NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

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  1. The Six Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking That Could Save Your Sex Life

    quitting smoking health benefitsYou know the health benefits of quitting smoking. You do. And yet it hasn’t quite happened so far.

    As it turns out, quitting smoking may be one of the greatest challenges of your life.

    You’ve heard the statistic: smoking is as addictive – and as hard to quit – as alcohol, heroin, or cocaine.

    And if you’re a smoker, trying to quit, you’ve lived out that statistic more often than you probably want to admit.

    But you’re not alone. In fact, 70% of all smokers wish they could stop.

    And the average smoker tries to quit between eight and eleven times before it finally sticks. Luckily, the more often a person tries to quit, the better their chances of success become.

    Since motivation is a key component of successfully quitting smoking, here’s one more health benefit you might not have thought of – quitting smoking can improve your sex life!

    Check out these six new health benefits of quitting smoking and stay motivated -

    1. Let’s start with a measurable, tangible health benefit to quitting. Smoking restricts blood flow. Now, you may have thought about this in terms of heart and brain health, but it restricts blood flow everywhere. Part of sexual arousal and enjoyment for both of you is caused by blood flow to the genitals. Restrict blood flow and you restrict pleasure.

    2. Smoking decreases sexual performance in men. Yes, this is linked to blood flow, because performance is certainly about being able to achieve and maintain an erection – but it’s more than that, too. Performance is about stamina, desire, energy…all things smoking can diminish in daily life and the bedroom.

    3. Also connected to blood flow and performance – a major health benefit of quitting smoking is it increases firmness of an erection. Let’s be honest, the ability to achieve an erection is only part of the equation. How hard you get and how long you stay hard matter, too. One of the best ways to increase both of those is to finally quit smoking.

    These next two go hand in hand, as well…

    4. Smoking decreases sexual satisfaction. It makes sense once you think about it. Less stamina, energy, blood flow, arousal…It’s not a good combination for high satisfaction. But it will lead to this next one:

    5. A diminished sex drive. While the exact reasons are currently unclear, the results are not. Smokers have and want less sex than nonsmokers. In one study, nonsmokers had sex almost twice as often as smokers did. After all, when any activity becomes less interesting…and less satisfying…and physically challenging, it becomes a chore. Sex is no different. So before you decide that you’re too old, too disinterested, or too tired for sex, quit smoking. And be prepared for your sex drive to return!

    But let’s end the list on a more upbeat note, and a truly worthwhile health benefit of quitting smoking –

    6. Men who quit smoking reached sexual arousal faster and more completely than smokers. But the best news? They didn’t reach orgasm faster, so they were able to extend their – and their partner’s – pleasure.

    And these are just the sexual health benefits of quitting smoking. The overall health benefits of doing so are too long to list.

    Smoking affects every single system in your body and increases the risk of death from every other physical cause.

    Luckily, there’s more support available to you to help you quit smoking than ever before. If you’re part of the 70% of smokers who want to quit, you can.

    Talk to your doctor or call 1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669) for more information about the health benefits of quitting smoking. Take back your health, your sex drive, and your life. Quit today.

  2. The Shocking Link Between Sleep and Blood Pressure

    Blood pressure and sleepWhen you were younger, you probably didn’t even think about maintaining healthy blood pressure numbers.

    They were just where you needed them to be. Now that you’re older, it’s a little different.

    These days, your doctor is more likely to look closer at those numbers.

    And you’re more likely to look closely. Because you both realize maintaining healthy blood pressure is more important than ever.

    But what happens if, in spite of your best efforts, you just haven’t quite figured out the proper equation for keeping those numbers exactly where you want them?

    Maybe that’s when it’s time to look at how much sleep you’re getting.

    That’s right – sleep. Because sleep and blood pressure are linked in ways you may not realize.

    Sleep, By the Numbers – and How It Works

    In several studies, people who got less than six hours of sleep per night were at an increased risk of unhealthy blood pressure. In fact, people who slept that little were 20% more likely to deal with blood pressure concerns than people who got more than six hours of sleep per night.

    Sleep and blood pressure are linked through the production of stress hormones. When you don’t get enough sleep, your stress system gets activated, increasing the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your body.

    Both of these hormones are fine in small amounts – necessary, even – but not every night and certainly not during sleep, when your body is supposed to be able to recharge and restore itself.

    See, sleep is when your body balances those hormones so your blood pressure stays healthy. Without enough sleep, those hormone levels get out of balance, and your blood pressure gets out of whack.

    When it comes to sleep and blood pressure, your goal should be between seven and eight hours of sleep per night.

    Two Options, Working Hand in Hand

    In order to maintain the healthiest blood pressure possible, you’re going to want to take two paths, simultaneously.

    1. Get more sleep
    2. Make smart blood pressure choices when you’re awake

    Because no matter how much sleep you get, if you’re not making healthy choices for your blood pressure, you’re not going to like your numbers. But, as we’ve just established, you’ll have much better reactions to your daytime choices if you’re getting enough sleep at night. Blood pressure and sleep, hand in hand.

    So what are you supposed to do now? Read on…

    How to Help at Night…

    Maybe you just didn’t realize the connection between sleep and blood pressure and, now that you know it, you’ll go to bed earlier. If that’s the case, congratulations!

    However, if you’re getting less than seven hours of sleep a night because you can’t sleep, here are three ways to help with that.

    Learn to relax. This step takes place before you ever get into bed. For some people, this means meditation or deep breathing. For others, it’s a hot bath or a cup of herbal tea before bed. Whatever it means to you, embrace it. Experiment some if you need to. That’s okay – and there’s no right answer. Learning to relax really shouldn’t make you stressed! Practice meditation during the day. Or give yourself a relaxing hour before bedtime. The key is to find your way to wind down so that when you get into bed, you sleep, not stress.

    Use progressive relaxation. Once you get into bed, finish your relaxation technique with progressive relaxation. Starting with your toes, tense each muscle group – toes, calves, thighs, and so on – for a count of seven, then relax. As you relax each muscle group, move up to the next one, repeating the tense and relax pattern, until you’ve made it all the way up your body. By the time you get to your neck, your whole body will be peaceful. Not only does this help with overall relaxation, it’s been linked to better quality of sleep, as well.

    Listen to white noise/right noise. The dripping faucet. The heat turning on and off. Maybe the person next to you snoring. All kinds of noises can keep you awake, or disturb your sleep. Instead of waking up every time a car drives by, find the sounds that help you sleep. From investing in a white noise machine, to simply downloading the sounds of the ocean onto your laptop, the options are practically limitless.

    And How to Help During the Day…

    Now you’ve figured out how to use bedtime and sleep to help maintain your blood pressure, it’s important you keep up with your smart daytime choices too.

    Eat properly. The same foods that are good for your heart are good for your blood pressure. Make sure you get plenty of vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins every day. And while you don’t have to give up your favorite indulgences completely, do make sure that you limit high fat, high salt, and high fat foods.

    Move your body. Exercise is a key component of healthy blood pressure numbers, so get moving. Walk, dance, take an aerobics class, or go for a swim. Whatever you enjoy doing, do it. The goal is two and a half hours a week of moderate activity – about thirty minutes a day, every weekday. It’s okay to break a sweat. After all, the point isn’t to stroll but to exercise!

    Find the supplement that works for you. Very few people get every single vitamin, mineral, and amino acid they need for optimal health from diet alone. And there are plants and herbs that can help maintain healthy blood pressure numbers in their own right, too. So find a supplement that helps you help your body – like Healthy Aging, our all-in-one anti-aging, healthy blood pressure, healthy heart, healthy mind, healthy YOU supplement.

    Bottom line is this – daily choices are important but sleep is important too. If your numbers are where you want them, getting seven to eight hours of sleep will help keep them there.

    And if your blood pressure numbers aren’t where you’d like them, getting sleep may help bring them into a healthier range. Either way, get enough sleep and your blood pressure numbers will show it.

  3. The TRUTH About Cartilage Replacement

    replacement CartilageYou may have heard about cartilage replacement and repair. You may have even started to get excited about it if you have sore, achy knees. After all, a joint is made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments, and muscles. The cartilage is at the very end of the bones, where they would rub together – except the cartilage acts as a cushion. When cartilage gets damaged or injured, you end up with creaky, stiff, painful joints. Which certainly sounds like a good time to get excited about cartilage replacement. Unfortunately, that excitement might be premature. Only a portion of people with problematic knees are eligible for cartilage replacement surgeries. The only thing you can do is research, ask your doctor, and see if this option is for you. So let’s look at closer at cartilage replacement and repair, and see if you could be a good candidate… Continue reading →
  4. What You Need to Know About the Zika Virus

    virus zikaGlobal health concern. Travel warnings. Spreading throughout the United States. The Zika virus is everywhere these days. On the news, in the papers, all over online resources. First, it was spread through mosquito bites. Now, it’s showing up in bodily fluids like urine and semen. Some people are even discouraging kissing. With headlines about “public health emergencies,” new cases showing up in our borders, and even fears about athletes attending the Olympics, it’s easy to panic about this new disease and what it might mean for you. But panic doesn’t serve you or your health. So, we’re going to cut through the sensationalism and the soundbites and look at the facts about the Zika virus. What is the Zika virus? How is it transmitted? What are the symptoms? How can you avoid catching it? And how concerned should you really be? Continue reading →
  5. What Physical Pain Does to Your Body

    pain physical No one wants to live with physical pain, let’s be honest. At the same time, though, people tend to think of pain as something you should just deal with….adults shouldn’t be crybabies…everybody hurts a little as they get older… But those attitudes are as much a problem as your physical pain! You should not “just deal with” physical pain. In fact, doing so can actually be unhealthy for you. Continue reading →
  6. 10 Ways to Help Make Joint Pain at Night A Thing of the Past

    night joint painDoes it ever feel like joint pain at night is worse than it is during the day? You’re going along all morning and afternoon, just fine, with your pain reasonably under control. Then night comes and your joint pain gets worse – and worse – until you can’t get comfortable, you can’t fall asleep, and once you do, you can’t manage to stay asleep. It’s enough to make you dread getting in bed. The pressure points, having to roll over, risking tweaking a joint because you turned the wrong way or because you got twisted in the blankets. But you can put that dread to bed because we’ve got ways to help you make joint pain at night a thing of the past! Continue reading →
  7. Is My Heart Healthy Enough for Sex [Take this heart-sex quiz now]

    sex-heartYour heart should be healthy enough for sex – but you’re still a little concerned. After all, it’s your heart. And you’re not a kid any longer. It’s easy to still have lingering doubts. How does your doctor know for certain? How do you? Well, it helps to know some basic information about your heart and sex, as well as to answer some very specific – but not too personal, don’t worry – questions about how your heart health may contribute to your sex life. So, we’re here for you. Take these tests. Between them and your doctor’s advice, you should be able to put aside any last, low-level concerns. Continue reading →
  8. Are There Different Types of Urinary Incontinence?

    urinary incontinence typesHaving a type urinary incontinence isn’t something most people like talking about. At best, it’s embarrassing. At worst, it can lead to social and professional isolation. But it shouldn’t be shameful, or a source of embarrassment, because it’s a medical condition, just like so many other medical conditions. In fact, nearly 13 million people are affected by some type of urinary incontinence – which is why we’re willing to demystify it and talk about it. Talk about the types of urinary incontinence and what, if anything, can be done about them. Continue reading →
  9. 10 Quick Tips to Soothe Dry Chapped Hands

    Winter brings snow…and hot cocoa…and cuddling by the fire…and dry, chapped hands that you just want to hide. Dry, cracked, maybe even bleeding hands are more than unattractive. They hurt! And exposure to the dry indoor heat and cold temperatures of winter will just make it worse. But you don’t have keep your hands hidden beneath the blankets or behind mittens! Soothe your dry, chapped hands with these ten quick tips that will do the trick and have you back to holding hands in no time. Continue reading →
  10. Is Your Nighttime Routine Helping or Hurting You?

    Routine nighttimeYou’re tired every day. You’re stressed every night. You toss and turn, unable to turn off your brain long enough to get to sleep. Or you wake up in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep. If any of these sound familiar, maybe the problem isn’t you – maybe the problem is your nighttime routine. After all, we know a healthy morning routine can make or break your day. Once you think about it, it makes sense that a nightly routine can be just as important. These suggestions can help make up a nighttime routine that will have you sleeping like a baby in no time. Not all of them may work for you, but feel free to pick and choose the ones that do. Continue reading →
  11. Make Joint Relief Your Ultimate Goal for 2016

    relief jointWhen it comes to New Year’s resolutions, joint relief may not seem all that interesting or exciting – unless you’ve struggled with sore, achy, stiff joints. At that point, you know that this is more than just a worthy New Year’s resolution – it’s the ultimate goal. So we’ve collected the twelve ways for you to achieve relief in your joints for 2016 – and beyond. Continue reading →
  12. The REAL Truth About Ergonomic Desk Chairs

    desk chairs ergonomicalHave you heard the hype about ergonomic desk chairs and standing desks? Because they are all the rage. But what’s the truth and what’s just marketing? We decided to look closer and report back. So here’s the real truth about ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and alternative work spaces. Continue reading →
  13. 6 Fun Exercises to Improve Joint Stability

    Technically, joint stability is defined as “the ability to maintain or control joint movement or position” but that doesn’t come close to capturing what joints stability really means. Because you know that stable joints means living with more. More mobility, more balance, more living life to the fullest. Having stable joints is about being steady on your feet whether you’re walking a golf course or walking through the grocery store. It’s about knowing you can lift, bend, and reach so that you’re able to keep up with the activities of daily living and stay independent. In fact, joint stability, balance, and mobility are intricately linked. So much so that you can’t talk about one without talking about the other two. In other words, having stable joints really is about so much more than just stability. But here’s the twist - joint stability is also about living with less. Less pain. Less fear of falling. Less stiffness. Less isolation. So give these six exercises a try to increase stability, balance, and mobility. Continue reading →
  14. The Shocking Everyday Item That Helps with Joint Lubrication

    lubrication jointWhen it comes to joint lubrication, there are a lot promises being made. But the truth is far more mundane than any promise. No miracle pills from the Far East. No obscure ointments rediscovered after centuries. Not even an ointment used since the time of Cleopatra. For help with joint lubrication, all you need is… Water! If you get it from your tap or buy it from the store – sparkling, or still – water is one of the best things you can do for joint health and lubrication. Continue reading →
  15. Reduce Joint Swelling in Under 30 Minutes

    swelling jointBy the time you need to reduce joint swelling, you’re not looking for long-term solutions. You’re looking for relief from the swelling and discomfort and you’re looking for it right now. I get that. But it’s important that you treat the cause of your swollen joints properly in order to not make it worse. Continue reading →
  16. 11 Essential Immune System Vitamins

    vitamins immune systemIt’s winter and that means it’s winter cold and flu season. At the grocery store, the mall, in the office – everywhere - people are coughing, sneezing, and sniffling. But you don’t have to be as concerned about it if you’re giving your immune system the vitamins it needs to function at peak efficiency! Take a look at these important immune system vitamins, and work them into your daily diet and supplement routine for the healthiest cold and flu season yet! Continue reading →
  17. 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 →
  18. 4 Quick Ways to Improve Posture for Joint Health

    Improve posture waysWhen it comes to joint health, you’ve got it covered. You eat right, you take the right supplements. You’re even getting enough sleep, so your joints can repair themselves. But have you thought about ways to improve your posture in order to help improve your joint health? If you have, good for you! If you haven’t, don’t feel bad. People don’t usually think about posture being linked to joint health. So let’s look closely at how joint health is affected by posture – and ways to improve posture and your joint health. Continue reading →
  19. The Ultimate Prostate Cancer Diet: Can You Prevent Prostate Cancer With Food?

    Diet prostate cancerThe topics are all over your television, news stream, and radio: how can you prevent prostate cancer? Is there a prostate cancer diet? What are your risks for prostate cancer? If you’re a man – or a woman who loves a man – you’ve probably realized prostate health should be a major focus of overall health. There’s a good reason for that. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men, coming in behind skin cancer. And it’s the second deadliest cancer in men, as well. In fact, 1 in every 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point. Sadly, 1 in every 38 of those men will die from it. However, that doesn’t mean that prostate cancer is inherently a death sentence. More than 2.9 million men diagnosed with prostate cancer are still around, living life to its fullest. And perhaps the easiest way to prevent prostate cancer, and increase your odds of beating it, is through diet. Simple, healthy, and delicious changes to your diet can help you help your prostate! Continue reading →
  20. A Cheat Sheet for Treating Sciatica

    sciatica treatingOfficially, sciatica is “pain in the lower extremity resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve” – but that doesn’t come close to capturing how sciatica feels, what it’s like to live with it, or just how important treating sciatica can be. Because that “pain in the lower extremity” can mean a constant, nagging ache that never seems to completely go away. Or a shooting pain that radiates through your buttock and down your leg. It can mean never being able to roll over in bed because you can’t sleep on the affected side. Or not being able to sit for a long time, because the discomfort becomes too much. And it really means that treating this pain can become a top priority, so that you can have a reprieve from the constant ache and shooting pains. Continue reading →