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12 Ways to Keep your Brain and Nervous System Healthy

illustration of brain and cervical spinal cord and nerves

You have lots of things that stress you out in your day-to-day life. We all do. The key is trying to manage it all and somehow find some balance and joy. I hope you discover something that will spark some hope and excitement in this post. Have fun with these 12 ways to keep your brain and nervous system healthy.

Don’t forget to check out Part 2: How to Reset and Heal a Dysregulated Nervous System for 8 more ways to keep your nervous system calm and healthy.


There are generally 3 main categories when referring to the nervous system as a whole. 

1. The central nervous system which is made up of the brain and spinal cord.

2. The peripheral nervous system which is all of the other nerves in your body. This includes cranial nerves, nerve roots that come from your spine out to your arms and legs (think sciatica, etc), and all the other nerves that go literally everywhere else.

3. The autonomic nervous system which is made up of the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system. See this post for more on the stress response.

12 ways to keep your brain and nervous system healthy

1. Good nutrition

a brain made out of colorful whole food.

I know everyone says to have a healthy diet and it will solve all of your problems right? I definitely won’t tell you that but it is very important. Your nervous system needs certain nutrients to function at its best. Here are some of the most important whole foods to include in a well-balanced diet. 

  • Fatty fish (contain great fatty acids).
  • Healthy fats – like avocado, butter, and coconut oil. Olive oil is good but can be adulterated by other ingredients so be careful. 
  • Green tea and herbal teas – gives great antioxidant support which is neuroprotectant.
  • ORGANIC whole grains in moderation. Non-organic versions are riddled with glyphosate.
  • Leafy greens – contain many vitamins and minerals that are difficult to get elsewhere. I think one of the easiest ways to get these nutrients is with a green juice or smoothie. You can also add different extracts, collagen powder, MCT oils, etc in a beverage like this and be “done” for the day with your nutrient requirements. How awesome is that? I like to add some fruit and give it to my little one! Makes me feel like supermom.

By taking a good look at this list, notice that a mediterranean diet will meet many of these requirements.

2. Bad nutrition

burger, diet coke, fries, donuts, etc to represent foods that are bad when you want to keep your brain and nervous system healthy.

There are a few ingredients that are just explicitly bad for your nervous system. Eating these foods is a good way to NOT keep your brain and nervous system healthy. Read the book Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Russell Blaylock on Amazon for more information. It’s free with an audible membership. I’m sure you could get it at your local public library also. 

These ingredients that are bad for your brain basically overexcite your neurons (nerve cells) to death. They literally KILL your brain cells and some brain functions and yet they are ubiquitous in our society. You have to try very very hard to avoid artificial sweeteners and dyes. 

Watch out for the following:

  • Aspartame: This one has been around for decades. It causes increased cravings for sweet tasting foods and drinks. It breaks down into an amino acid that causes neuro symptoms like numbness, tingling, and pain. Some studies showed that it caused brain tumors and seizures in mice. Aspartame also changes neurochemistry which leads to problems with mood, addiction, and sleep. It is commonly found in toothpastes, mints, gums, diet drinks, and even koolaid and other kid related beverages! What the heck? You’ve really got to read your labels with this one. It’s everywhere.
  • Sucralose/Splenda: This one reduces your good bacteria in the gut. That messes with our brains and immune systems in a few ways even though it seems unrelated. This is interesting. It also decreases the amount of nutrients you can absorb by about 50%. I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly trying to sneak in nutrients on a daily basis. I need as much absorption as possible and I imagine you do too. The bad news keeps on coming as it has also been shown to damage the hippocampus (memory storage) in the brain. 
  • Any color/# combo (Red, Yellow, Blue, etc): Artificial dyes cause abnormal electrical activity in the brain and inflame the gut lining. It is easy to see this in the pediatric community with changes in mood. Like easily crying, anger, hostility, temper tantrums, etc. See this article for more info.
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate): This one is in many/all processed foods. You may not be able to identify it well because it is now called “natural flavoring” on ingredient labels. Check this out for all of the sneaky names
  • Aluminum: You may find this in your pots/pans or foil used while cooking. It is also a common ingredient in deodorants. When aluminum gets into your body and combines with fluoride (toothpaste or tap water) it can cross the blood brain barrier. That means it can get directly into your brain. 

You may be able to guess but what is seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients on autopsy? Yep, aluminum. I’m personally pretty good with the fluoride issue and have been for years thankfully but the cooking issue has been more difficult. I loved cooking with foil. Yikes! I’ve actually switched out to parchment paper in the air fryer and oven and it’s been a game changer!!! I just order it on amazon.

3. Regular physical activity

Getting your heart rate up for 30 mins per day will qualify as regular exercise. Doesn’t matter what you choose, just MOVE! Choose something that you don’t absolutely hate and try to have some fun. 

A regular practice of yoga is a great consideration because it includes physical strength training, balance and also an important part of yoga is changing your breathing rate by taking lots and lots of deep breaths. This is amazing for nervous system health by using the vagus nerve to activate the paraysmpathetics. 

Exercise is not only great for physical health but also gives you a massive boost in mental health as well. Here’s a research article about this for my science lovers.

4. Brain training helps keep your brain and nervous system healthy

a brain lifting weights. hilarious

This is an amazing way to increase cognitive function, brain health, reduce memory loss, and more. 

We talked about this nun study in chiropractic school and I found it fascinating. Basically, they found that because the nuns had to continually learn new subjects to keep their school running, they could have advanced Alzheimer’s lesions and yet no sign of dementia. Learning something new will create new brain cells! See the hobby section below. 

You could also try some of these simple ways to get those electrical signals firing:

  • A crossword puzzle
  • Drive a different route home (without GPS)
  • Meditation
  • Math problems by hand
  • Play Chess
  • Do a puzzle

5. Get enough sleep

Sounds simple right? We all know that sleepless nights affect our everyday life negatively. I won’t go into too much detail here but I just want to give you a friendly reminder to make sleep a priority. You know it’s a huge key for the health of your nervous system. Don’t just say you need more sleep…actually get some! Studies show people that sleep 7-9 hours per night are healthier and more capable in basically every meaningful way.

6. Stress Management can keep your brain and nervous system healthy

2 women and 2 men laughing as a way to keep your brain and nervous system healthy by decreasing stress
Get a hobby 

Learning something new will be even better because it will increase cognitive function as well as add some fun to your life. FUN is very stress relieving isn’t it? Remember fun? LOL. Try to have some even if it isn’t by learning a new hobby and just feel the muscle tension leave your body.


One of my favorite ways to decrease stress is by laughing. Think of something that is super funny to you and then go YouTube it. Mine is the “F#$K your couch” skit that Dave Chappell did years ago. I have NO idea why, but that is frickin hilarious to me!! 

Relaxation techniques

Get out in nature somehow. Even if it is only for 10 minutes during the winter. I live really close to the beach so I love going there and putting my bare feet in the sand and doing some deep breathing. I also like thinking of everything I’m grateful for. Even if your setting isn’t like the ocean, getting out from under fluorescent lighting and outside is hugely beneficial for the human body and every part of the nervous system.


Using music can play a central role in boosting your mood. If you love music, play a song that makes you feel good and shut off that fight or flight response.

Find more stress management techniques with my free ebook.

7. Decrease external stimuli

Let me ask you a question. How do you feel after watching the news? Or consuming any type of media for that matter. Stressed? Doomed? Overwhelmed? This type of content is designed to drive the right (anxious side) of your brain. This is one of the worst things you can do if you want to have a healthy nervous system. Can you believe I said that? I know, I know, it sounds terrible because you want to stay informed. Just try to keep it to a minimum and your brain as well as the rest of the body will thank you!

Oh no, what about social media? I think we all have mixed feelings here. I think it can be a source of information and good news depending on the algorithm that you set up for yourself. However, if part of your daily routine includes controversy, competition, comparison, lowered self esteem, bad diagnoses, etc, etc, etc…take a break! Just see how you feel after a few days without it. You can also eliminate the people or groups that stress you out and follow scrapbookers and decorators like I do! 

8. Manage stress hormones to keep your brain and nervous system healthy

Lab work with cortisol checked

Yet another way that chronic stress can affect multiple parts of the body. When you are stressed your adrenal glands start pumping and increasing cortisol levels. See this article for more. A simple yet effective technique to turn the volume down on your stress hormones is to take cold showers. They have been shown to produce feel good endorphins as well as decrease cortisol. They also may help you lose a little weight as well. Pretty cool huh?

There are a lot of simple techniques to engage in with supplementation and adrenal health as well. See this post and #12 on this list for more . 

9. Maintain or get a healthy immune system

When we aren’t fighting constant infections our nervous system can stay in good health much easier. As I mentioned above, getting sunlight in your daily life is a great way to boost immunity. Your body produces Vitamin D when your skin is in the sun which is JUST the best way to get healthy. 

You could even double up on stress reduction techniques and do your exercise routine outdoors. This will change your sensory input and get you so much closer to living a healthy life. Get some sunlight! It really does play a vital role in healing. 

10. Somatic nervous system

This is another part of your nervous system that encompasses sensory neurons and motor neurons. Think of it as the part that controls your body. This network of nerves is best kept healthy with myofascial work and stretching. You can find some amazing practitioners to help with this arena like chiropractors and massage therapists. Also, look this up on youtube and you will find some interesting exercises to try. 

11. Manage chronic disease

Chronic conditions like diabetes, autoimmunity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even anxiety can greatly affect the health of your nervous system.

Autoimmune conditions like Multiple Sclerosis actually destroy the myelin sheath. This is the protective “coating” around the spinal cord.

Diabetes has a direct effect on both CNS and PNS with peripheral neuropathy in the feet and hands. It is also well known to lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s has been called type 3 diabetes for many years because blood sugar dysregulation leads to neurological damage. 

High blood pressure changes the blood flow through your blood vessels and can can cause a whole host of damage. It is definitely something to get on top of as soon as possible.

Parkinson’s disease is another one that damages the brain in a sense. It happens when not enough dopamine is produced. We all seek out dopamine hits in our lives but at some point the dopamine production can’t keep up and we burn out. I’ve heard some amazing testimonials from patients doing functional neurology with this disorder so check it out.

These are just a few conditions that can affect your nervous system. Please seek out a qualified practitioner to help you manage or get rid of these conditions! There is a lot of hope out there for you!

12. Supplements can help keep your brain and nervous system healthy

Spoonful of supplements with whole foods in the background as a way to keep your brain and nervous system healthy

As I mentioned above, there are many nutritents that our body needs to function properly. These are a few specific supplements to keep your brain and nervous system healthy:

  • Vitamin B complex: B vitamins are arguably the most important!
  • Omega 3’s: See this post for more information.
  • Adaptogenic herbs: See this post for a couple of my favorites.
  • Find a doc that utilizes standard process products for a specific formulation.

Don’t forget to check out Part 2: How to Reset and Heal a Dysregulated Nervous System for 8 more ways to keep your nervous system calm and healthy.

Final thoughts:

It’s my sincere hope that you found something here that helped you and decreased your stress levels! Please let me know how I can help you further along your journey. And, please subscribe to my email list if you would like more content like this. I would also LOVE it if you would share this with someone that you think would benefit from it. 

I’m so proud of you for seeking out answers and getting better than you were yesterday! Talk to you soon. 

Dr. Bri


The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Bri, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked.

The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of its authors. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. 

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