Meet the brain’s personal assistant

Maintaining BDNF levels is essential for keeping your brain in optimal condition, ultimately helping you stay physically and mentally healthy.

Published : Jul 07, 2024 14:30 IST - 3 MINS READ

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: A vital protein, known as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, helps create and maintain new neurons in the brain.
REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: A vital protein, known as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, helps create and maintain new neurons in the brain. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

REPRESENTATIVE IMAGE: A vital protein, known as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, helps create and maintain new neurons in the brain. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The human brain is like a super gym that continually improves at learning new things, retains information, recovers from injuries, and helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases. This is largely thanks to a vital protein known as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which helps create and maintain new neurons in the brain.

BDNF acts like a happiness elixir. When its levels are high, we feel happier and less stressed, as if we have a natural mood-lifter built right into our brains. High BDNF levels can help you keep safe from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and stay sharp as you age, acting like an anti-aging potion that keeps you quick-witted and vibrant well into your golden years!

So, it makes sense to explore ways to boost BDNF levels. Let me get into them one by one:

  • Exercise: Physical activity is like a magic spell for boosting BDNF. Go for a run, hit the gym, or dance around your living room.
  • Low-carb diet: Switching to a low-carb diet can make you smarter and happier by improving metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
  • • Meditation: Think of meditation as a brain spa. It boosts BDNF levels, protecting your mind and making you feel amazing.
  • Sleep: Getting deep, restful sleep sharpens your mind and makes you smarter.
  • Brain games: Playing puzzles and brain games is like a fun adventure for your brain, making it sharper and more resilient.
  • Cold showers: Cold showers, especially when taken six hours before exercise, have shown promise in increasing BDNF levels. It might be uncomfortable, but the benefits could be worth it.

A study on the influence of nutrition and physical activity in endurance athletes indicated that proper dietary practices, including the consumption of plant-based proteins and unsaturated fatty acids, positively affected various performance metrics and BDNF levels post-COVID-19 infection.

Certain foods can also strengthen your brain. For example, resveratrol, found in berries, grapes, dark chocolate, and peanuts, can boost BDNF levels. Dark chocolate? Yes! It’s a polyphenol that protects your brain and gives it a super boost.

The Omega-3 fatty acids that we keep hearing about are also fantastic for brain health, and can be found in chia seeds, walnuts, and flax seeds. A meta-analysis found that supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acids significantly increased BDNF levels compared to control groups.

What about spices? Any brain boosters there? Absolutely! Curcumin, found in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects, potentially increasing BDNF levels. Combine it with black pepper to enhance absorption. Enjoy these tasty treats and give your brain the love it deserves!

As much as you may have enjoyed reading these information about BDNF, now, let’s consider factors that decrease its levels:

  • Sugar: Consuming too much sugar can lower BDNF, which is detrimental to brain health. Cutting down on sweets can improve mental health.
  • Stress: Chronic stress can slash BDNF levels. Practice stress-busting activities like yoga or meditation to keep your brain sharp. Relax and enjoy life to avoid those stress lines on your forehead.
  • Isolation: Loneliness reduces BDNF levels. Stay socially active and connected to boost brain power and resilience. Don’t shy away from social interactions; go out, mingle, and build connections with the world around you.

And there you have it! Boosting BDNF is as simple as lacing up your sneakers, munching on dark chocolate, and saying namaste to meditation? So, next time you feel foggy, channel your inner brainiac: exercise like you’re training for a marathon and swap those carbs for some Omega-3-packed nuts.

And for the sake of your neurons, put down those sugar-laden treats. Your brain will be so grateful that it might just write you a thank-you note!

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