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  • Writer's pictureNik Dash


When and how much COFFEE and DARK CHOCOLATE?

When you load with Coffee and chocolate you are feeding BDNF and stimulating a cascade of neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors. But be aware of the downs as well as the ups. Simple blood tests can find if you are a fast or slow reactor to certain foods (more at

Feeding BDF? What do you mean?

BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) is a protein produced in high quantities in the central nervous system.

Regulates the structure, function, and development of the brain’s internal communication network.

BDNF is responsible for neuro-plasticity (your brain’s ability to grow and form new connections) and for your long-term memory

Why You Should Be Interested in BDNF?

BDNF levels naturally fall across the lifespan, causing a decline in memory and cognition (1, 2, 3).

Significantly lower levels are found in patients with Dementia and other conditions of reduced cognitive awareness (3, 4).

Fortunately, we have the power to increase your BDNF production naturally through diet and lifestyle choices.

Name some neural Super Foods that Increase BDNF

If you want to improve your memory, cognition, and neuroplasticity, then incorporate the following BDNF-boosting foods into your diet (5-9):

  • Green tea. Look for one sourced from Japan.

  • Blueberries. Wild blueberries have a higher BDNF-boosting antioxidant content.

  • Red grapes. Dark-coloured grapes will give you all the benefits of resveratrol and other polyphenols.

  • Olive oil. Cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil is preferred.

  • Soy. Organic whole or fermented soy products are associated with positive health benefits.

  • Dark chocolate. Cacao contains the phytonutrients that increase BDNF, 100% cacao chocolate is best.

  • Turmeric. Foods or beverages with Turmeric (active component Curcumin). Improve absorption by pairing with black pepper and a fat source. This combination of Turmeric, Black Pepper and Omega 3 Oils maximizes the amount that your body absorbs.

  • Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring). DHA, a type of Omega-3 fat found in these fish., is what increases your BDNF.

  • Eggs. It’s the DHA in this food that has been linked to higher BDNF levels.

  • Coffee. The caffeine in coffee has been shown to increase your BDNF.


  1. Mcallister, A. (2002). BDNF. Current Biology, 12(9), R310–R310. 10.1016/S0960-9822(02)00825-4

  2. Bekinschtein, P., Cammarota, M., Katche, C., Slipczuk, L., Rossato, J.I., Goldin, A., Izquierdo, I., Medina, J.H. (2008). BDNF is essential to promote the persistence of long-term memory storage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (7), 2711-2716. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0711863105

  3. Lu, B., Nagappan, G., Lu, Y. (2014). BDNF and synaptic plasticity, cognitive function, and dysfunction. In: Lewin, G. & Carter B. (eds). Neurotrophic Factors. Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, Vol 220. Springer: Berlin.

  4. Wang, Y. J. et al (2016). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor protects against tau-related neurodegeneration of Alzheimer's disease. Translational Psychiatry, 6(10), e907. doi:10.1038/tp.2016.186

  5. Sangiovanni, E., Brivio, P., Dell'Agli, M., & Calabrese, F. (2017). Botanicals as modulators of neuroplasticity: focus on BDNF. Neural Plasticity. doi:10.1155/2017/ 5965371

other references upon request or to be sourced at

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