Deciphering Brain Fog: Foods to Boost Brain Function with BDNF

On the last two posts, we learned about how High BDNF can increase brain’s plasticity, suppresses brain inflammation, acts as a natural antidepressant, counteracts the negative effects of stress on the brain, and protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases. Evidence suggests it can even control lifespan. 

Besides exercising, going out to enjoy the sun, and relieving stress, eating the right types of foods is also an easy way to boost your brain function! 

  • Leafy greens 
  • Spinach 
  • Artichoke 
  • Brussel sprouts 
  • Tomato
  • Salmon 

For a quick boost on BDNF, try out our quick and flavorful recipe of pan seared salmon with tomatoes and creamy spinach! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 6oz of salmon fillets 
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic 
  • 1 1/2 cups of cherry tomatoes 
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach 
  • 1/2 half cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped Italian parsley 
  • 4 leaves of fresh basil 

Instructions:

  1. Place the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the salmon. When the oil is shimmering, place one salmon fillet skin side down and gently press on the top with a flexible spatula to keep the salmon from shrinking for 15-20 seconds. Repeat for every fillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook all of them for 6-8 minutes, or until the salmon changes color (gets paler) about two-thirds up the sides for an internal temperature of 120°F. Flip and cook for another 60 seconds. Remove to a plate and set aside.
  2. Deglaze pan with olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and not burned. Add the cherry tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to burst. Stir in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, or until wilted.
  3. Stir in the heavy cream, Parmesan and Italian parsley. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Place the salmon back in the skillet and garnish each with a leaf of fresh basil. Spoon the sauce on top and cook for 2-3 minutes. Serve immediately on a bed of lemon rice or roasted veggies.

After this savory dish, end your meal with some healthy sweets. Here are other foods that can easily increase your BDNF: 

  • Cranberries 
  • Raw cacao 
  • Chia seeds
  • Almonds 
  • Coffee
  • Green tea

Here’s an easy recipe for some delicious flour-free chocolate cranberry chia cookies (good for vegans, too!): 

Ingredients:

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup rolled or quick cooking oats
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl mash together banana with a fork. Stir in remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  3. Drop 1 tablespoon at a time of mixture onto baking sheet, flattening gently with your hand. 
  4. Bake for 12-14 minutes until cooked through and lightly golden.

Pair your cookies with a hot cup of coffee or green tea and enjoy! 

Traditional thinking has people spot-reducing. Hypertension – reduce salt, Diabetes –  reduce sugar, High cholesterol – reduce seafood, Gout – reduce peanuts.

Over the course of my research and education, I have found that most, if not all, conditions benefit from the same anti-inflammatory diet: A whole food diet consisting of dark green leafy vegetables, a variety of fruits, protein, whole grains and healthy fats.

With a balanced and healthy eating habit, quickly boost your brain function for a quicker, sharper, and healthier you! 

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