Your nervous system plays a vital role in keeping you happy and healthy.
It comprises billions of cells that carry tiny electrical pulses containing vital information to and from your brain and around your body.
Your nervous system governs many of your body’s essential functions, including your mood, sleep, emotions and hormones, along with your response to illness or infection.
If your nervous system is healthy, it can help you maintain the optimal balance for good mental, physical and emotional health. However, if it misfires, it can leave you feeling out of sorts and potentially lead to a host of severe long-term health issues.
Here, we take a closer look at the vital role your nervous system plays and how you can keep it healthy.
WHAT IS THE NERVOUS SYSTEM?Your nervous system is a complex network of cells that help your organs, muscles and other parts of your body communicate with each other. It reacts to changes inside the body and external environment, using electrical and chemical signals to send and receive instructions to your cells about how to respond.
When your nervous system functions as it should, it ensures your body can easily cope with many of the everyday activities we take for granted, such as eating, breathing, walking and talking. It also controls some of your more complex processes like thinking, reading, memory and emotions.
However, if your nervous system doesn’t function properly, it can lead to a host of problems, including stress or anxiety, confusion or memory loss, or more serious conditions like epilepsy, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
THE EFFECTS OF STRESS ON YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEMYour nervous system is controlled by a gland in your brain called the hypothalamus, which regulates the hormones and electrical pulses your body releases in response to stress.
These hormones and signals trigger your ‘fight or flight’ response – your body’s natural reaction to changes in its environment – and is designed to protect your body from danger.
If your body is under stress, your heart races, your breath quickens, you become more alert, and your muscles get ready to take action. Once the danger has passed, your stress response will end, and your hypothalamus will flood your body with hormones to calm you down.
However, if your stress response keeps firing, it can cause several issues, including:
- Increased headaches
- Sleep problems
- High blood pressure
- Weakened immune system
- Heart or breathing problems
NATURAL WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEMLike with all things related to your health and wellbeing, your diet, fitness level, and lifestyle will go a long way to supporting a healthy nervous system. Avoiding stressful situations, learning to switch off and relax after work, getting plenty of fresh air and exercise and doing things you enjoy can all help to reduce the impact of stress on your body and keep your nervous system firing as it should.
So, too, can cutting back on your guilty pleasures. Nicotine, excess sugar and caffeine can all over-stimulate your nervous system and cause damage over the long-term. Alcohol, meanwhile, acts as a depressant and can slow down your body’s natural nervous response.
Aromatherapy can also help you relax and unwind in times of stress. Essential oils are renowned for their healing powers and the calming and positive influence they can have on your emotional and mental wellbeing. So, why not take a bath with a few drops of your favourite essential oil, indulge yourself in an aromatherapy massage, or practice mindfulness or yoga while burning a soy wax candle. Some of our best oils for supporting the nervous system include calming bergamot essential oil, uplifting clary sage essential oil and relaxing ylang ylang essential oil.
When it comes to what you eat, cleaning up your diet will pay dividends.
Lots of fresh fruit and veg will provide you with a wide array of vitamins and minerals that support good nervous system health.
Citrus fruits and berries, for example, are packed with natural antioxidants that help prevent damage to your nerve cells and reverse the effects of oxidative stress.
And oily fish, like herring, salmon and sardines, are rich in nutrients that promote good brain health, including Vitamin D and Omega Essential Fatty Acids.
However, even if you lead the healthiest of lifestyles, the day-to-day strains of modern living can still leave you feeling stressed, tense and anxious.
While exercise and eating well can go a long way to supporting healthy nervous system function, good quality, natural supplements can help to top up any shortfall.
Nutri-Calm is our key system product for the nervous system. It can help you to stay soothed and settled during times of pressure and in physically stressful conditions that can deplete the body of vital vitamins.
It contains a unique, specially formulated yeast and dairy-free blend rich in natural sources of Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins to help you de-stress and reduce tiredness and fatigue.