Cannabis is currently the only known plant that produces cannabinoids. This includes the psychoactive THC and cannabidiol (CBD), which does not get you high, and is quickly rising in popularity. These two cannabinoids work with what’s called the endocannabinoid system or the ECS, but cannabis isn’t the only supplement that interacts with your endocannabinoid system.
The ECS is an important communication network in the body. In various ways, the ECS delivers the signaling mechanisms that allow the body and the brain to synchronize. With the assistance of the ECS, the body and the brain can coordinate in response to their setting.
The ECS includes endocannabinoids, which are small signaling molecules, as well as the cell receptors with which they connect.
Cannabinoid receptors are found on almost every one of your body’s organs. They’re also present on immune cells, navigating your body’s response to illness. This means that an imbalance in your body’s ECS can have wide-ranging health effects.
Both diet and lifestyle are major influences on the overall health of your ECS. Below are three ways to support the endocannabinoid system to ensure that your ECS is healthy and thriving:
Have you ever felt the “runner’s high?” For years it was widely speculated that endorphins were thought to be the culprit. However, evidence shows support that exercise increases the production of an endocannabinoid called anandamide, otherwise known as “the bliss molecule.”
Exercise and physical activity are the best ways to enhance the ECS.
Increase Your Healthy Fats
Physical activity releases endocannabinoids, but diet is also very important for producing these molecules. Endocannabinoids are products of fat. This means that consuming more healthy fats is vital for the health of the ECS as a whole.
Polyunsaturated fats have shown to be especially beneficial for the endocannabinoid system, particularly omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fish, algae, pasture-raised eggs, shellfish, flaxseed, hemp, and walnuts. Omega-3s found in fish and algae are easier for the human body to metabolize than those found in seeds and nuts.
Food and exercise are the two principal ways to improve your ECS. However, in order to properly digest your food, it’s important to reduce anxiety.
When your body is in a “fight or flight” state, digestion and immune function tend to slow down. So not only are you less apt to fully process your nutrients from food, but you also open yourself up to infection, which throws your whole body out of whack.
Whether it’s stresses related to the office or you’re simply managing the anxiety that comes from fighting a chronic health condition, utilizing stress management techniques is fundamental for the health of your body as a whole.
The following are some simple methods that are known to reduce stress:
- Light exercise
- Taking slow and deep breaths