Our nervous system is a crucial part of the body and performs a variety of important functions from digestion, heartbeat, respiration, maintaining body temperature, and responding to pain amongst others. The nerves and cells of the nervous system carry the messages from the brain to the spinal cord and vice versa. To prevent nerve health issues, it is important to take care of your nervous system by staying active, minimising stress and taking ample rest. (Also read: Covid survivors may develop this nerve complication 90 days post recovery; check out symptoms)
“Our nervous system can be compared to a complex network of fibers which can be compared with a computer. The central nervous system, consisting of brain and spinal cord is the central processor unit (CPU) which process and modulates myriads of information and instructs the effector organs for functioning. Peripheral nerves are like electric wire connecting millions of nerve cells with one another. Each nerve fiber has a central core called axons and a sheath called myelin. Myelin sheath insulates the nerve and also plays a major role in maintaining nerve health,” Dr. Arabinda Mukherjee, Ex-Professor of Neurology at the Vivekananda Institute of Medical Sciences, Kolkata and past President of IEA (West Bengal Chapter), Association of Neuroscientists of Eastern India tells HT Digital. Dr Mukherjee also talked about measures to keep nerve diseases at bay.
Dr Mukherjee says the nervous system fails to perform its functions when the actions of the nerves are blocked or interrupted and that lack of awareness about these simple functions of nerves and nerve health in general can result in more nerve health issues.
A study titled “The burden of neurological disorders across the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2019” by India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative Neurological Disorders Collaborators found out in 2019, the predominant contributor to total deaths caused by neurological disorders in India was stroke 68%. That said, nerve health issues can be controlled at an early stage if not completely avoided by adopting simple lifestyle changes.
Keep your nervous system active with exercise or meditation a part of your daily routine
Human brain consists of billions of cells, but only a small proportion of it are used for our daily activities The dormant cells form a reserve but if not used for long periods they degenerate. Avoidance of stress is important for nerve health. Alternatively, solving a puzzle or playing mind games may help you refresh. Participating in such activities actuates our nerve receptors to respond to the slightest of actions. This aids in fighting extreme conditions such as paralysis, stroke, memory loss, etc. It also improves flexibility, resilience, and memory.
Strengthen the nerves and cells with the nutrition essential to carry information
Our nerves need a mix of minerals, proteins and vitamins to perform its function. Foods like chia seeds, cauliflower, brown rice, sprouts, almonds, and seafood improve nerve transmissions.
– Calcium and potassium: They regulate the electrical impulses produced and carried by the nerves. Lack of the two can lead to nerve dysfunction. Foods rich in calcium include milk, eggs and leafy vegetables whereas potassium can be consumed through bananas, pomegranates and oranges.
– Vitamin B12: It is essential to prevent wearing out of myelin sheath, a protective coating around each nerve. It acts as an insulation for the transmitting nerve, Absence of Vitamin 12 in diet is common specially in vegetarians. Low Vitamin 12 in blood cause neuropathy characterized by loss of nerve functions
– Dark chocolate: It contains an amino acid called tryptophan which transfers information from one nerve ending to another.
Give your brain ample rest with adequate sleep
With a vastly changing lifestyle and the trend of longer nights increasing, the importance of a good 7-8 sleep at a suitable time is diminishing. Sound sleep directly impacts our physical, mental and emotional well-being. Lack of sleep may lead to chronic conditions which affect our reflexes and our capacity to think, react and communicate. Adequate sleep ensures that our nervous system works well, facilitating ease and convenience in learning and remembering.