Following on from yesterdays anxiety update post, I thought the post that I would write today should be on how to support your nervous system. This post will focus on nutrition changes and lifestyle tweaks that you can include into your own lifestyle that will help to improve your mood and will limit some of the damage caused by anxiety and stress. Basically advice on supporting your nervous system. Below I have done bullet-points for a Nutritional category and a Lifestyle one too, so you can easily find both.
- B VITAMINS – These types of Vitamins are vital for the normal functioning of the nervous system and the production of Glucocorticoid Hormones like Cortisol. B5 Vitamin is especially great! You can get your B Vitamins from sources like; Beans, Eggs, Lentils, Whole Grains and Different Vegetables, Fish and Meat. Taking a Vitamin B supplement can also be beneficial.
- MAGNESIUM – This is great for the production of energy and neurotransmitters (including Serotonin and Dopamine.) When we are stressed this is used up quickly. You can find Magnesium in sources like; Greens (Spinach and Kale), Fish and Shellfish, Nuts and Seeds and Buckwheat Groats or Flour (If you didn’t know Buckwheat is a seed and not wheat.) You can also get Magnesium supplements which can also aid in a better nights sleep too.
- ASHWAGANDHA HERB – This herb is effective for reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety and also supports your overall mental wellbeing and focus. There have been studies done that has shown it’s amazing ability to reduce anxiety, depression and stress by 71% over an eight week period! That’s incredible and for that reason this herb is definitely worth looking into.
- PROTEIN – This is rich in Tryptophan and Zinc (both help boost Serotonin levels.) You can get good amounts of protein from your diet. Sources can be from; Eggs, Grains (like quinoa), Dairy Products like Cheese, Milk and Yoghurt, Seeds and Nuts, Beans and Legumes and Lean Meat, Poultry and Fish.
- ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS – Including Essential Fatty Acids in your diet ensures that friendly bacteria can stick to the gut wall and support your hormones and brain chemicals (including Serotonin.) Healthy fats are from sources like; Fish (salmon is my personal favourite), Plant Oils, Nuts and Seeds and Avocado.
- PROBIOTICS – The gut is known by most as the ‘second brain.’ It is the primary place for many hormones and neurotransmitters including GABA and Serotonin (the anti-anxiety and feel-good brain chemicals.) There have been many studies and research done on the good bacteria in the gut. Some studies have shown that good bacteria in the gut can change how adaptable we are to stresses in our environment. The hormone Melatonin is also affected by the balance of gut bacteria (needed for a healthy sleep and wake cycle.) Probiotics can be found in supplements or food. Probiotic powders are utilised more effectively by the body (some experts suggest.)
- QUALITY OF SLEEP – When you have a good and restful night sleep it regulates your body’s hormone and appetite production aswell as boosting your mood and your resilience to stress. So getting a good quality sleep each night is a very important part of maintaining a healthy nervous system. To help settle into a more ‘night-time mode’ make sure you turn down any bright lighting and use calm, dim lighting instead. (I have dim fairy-lights and I find them extremely relaxing before bed.) Limit your exposure to any blue light (From TV’s, Computers and Phones), this will support your sleepy hormone, Melatonin. I find that having a bedtime routine really helps settle me down for the night… A light bedtime snack (if needed), Cup of Chamomile tea, Essential Oil Candle on for abit before bed and Essential Oil sleep balm on wrists, then sometimes I just doze off to a dreamy audio like Sleepcasts From Headspace. Definitely find your own personal bedtime routine that suits you and winds you down for the night.
- DOWNTIME – Include quiet and restorative time during your evening. This is not being lazy, having some ‘me time’ is actually essential for our body and mind! It’s so easy to just keep going and be busy but make sure you schedule in some evenings each week where you have a break from all the busyness of the outside world and social media. Take a bath, make a nourishing meal and do something relaxing for yourself instead. Your body and mind will both thank you for it!