What is BDNF?

What is BDNF?

What Does BDNF Do?

BDNF – brain-derived neurotrophic factor – is a protein that helps the brain and body flourish by supporting cognitive and nervous system functions. BDNF provides support for brain cells and the nervous system. As we age, the level of BDNF declines. A low level of BDNF is associated with multiple negative effects of aging. Exercise and appropriate levels of caffeine have been shown to help increase and maintain a healthy BDNF level, which:

  • Supports learning and memory through the growth and development of new brain cells
  • Helps with new skill acquisition by promoting communication pathways between nerve cells
  • Supports cognitive functions like learning, memory, and focus
  • May trigger the production of more serotonin (happy feelings)
  • Promotes the balance and interaction of neurotransmitters – natural chemicals that regulate nervous system functions like mood and sleep.

What are Some Superfoods that Increase BDNF

Strive Superfoods uses the following superfoods that may help increase BDNF with appropriate exercise and physical activities to help improve  memory, cognition, and neuroplasticity:

  • Green teas. The caffeine in green teas like Yaupon Holly, Guyusa, and Matcha in Strive’s Mojo Risin’ have been shown to increase BDNF levels
  • Blueberries like in Strive’s Buck Naked Greens, have a higher BDNF-boosting antioxidant content.
  • Dark chocolate. Strive’s organic cacao contains the phytonutrients that increase BDNF, that’s why Mojo Risin’ is made with a 100% cacao to give you all the benefits this superfood has to offer.
  • Turmeric. The polyphenols in this spice increases your BDNF levels. By pairing turmeric with black pepper (and ideally an outside fat source) you maximize the amount of turmeric that your body can absorb, hence increase the amount of BDNF you can produce from turmeric.
  • Foods high in Resveratrol. One of the many benefits of Resveratrol is that it induces neuroprotective effects by elevating BDNF

Physical Activity that Gets You Moving and Thinking Quick Outdoors is Best for BDNF Production

The following activities, like many of the ingredients in our adaptogen-rich products and like engaging directly in and with nature, support great physical health, sense of well being and and the production of BDNF. BDNF plays an important role in neuronal survival and growth, and serves as a neurotransmitter. Eating healthy, adaptogen-rich foods, engaging in physical activities in nature that challenge your body and mind, all ties to improved cognitive functions. Some of the best physical activities to combine with Strive Superfoods to promote increases in BDNF include:

  • Climbing, in a gym or better still in nature on natural rock or ice – Maintaining balance while problem solving while under physical strain in nature 
  • Whitewater Kayaking – The continuous movement and maintenance of balance and direction while problem-solving in nature in an ever-changing medium of motion and movement    
  • Backcountry or Cross-country skiing – The exercise of climbing combined with movement through variable terrain, again rapid thinking in choice of direction while in motion with significant physical exertion 
  • Mountain Biking – Like backcountry skiing, again rapid thinking in choice of direction while in motion with significant physical exertion 
  • Trail running – something that twists and turns with great views in nature
  • Dancing– where learning and expressing new moves and also working fitness
  • Functional Fitness – Parkour or Ninja Workout Play – Like doing all the apparatus in a playground, but for adults, like monkey bars, tunnels, climbing walls, balance beams
  • Team Sports –  Aerobic activity while working your brain in terms of strategy and quick thinking
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