Like all body tissues, your nerves need the right nutrition to be healthy. Tune into this episode of Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s Your Healthy Kitchen to learn about the essential nutrients and foods that work together to keep your nervous system humming along for a lifetime.
Research shows that chronic inflammation can damage nerves, leading to an increased risk of nervous system disorders, including Parkinson’s, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke. But here’s the good news: you can significantly reduce the inflammation in your body every time you eat.
In general, highly processed foods that contain added sugars, unhealthy fats, and little to no nutrients, tend to trigger the release of inflammatory chemicals throughout the body.
On the other hand, whole foods – darkly colored vegetables and fruits, fresh herbs, nuts, spices, and some fish – contain powerful nutrients that fight inflammation.
Here are some of the herbs, spices, and more with excellent anti-inflammatory qualities:
- Healthy omega-3 fats
- Fatty fish
- Sea vegetables
- Dark purple, red, orange, and green vegetables
- Green and black tea
In addition to eating meals packed with anti-inflammatory chemicals, it is important to consume essential nutrients for a healthy nervous system.
For example, omega-3 fats, including those found in cold water fish, walnuts, and flax seeds support nerve cell communication and regeneration. B vitamins are essential to producing energy and manufacturing neurotransmitters—the chemicals that transmit information from one nerve cell to the next. Vitamin E helps to protect nerve cells from damage and studies suggest that vitamin D-3 may aid repair and growth.
More research is needed better understand the role vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients play in our nerve health. However, it’s clear that meals containing a variety of colorful plants, healthy fats, and whole, less processed foods, will help keep you and your nervous system healthy.