3 Vegan Foods That Calm Your Nerves
What you eat or leave out of your diet greatly impacts your state of health and your nervous system. While the raw vegan diet in itself is very calming to the nervous system, part-time or not-so-raw vegans can focus on three foods to benefit their nervous system and feel calm and healthy.
Feeling nervous is characterized by being apprehensive, agitated alarmed, anxious or high-strung. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect 18.1 percent of adults in the United States (approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54). When you feel nervous, you are dealing with the central nervous system.
Your nervous system is made up of all the nerve cells inside your body. It is how you communicate with the outside world. The nervous system regulates mechanisms inside our body that take in information through your senses, process that information and triggers reactions, such as making your muscles move or causing you to feel pain. Metabolic processes are also controlled by the nervous system.
The nervous system is comprised of two parts -- the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system includes the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, where the other nerves in the body are part of the peripheral nervous system.
More: 3 Solid Reasons To Ditch The Keto Diet And Go Vegan
Your Nervous System and Brain Runs On Glucose
Your nervous system brain and muscles are fueled by glucose. Glucose, a form of sugar, is the primary source of energy for every cell in the body. If you're not eating enough of the glucose the nervous system needs to run optimally, this can leave you feeling anxious, apprehensive or high strung, or inexplicably nervous.
“The brain is dependent on sugar as its main fuel,” says Vera Novak, MD, PhD, an HMS associate professor of medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “It cannot be without it.”
“Because the brain is so rich in nerve cells, or neurons, it is the most energy-demanding organ, using one-half of all the sugar energy in the body. Brain functions such as thinking, memory, and learning are closely linked to glucose levels and how efficiently the brain uses this fuel source,” according to a report out of Harvard Medical School Department of Neurobiology.
When babies are born, the glucose that their brain requires is readily available as breast milk, which is nearly 100% sugar. As we grow and age the developing brain’s need for glucose should come from eating sufficient amounts of fruit and vegetables.
American’s Don’t Eat Enough Fruit
According to the USDA, while Americans consume more vegetables and fruit than in 1970, the average U.S. diet still falls short of the recommendations in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for these major food groups. Americans, on average, consumed more than the recommended amounts of meat, eggs, and nuts and grains in 2014. Here are three vegan foods that are highly effective at calming your nervous system:
Lemon balm – Of all the wild foods/herbs in nature Lemon balm is the most magical. Lemon balm comes from the mint family -- it is a wild food that likely grown in your back or front yard. Lemon balm is highly affective at calming an overactive nervous system, taking down viruses in the body such as Epstein Barr Virus and Shingles as well as easing tooth and nerve pain that would otherwise lead to root canals. Lemon balm is easily available in a tea or tincture and can be used liberally to calm your nervous system and strengthen the immune system.
Melons – When we think of melons, we think of a sweet treat that we enjoy during the summer months and hardly look at melons as the miracle food that they are. Melons are in a sense, pre-digested by nature. This makes them a highly assimilable food that can quickly rehydrate the body and feed the cells. Because of the melon’s high digestability, the body can work fast to get glucose and mineral salts to a wired nervous system and calming it.
Sweet potatoes – the sweet potato is a low glycemic and highly nourishing food that is also a favorite of the nervous system. Sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidants like beta-carotene, as well as vitamins and minerals. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C & E and remarkably, some varieties of sweet potato contain vitamin D. The humble sweet potato is vegan and has been hailed as an anti-stress food, known to relax the muscles, ease anxiety, and balance cognitive function.
Whether you’re vegan or simply eating a plant-based diet, it never hurts to add nervous system calming foods into your daily regimen. As you increase more nervous system calming foods into your diet, you will feel less wired and better able to function daily.