BDNF stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a stimulatory protein that produces new brain cells and improves the power of existing brain cells. As you release BDNF, your genes “turn on” new brain cell growth, the more BDNF you have the quicker you learn, the more you remember, the less your brain ages and you actually reshape your brain.
It has long been established that a big reason for the lose of cognitive health in the elderly is their inactivity and we know that elderly folks who are socially active or do mental tasks such as crossword puzzles tend to have less symptoms of Alzheimer's and other cognitive near diseases.
Every stressful situation in your life, from work to home, slightly damages your brain cells. BDNF actually increases the plasticity of you brain so it actually minimizes the impact of stress of brain cells. Research links individuals with higher levels of BDNF to having less depression than people who had lower BDNF
It should come as no surprise that both the quality and duration of your sleep increases BDNF. The deeper stages of sleep, stages 3 and 4, increases BDNF release. Stage 3 and 4 are the deeper, restorative stages of sleep.
Both endurance and intense exercise increases BDNF, though longer duration activity tends to keep BDNF elevated for longer. I think any form of exercise, even a brisk walk, likely increases BDNF.
The brain health benefits of creatine are completely understated as creatine can provide a high quality inflammatory aid for brain health.
As established, stress decrease BDNF and studies like meditation to increases in BDNF. The interesting part is that researches estimated that certain area of the brain (pain tolerance, awareness, emotional control, happiness and awareness of how you think) all relate to increases in BDNF
Antioxidants will always be the buzz word but polyphenols found in coffee, green tea, dark chocolate, green veggies and berries all can increase BDNF
Get More Sun
Exposure to sun can increase your mood and improve the amount of BDNF you produce. Aim for 20 minutes of direct sunlight per day.
Go Low Carb High Fat
The use of a low carb, high fat diet can greatly decrease inflammation and help with overall brain health.
What To Avoid
Getting stressed block your ability to produce BDNF as well as increasing cortisol and shortening telomere length.
Always checking your phone and staying in a mode of always being “on” not only decreases digestion but it also decrease BDNF
Eating Sugar And Processed Foods:
Eating sugar decreases BDNF production and we know that it is linked to body fat gain.
Lack Of Relationships:
Being isolated socially leads to lower BDNF levels and contributes to depression. Go talk to someone. I work from home but I go to the gym a few times a week, I FaceTime customers randomly and I do whatever I can to ingrate with other people even at the grocery store.