If you’re anything like me – you’ve spent countless hours researching nerve health and looking for the best medicines and treatments available. You know all of the prescription medications on the market – and you’ve probably even tried a lot of them.
Sometimes I get so caught up in searching for the latest remedies or nerve boosting medicines that I overlook the one that’s hiding in plain sight: food. Food can be a powerful form of medicine – even for something like unhealthy nerves.
Your nerves are under constant threat. Whether it be oxidative stress that damages and kills nerve cells or persistent wearing down of nerves from excessive amounts of unhealthy foods like sugar, there are a variety of things that can weaken and kill your nerves. To protect against these threats – or to heal and rebuild in the event that damage has already occurred – your body needs certain nerve-boosting vitamins and nutrients.
These include things like b-complex vitamins (especially B12), Vitamin D, Magnesium, Zinc, Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and more. So – what are some of the best foods for boosting the health of your nerves? Here’s a list of 40 nerve-boosting snacks and foods to add to your grocery list:
Seeds & Nuts
When eaten in moderation, seeds and nuts make great snack foods and can deliver important vitamins and nutrients to your nerves. WebMD even describes nuts as “one of the most balanced foods on the planet”! They are often a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin B12. In addition to their nerve-boosting benefits, they have been shown to help lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, improve blood sugar and even promote weight loss! Here are 10 types of seeds & nuts you should be snacking on everyday:
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
Beans & Grains
Need a healthy side dish for dinner? Certain beans and grains can provide a real boost to your nerves by fueling them with essential b-complex vitamins, magnesium, zinc and more. Here are the 8 best beans and grains for your nerves:
- Black beans
- Navy beans
- Garbanzo beans
- Pinto beans
- Red kidney beans
Dark, leafy greens can be miracle workers when it comes to nerve discomfort. So, next time you want a quick but healthy meal, reach for one of these nerve-supporting vegetables:
- Green Peas
Herbs & Spices
Natural herbs and spices are a great way to increase the flavor of almost any meal – and they can even help reduce nerve discomfort and deliver important nutrients to your nerves. Try working these herbs and spices into your next meal:
- Fresh Basil
When it comes to healthy nerves – vitamin B12 is king. This important vitamin helps build up and repair the myelin sheath – a protective layer of fat around your nerves. A strong myelin sheath means stronger, more resilient nerves. So what’s a good food source of this important vitamin? Fish is hands down one of the best sources of B12.
Not only that – it’s also rich in healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce nerve pain and inflammation. So whether you catch them with your own reel or pick them up at the grocery store, make sure to include some of these as a regular part of your diet:
Meat can be a great source of vitamin B6, one of the b-complex vitamins that is critical for optimal nerve health. Do your nerves a favor and cook up your favorite recipe with one of these staple meat products in your next meal:
Did you know there are compounds known as free radicals roaming around inside your body right now? Now, these free radicals aren’t necessarily bad – but if left unchecked, they can harm or even kill cells – leading to a variety of negative health outcomes and chronic conditions. Enter berries! Berries are a rich source of antioxidants, which seek out and neutralize free radicals. So whether you eat them as a snack or as a side in a meal – make sure you’re eating these antioxidant-rich berries often!
Want to start each day out with a little boost to your nerves? Make one of these staple breakfast foods a regular part of your breakfast routine:
- Fortified Cereal
Water does a body good – and that includes your nerves. Keeping yourself hydrated helps regulate body temperature, improve circulation, reduce muscle spasms (which can pull on nerves and trigger intense nerve discomfort) as well as reduce inflammation!
About the Author
Dr. Don Kennedy is a board certified family physician with special training in geriatrics and regenerative medicine and has practiced for over 35 years. He is the son of a professional bull rider, an avid surfer, author, Professor at Stetson University, and grandfather.
Dr. Kennedy lives in Central Florida with his wife of 35 years, still sees patients daily and surfs (pretty good for a 68 years old)!