When it comes to aging, one thing we all want is a brain that stays sharp right to the end of our lives, and one way you can help keep your brain young is by lubricating it with brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a protein that is instrumental in learning, memory, mood, and healthy brain aging. BDNF can help to mitigate mood disorders like depression that are common with aging, and it may even play a role in dementia prevention, so short version: You want more! Fortunately, you can increase the release of BDNF in your brain in two ways.
BDNF Activator #1: Exercise
BDNF is sensitive to exercise and exercise—particularly aerobic exercise—generates it, so every time you work out, imagine you are rinsing your brain with this rejuvenating anti-aging protein. Vigorous aerobic activity appears to generate the most, so work in a few bursts of running into your walk or ramp up the incline on that treadmill!
BDNF Activator #2: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
When you eat fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, anchovies, and even caviar, you are dosing your bloodstream with the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which in turn trigger your brain’s release of BDNF. I recommend adding fatty fish to your diet at least 2 or 3 times per week. My favorite is wild-caught cold-water salmon.
Both exercise and omega-3 fatty acids have many other wonderful anti-aging benefits, from long-term mobility to heart disease protection, but BDNF is one of the most powerful anti-aging proteins your brain can experience, so get out there in the fresh air and sunshine to get your heart rate up then come home to enjoy a delicious salmon dinner, then rest easy knowing your brain is as vibrant as you are!