do substantial damage, and averting them is well within your control.
• Tobacco—People say they smoke to steady the nerves, but it does just the opposite. Smoking is a sure way to damage the nerves since it constricts the tiny capillaries that bring nutrients to them.
• Obesity—Extra poundage aggravates nerve disorders and tension. Make the goal to lose weight realistic by aiming for one or two pounds per week. Sure and steady wins the race.
• Soft drinks—As discussed above, magnesium is a key mineral for nerve health. Soda contains phosphorous, which binds up magnesium and makes it unavailable to the body, so you’re smart to look for healthy alternatives. A refreshing one to try is 4 ounces of ginger ale with 2 ounces of pomegranate juice, 2 ounces of orange juice, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Yum!
Below are five treats for jangly nerves that are time and money well spent in pursuit of good health.
• Chiropractic Adjustments—The central nervous system (CNS) is composed of the brain and spinal cord, which originates right below the brain stem, and the nerves radiate out from the spinal cord. The spinal cord actually provides a means of communication between the brain and the nerves. Regular chiropractic adjustments ensure that this communication remains open and free flowing, which greatly contributes to your health and well-being.
• Reflexology—Wear acupressure sandals for a short period of time every day to clear reflexology meridians. Or massage the reflexology point on your foot, located beneath the fourth toe between the ball of the foot and the arch. Better yet, book a ½ hour appointment with a local reflexologist. You’ll discover a wonderful, healthy treat for the body that requires no effort from you whatsoever!
• Massage Therapy—We tend to associate massage with high-priced luxury spas of the rich and famous, but that image just isn’t the truth. A half or full hour massage once a month, or more often if possible, is one of the healthiest things you can do for your body. It’s not a luxury—it’s a necessity if it helps you remain productive and active in a stressed-out society.
• Sea Salt Baths—Grab a half hour for yourself and sink into a warm tub filled with aromatic sea salts. Sea salt contains many minerals that help relax the body as you steep in them, and this in turn may enable you to sleep better, too. Sea salt mixed with essential oil of lavender is especially soothing to frazzled nerves.
• Hobbies—Many people find that gardening, crossword puzzles, painting, woodworking and other activites that they enjoy reduce tension and give them a real sense of satisfaction.