Memory & Brain Support

Keeping our brains healthy and sharp is just as important as physical fitness. The NorthStar blog on memory and brain support gives you breaking news on memory, cognitive health, and how to keep your brain sharp as a tack.

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Avoiding Dementia

    For generations, avoiding dementia – or not – was a roll of the dice.

    Essentially, you would get older and hope you kept most of your cognitive abilities in the process.

    But no more. These days, researchers have learned that avoiding dementia is possible, and more importantly, relatively easy.

    The key to avoiding dementia is to build on these three foundations:

    • Foods
    • Activities
    • And brain exercises

    Which is why we’ve created this ultimate guide to avoiding dementia – so you can learn more about each of these three pillars, and learn to work them into your daily life now, rather than wishing you had later.

    Foundation One: The FOODS That Protect Your Brain

    Researchers out of Rush University Medical Center have created the MIND diet, a diet specifically recognized as one that puts avoiding dementia in reach.

    You can learn more about the MIND diet here. But until you have a chance to get on board with the MIND way of eating, these seven foods will get you started.

    1. Beans and legumes. Legumes have so many minerals that are essential to brain health, it’s almost impossible to list them all. Ounce for ounce, beans are one of the best sources of folate, iron, magnesium, and potassium that you’re going to find. And they’re all critical to maintaining brain function at every level.

    2. Berries, especially blueberries. Berries contain a specific antioxidant that’s particularly effective at protecting the brain from free radical damage, as well as reducing inflammation in the brain that can lead to chronic health problems.

    3. Cruciferous vegetables. That’s the official name for broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, and the like. What makes them important to avoiding dementia are the powerful antioxidants and B vitamins that cruciferous vegetables have in such high quantities. They are known to lower an amino acid that can inhibit cognitive function. The lower the amino acid, the better your brain works.

    4. Leafy greens. Leafy greens are some of the most important foods when it comes to overall health, so it follows that they’re just as important when it comes to brain health. They’ve been shown to improve and protect cognitive function, and reduce feelings of depression. Avoiding dementia – just another reason to have a salad!

    5. Omega 3 fatty acids. Fatty fish, avocado, flax seed, nuts, and olive oil are all excellent examples of high quality omega 3s. The long list of reasons omega 3 fatty acids are good for your brain can be summed up in one sentence: they can reduce the risk of dementia by more than 25%. That’s reason enough.

    6. Pumpkin and other squash. It’s the vitamin A in pumpkin doing the work here, so if you’re not a fan of squash, look for any vegetables high in vitamin A, like asparagus, tomato, and carrot. Any of them will protect brain function, reasoning, and comprehension.

    7. Turmeric. This exotic spice is becoming more common, thanks to its health benefits. It’s one of several spices that can help break up and reduce the brain plaque that impairs memory and cognitive function. Plus, turmeric can also help slow aging in the brain, so you’re less effected by time.

    Foundation Two: The ACTIVITIES That Protect Your Brain

    Avoiding dementia doesn’t start and stop in your kitchen. Activities, choices, and behaviors contribute to brain health, as well.

    1. Regular exercise. All the ways exercise is good for your heart make it good for your brain, as well. Blood flow, oxygen, nutrients…it all plays a part in keeping you sharp. There are three types of exercise your brain needs:

    • Aerobic exercise – aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every week. And feel free to do more if you’re up to it physically.
    • Anaerobic exercise – or strength training. Try to get two to three strength training sessions in per week. This can mean lifting weights, or doing body weight exercises like push-ups and squats. Or, of course, a combination of both!
    • Balance exercise – not only do balance exercises help keep your brain healthy, but they protect against falls which can cause head trauma. Work on balance throughout the week. It can be as organized as a yoga or tai chi class, or it can be as basic as standing on one foot while you do the dishes.

    Combining these three types of exercise can reduce the risk of dementia by up to 50% - and may even help slow its onset if a loved one has already started showing signs of cognitive decline.

    2. Stay social. Research indicates that people who are isolated lose cognitive ability faster than people who stay socially engaged. Make an effort to stay in touch with loved ones, get out of the house, and even make new friends. Find a club to join or volunteer your services at a local organization. Even just chatting with your neighbors and mail carrier can make a difference. Along those lines…

    3. Have fun. Life becomes too serious too often, and that can take its toll on your brain. Be sure to prioritize fun the same way you do work. And the best part is you get to decide what’s fun for you. Just make sure you laugh, engage, and truly enjoy what you’re doing. It really is key to avoiding dementia.

    4. Relax. The hormone that gets produced when life gets stressful is damaging to the brain. So it’s important to give your brain a break, which means it’s important to relax. Take a hot bath, go for a run, find a quiet spot to meditate, find someone to talk to about your concerns – whatever will reduce your stress levels, do it. It’s physical, not just emotional, and it’s vital to brain health.

    Foundation Three: Exercises That Protect Your Brain

    Just like physical exercise is important, so is brain exercise! Brain health is a use-it-or-lose-it quality, so be sure to use it, with these exercises.

    1. Mental puzzles. The key is to work different parts of the brain, and each type of puzzle – crosswords, suduko, logic puzzles, even math problems – all work a different section. By doing a different type of puzzle every day or every week, you’ll keep all the different parts of your brain sharp.

    2. Learn something new. Continuing your education is one of the best ways of avoiding dementia. IT keeps the neuron connections you’ve got in good shape and it helps creates new ones, too. Plus, learning helps maintain and improve memory. With so many online classes, you don’t even need to live near a college campus.

    3. Listen to music. This really does count as brain exercise, and you’ll understand why. Music helps with:

    • reducing the chronic stress that can cause physical changes to your brain
    • enhancing brain elasticity
    • increasing brain hormone levels that help strengthen cognitive ability
    • boosting focus, concentration, and attention span
    • improving mental productivity
    • reducing mental decline and cognitive aging

    All of that, just by turning on your favorite music.

    4. Fine detail and eye-hand coordination activities. In spite of the name, this really is exercise, as far as your brain is concerned. Needlepoint, painting, sewing, building models – they all fall into this category. Doing any of them stimulates neurological function, but that’s not all. Fine detail work is also linked to better concentration, and lowered risk of dementia.

    5. Learn a new language. Cognitive decline is caused, in part, when your brain actually shrinks as you age. Learning a new language can reverse that and even increase brain size. Which makes maintaining the connections within your brain easier, so you protect your thought processes and mental capacity longer.

    When it comes to avoiding dementia, the days of simply hoping for the best are over. You’ve taken your overall health into your own hands.

    Do the same with your brain health. And stay you for years to come.

  2. Get These 9 Essential Brain Nutrients in Everyday Foods

    nutrients brainNo one thinks about brain nutrients when they’re younger.

    Memories are sharp, decisions are easy, and learning is a snap.

    Then you have your first “senior moment” and you realize that maybe it’s time to start thinking about brain health, specifically, along with overall health in general.

    Those brain nutrients become a little more important.

    Luckily, the brain nutrients you need to stay sharp for years to come are easy to find, and come wrapped in delicious packages!

    1. Berries for antioxidants. Antioxidants fight the free radicals and oxidative damage that can destroy memories and reduce overall cognitive function. Berries promote a healthy inflammatory response, which keeps structural damage to a minimum. And they protect the brain’s ability to learn, think, and function. Plus, they actually promote brain cell growth. So not only are they preventing damage, they’re supporting new cells! The brighter the berry, the better! Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, any berry, and you’re not going to go wrong.

    2. Whole grains for carbohydrates. Yes, your brain – your whole body – needs carbohydrates. They convert into sugar, which gives your brain energy. The key is to get the carbohydrates, and therefore the sugar, from the right sources: whole grains. No added sugars. No blood sugar spikes. Just steady, brain-supporting energy.

    3. Salmon, herring, and mackerel for omega-3s. Arguably one of the most important brain nutrients of them all, omega-3 fatty acids are a vital part of the brain’s structural foundation. Omega-3s can reduce the effects of aging on the brain, promote a healthy inflammatory response, and keep brain signals firing properly. It’s even been linked to better mood and sharper focus, where deficiencies in omega-3s have been connected to memory loss and confusion. Not a fan of fish? You can get your omega-3s in certain oils, vegetables, and nuts, too!

    4. Eggs for B-vitamins (specifically B-6, B-12, and folic acid). Scrambled, poached, hard-boiled, it doesn’t matter. The B-vitamins in eggs help protect the brain’s blood flow and function. And they may make learning easier as you age, as well. Finally, there’s some indication that eggs help slow or even prevent brain shrinkage. You can order brain health for breakfast.

    5. Avocado for…just about everything. It might be easier to list which brain nutrients you can’t get in avocado. It’s an excellent source of omega-3s and the B-vitamins we’ve already discussed. But it also provides important brain nutrients vitamins C, E, and K that are essential for brain health and function. And as if that wasn’t enough, avocados help our body absorb other vitamins from other sources that your brain needs to function at its top level. The bottom line? Eat avocados.

    6. Dark chocolate for flavonoids. Where to start? Flavonoids protect most aspects of your brain as it ages. They keep information flowing, and protects brain structure by keeping brain cells alive longer. This helps protect memory, focus, and the ability to problem solve. This brain nutrient may even help protect against age-related short-term memory loss in seniors.

    7. Broccoli for vitamin K. Since avocado shouldn’t be your only source of vitamin K, reach for broccoli as well. Not only with it supply your brain with the vitamin K you need to boost brain power, it’s also a source of vital compounds called “glucosinolates.” These help your nervous system function so your brain cells keeps clicking!

    8. Walnuts for polyphenol. Walnuts for…what? It’s okay if you don’t recognize polyphenol. What you need to know is that walnuts come with a brain nutrient that promotes a healthy inflammatory response and acts as a powerful antioxidant! It may even reverse certain markers of age in the brain. Reaction time, learning, memory – walnuts (and polyphenol) can help strengthen all of it.

    9. Pumpkin seeds for zinc (and magnesium, too). Now that autumn is here, it’s the perfect time to grab some pumpkin seeds! Zinc enhances memory and helps overall cognitive function. And it’s not the only brain nutrient you get from pumpkin seeds. Magnesium helps with mood, too!

    There you go – nine essential brain nutrients and the foods they’re in! Delicious, healthy, easy to find and prepare. The only problem is actually eating all of them.

    That’s the one issue with getting all the brain nutrients you need from diet alone, so much food! Which is why we developed Sense of Mind, our brain health supplement.

    Support memory, cognitive function, focus, and problem solving, all with two capsules a day. It makes easy even easier.

    With diet, and Sense of Mind, you can get the brain nutrients you need to forget about senior moments!

  3. 12 Quick and Fun Exercises to Improve Brain Function

    brain function improvePhysical function is important. Absolutely!

    It’s what keeps you mobile, independent, and active.

    But it’s not all there is.

    Brain function is just as important as physical function and health.

    Yet so many people just focus on the one and hope for the best when it comes to their brains, minds, and memories.

    Don’t roll the dice and hope for the best. Improve brain function and stay in shape mentally, as well as physically! It’s easier than you think…

    Continue reading

  4. The Ultimate Brain Fog Test: How is Your Brain Really?

    test brain fogWouldn’t it be nice if there was a brain fog test that could analyze just how healthy your brain is?

    You get that some things will start to slip as you get older, but a brain fog test could give you a better idea of whether your senior moments are from living a long, full life – or if they are indicative of a bigger problem.

    We agree with you: it would be nice if there was a brain fog test to let you know how you’re doing.

    So, we developed one.

    We realize that no at-home brain fog test is the answer to everything.

    And we can’t promise that you’ll stay sharp forever, but these are good questions to get you started, and to, hopefully, alleviate any immediate concerns you may have.

    Continue reading

  5. How to Avoid These 9 Dangerous Effects of Stress on the Brain

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    stress on the brain effects stress on the brain effects

    You’re stressed. These days, it’s hard not to be.

    And you know stress is bad for your heart, your mood, your sleep, probably even your relationships.

    Well, here’s one more reason to focus on relaxing – to avoid these dangerous effects of stress on your brain.

    From structural changes to emotional ones, the effects of stress on the brain are as life-changing as any other response to stress, yet people pay less attention to them.

    Well, we’re going to shine a light on the effects of stress on your brain so that you can recognize what’s going on and, more importantly, how to change it! Continue reading

  6. 10 Delicious Foods To Improve Brain Power

    Brain power improveIf you’re looking for ways to improve your brain power, let’s be honest…

    You can only do so many logic or crossword puzzles in a day.

    Luckily, you don’t have to look any further than your kitchen to find the brain boost you’re after!

    Try these delicious foods, along with the occasional puzzle, and improve your brain power and your health! Continue reading

  7. 8 Surprising Health Benefits of Korean Red Ginseng

    Korean red ginseng benefitsSome supplements are very straight forward and easy to understand.

    They’ve been around for years and everyone is comfortable with them.

    Then, there are other ones, the ones that seem a little more mysterious.

    You’ve heard enough to know they’re good for you – but it’s harder to get a grasp of their true benefits.

    Korean red ginseng is definitely one of the more mysterious supplements.

    Well, read on because I’m about to demystify the benefits of Korean red ginseng, so you’ll get your questions answered and know exactly what it’s good for!

    Continue reading

  8. 11 Amazing Health Benefits of Ginger

    ginger root health benefitsThis time of year, it’s almost impossible to walk into any store and not be bombarded with gingerbread.

    From cookies to houses to decorations, gingerbread is everywhere it seems.

    But that might not be a bad thing once you know the health benefits of ginger root!

    Okay, so gingerbread may not be the healthiest choice you can make, but adding ginger to your daily routine can have amazing health benefits.

    Plus, you can take it in tea, capsules, powder, or as a seasoning and reap the rewards.

    Continue reading

  9. Understanding the Link Between Exercise and Memory

    memory and exerciseThe link between exercise and physical health is – if you’ll excuse the pun – a no-brainer.

    But the link between exercise and memory may not be as obvious.

    At least not until you understand the link between the two.

    At which point, once you understand how exercise and memory are intricately linked, you’ll never forget it!

    Continue reading

  10. 9 Shocking Health Benefits of Eating Beets

    Eating beets benefitsYou know the superfoods: Kale…chia seeds…pomegranates…beets?

    I know, that last one may be shocking but there really are incredible health benefits to eating beets!

    So before you pass them by in the grocery produce section, read on. It’s time to start reaping the benefits of eating beets. Continue reading

  11. How to Keep Your Brain Healthy in 9 Easy Steps

    keep your brain healthy how toYou know how to keep your body healthy.

    Do you know how to keep your brain healthy, too?

    Because a healthy body is only half the battle as you age.

    Keeping your brain healthy is just as important!

    The most interesting part of keeping your brain healthy, though, is how much overlap there is between brain health and physical health.

    You’re probably already doing many of the things your brain needs to stay strong and vital for years to come.

    Let’s look closer at these nine easy steps that will keep your brain healthy… Continue reading

  12. Boost Your Brain: How to Improve Your Multitasking Skills

    skills multitaskingHow often do you wish your multitasking skills were sharper?

    When you realize you haven’t finished any of the three projects you’ve been working on all afternoon?

    When you realize that nothing you’ve accomplished has been done to the best of your ability?

    Or maybe when you realize how you got distracted this morning and now it’s time for dinner.

    If any or all of these situations are familiar to you, it may be time to work on your multitasking skills, so not only do you get more done in the day, but you get it done better.

    The key to multitasking well is to understand that you aren’t actually multitasking.

    You’re performing tasks in rapid succession.

    Sure, you may be able to update your calendar while you’re on the phone talking about another project completely, but the truth is something will get lost if you do that for too long.

    Continue reading

  13. How to Prevent Memory Loss: 8 Natural Remedies

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    Memory Loss Prevention If you’re already having the occasional “senior moment” or if you’re looking to prevent them, learning about how to prevent memory loss becomes more important the older you get.

    You know the moments I mean – when you can’t remember where you left your keys…or exactly why you walked into the room…or the name of the street you need to take a left on in order to get to the store.

    Because, while the occasional senior moment might be amusing, you don’t really need them to become an everyday occurrence. Luckily for you, age-related memory decline is not inevitable.

    So the sooner you look into how to prevent memory loss, the more success you’ll have. Continue reading

  14. The Alzheimer’s Diet: Can You Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease With Food?

    Diet for Alzheimer’s You may have heard about the so-called Alzheimer’s Diet – a new diet that claims it helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease. But before you get excited, you want the facts. After all, the Alzheimer’s Association itself called the disease “…the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed.”

    Add to that the fact that approximately 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, and it becomes a scary disease. If there really is such a thing as an Alzheimer’s diet, you want to know about it.

    But how reliable are the reports of an Alzheimer’s diet? And if it exists, how complicated or hard to follow is it?

    You’ve got questions – but I’ve got answers.

    This article takes a closer look at the Alzheimer’s diet and how, yes, you may be able to prevent Alzheimer’s with food. Continue reading

  15. The MIND Diet: 10 Foods That Fight Dementia (and 5 to Forget)

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    The MIND Diet: 10 Foods That Fight Dementia (and 5 to Forget)

    Eating a healthy diet is important for all of us.

    But if you’re concerned about dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, knowing which foods fight against these is even more important.

    Luckily, you’re not the only who feels that way.

    Researchers at Rush University Medical Center developed the MIND diet. Now you can know for certain what foods fight dementia – and which ones it’s okay to forget. Continue reading

  16. Medications that Cause Memory Loss

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    Memory Loss with AgeMedications that Cause Memory Loss

    Memory loss is a common part of aging.

    We’ve all heard of “senior moments” – and many of us have started having them. The occasional slip is easy to shrug off. Sometimes they’re even amusing, just as long as they stay occasional.

    But when those “senior moments” start becoming a regular way of life, that’s another story.

    Suddenly memory loss with age is no longer easy to shrug off, and it’s certainly not amusing.

    If you are experiencing other signs of dementia along with your current memory loss, that’s when things could become a bit concerning. Continue reading

  17. 6 Natural Health Tips to Rejuvenate Your Entire Body

    Tips for Natural HealthYou understand that “being healthy” is about more than any one number on your doctor’s chart.

    Being healthy means taking care of yourself head to toe – and using the natural health tips that will help you meet that goal.

    This article will give you those natural health tips – from behavior, to nutrition, to supplements – that you need to help achieve overall wellness, from your brain all the way down.

    So let’s jump right in… Continue reading

  18. Stages of Dementia: What Are They? And Should I Be Worried?

    Dementia StagesWhenever someone talks about dementia, you get a little scared.

    For most people, what’s scary about anything is the unknown. The unknown causes us to question everything…

    What’s going to happen to my loved one? Am I going to be okay? Can I take care of them? What happens next?

    Or worse. What if it happens to you?

    Am I destined to get it? What are the signs of dementia? Is there a way to protect against it?

    But for every question, there is an answer. And once you have an answer, things tend to get a little less scary. So we wanted to look at the stages of dementia, help you understand it a little better, and answer some of those questions. Continue reading

  19. RegeneCell Ingredients: Feel Better & Look Younger within Days

    RegeneCell IngredientsAging isn't just about getting older. There’s very little we can do about getting older, and truthfully, getting older can be a good thing. But we can fight aging – the tell-tale wrinkles, the more regular doctors’ visits, the ever lengthening list of specialists, even the physical changes. You don’t have to give into them without a fight. That’s why Dr. Mitchell Ghen developed RegeneCell – the single most comprehensive anti-aging supplement on the market.

    Dr. Ghen has brought together more than 70 of the most effective, most reputable anti-aging fighters to create the formula that will help you rejuvenate every system and every cell in your body! How did he do this? By identifying the 10 signs of aging – and then researching the RegeneCell ingredients you need to address every single one of them and more. Continue reading

  20. Common chemical threatens thyroid function and IQ level?

    Common chemical threatens thyroids and IQ’s

    It’s everywhere. And I really do mean EVERYWHERE.

    It’s in you, it’s in me, and it’s in everyone you know, or have ever known, for that matter. It affects the thyroid, a gland that helps regulate our hormones, those compounds that are responsible for controlling and regulating just about every single cell and organ in our bodies.

    And yet very few of us have ever even heard of this creepy, pervasive chemical.

    Perchlorate is nothing new. It’s a naturally occurring chemical. Or I should say it was naturally occurring until someone had the bright idea that we should start manufacturing massive quantities of it ourselves. And that decision could have dire long-term health consequences for all of us. Continue reading

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