NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

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  1. 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!

    Beta Carotene – A powerful antioxidant, beta carotene works to boost your immune system and counter the oxidative stress caused by exposure to free radicals that’s wearing down your system. Find it this season in pumpkin, squash, and sweet potato. It’s year-round in tomatoes, kale, and spinach.

    Folate/folic acid – Folate and folic acid are the same thing, one of the B vitamins. But folate is the natural form and folic acid is the synthetic form. Luckily, both immune system vitamins work equally to keep you well. They’re essential for the production and maintenance of cells. Without them, your body can’t repair and rejuvenate – or heal from illness. You’ll find plenty of folate in beans and peas.

    Iron – Not really a vitamin, but iron is an immune system booster worthy of mention. It helps get oxygen to cells throughout your body – keeping them, and you, healthy. Look for iron in beans, broccoli, lean red meat, and chicken.

    Selenium – Low levels of selenium appear to be linked to many forms of cancer, whereas healthy levels of selenium seem to have a powerful, positive impact on immunity. Find it in sardines, tuna, and Brazil nuts.

    Vitamin A – One of the least controversial immune system vitamins, vitamin A has long been recognized as essential to a healthy immune response. Without enough vitamin A, your immune system is weaker and you’re more susceptible to infection. Look for colorful foods, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash.

    Vitamin B2 – Early studies in mice indicate that vitamin B2, or riboflavin, can help stave off bacterial infections. Load up on lamb, milk, mushrooms, and spinach.

    Vitamin B6 – Not having enough vitamin B6 can slow your immune system, keeping you sick and unable to fight off the latest bug. Maintain your B6 levels with bananas, baked potatoes, and chick peas.

    Vitamin C – Another good old standby vitamin when it comes to the immune system is vitamin C. It works alone and possibly in conjunction with other nutrients, as well, to help boost your responses. You probably know to eat citrus fruit, but you can get vitamin C from leafy greens, green peppers, and strawberries, too!

    Vitamin D – The so-called “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D isn’t just for bone strength any longer - it's one of our favorite immune system vitamins. Vitamin D deficiencies have been officially linked to immune disorders and may contribute to catching colds and flus. However, many people struggle to absorb vitamin D from food, so talk to your doctor about supplements or get outside for a few minutes every day.

    Vitamin E – As with all other antioxidants, vitamin E helps fight off the germs that cause cold and flu. Be sure to get enough with a regular supply of nuts, spinach, and broccoli.

    Zinc – A trace element, zinc is still an important to your immune system as many vitamins. Zinc helps immune cells function properly and efficiently. It also may help control the body’s inflammatory response. Just know that too much zinc can have the opposite effect, and hamper your immune system. Eat smart amounts of oysters, lean meats, and chick peas for proper levels of zinc.

    So go ahead! Brave the cold – and the flu. With a diet full of immune system vitamins, you can sail through the season in good health.

  2. 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.

    1. Natural anti-inflammatory. Inflammation isn’t just the swelling at an injury. Inflammation is your body’s response to attack – any kind of attack. And it’s been linked to everything from wrinkles to heart disease, arthritis to cancer. So maintaining your body’s healthy inflammatory response is vital – which is why it’s the first benefit to eating beets on the list! Beets reduce chronic inflammation in two ways. They’re packed with the nutrient choline, which is good for inflammation. Plus, the betalains that contribute to beets’ distinctive red color are also powerful anti-inflammatories.

    2. Antioxidants. By now you know just how important antioxidants are to your overall health. And they're one of our favorite health benefits of eating beets. How they can fight back against free radicals, counter oxidative damage, and prevent disease. And guess which root vegetable is full of antioxidants? But not just common antioxidants that you could get in any fruit or vegetable. No, a benefit of eating beets is the uncommon one – the betalain I just mentioned is a powerful antioxidant linked to the prevention of many of the major, life-threatening conditions.

    3. Aphrodisiac. Since the ancient Romans, beets have been considered beneficial as a libido booster, but there’s reason for it. Beets contain nitrates, which increase blood flow – everywhere. In fact, nitrates are often used in artificial libido boosters because they work so well at increasing arousal. But now you can skip the artificial stuff and get the benefits by eating beets!

    4. Protect your brain and fight dementia. As you age, blood flow decreases, so you get less blood to the brain. It also means you also get less oxygen to the brain. Less blood and oxygen to the brain have been linked to reduced cognitive abilities and dementia. But since we’ve established that the nitrates in beets increase blood flow everywhere that means your brain, too!

    5. Cancer prevention. Not only are beets loaded with powerful and rare antioxidants, beet juice may slow the growth of certain cancer-causing compounds. So drink up!

    6. Diabetes. Among the antioxidants in beets is alpha-lipoic acid, which helps you battle diabetes in three ways. First, and probably most important, it helps lower blood glucose levels. But it has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, and prevent oxidative damage in diabetes patients. So if you already have diabetes, or if you’re trying to prevent diabetes, talk to your doctor about the benefits of eating beets.

    7. Energy levels and performance. You don’t have to be an athlete to reap the benefits of beets when it comes to energy and performance. Yes, professional cyclists and swimmers in studies of beet juice have seen statistically significant changes in their performance. However, the same factors that increased professional athletes’ performance may help people who are struggling with the activities of daily living. If you don’t have the energy to do what you need to do – if that’s pedal faster or climb the stairs with your groceries – there’s no reason beet juice won’t help give you the energy you need to achieve your goals.

    8. Heart health. So many superfoods end up at heart health, and beets are no different. This might be on the most important health benefits of eating beets. If you’re concerned about blood pressure and the cardio impacts of high blood pressure know this: in one study, a small serving of beet juice reduced resting blood pressure by 2%. And other studies have shown similar results, basically locking in beet juice as a good bet when it comes to heart health.

    9. Weight loss. The weight loss benefit of eating beets is easy – beets are high in fiber, which keeps you full, and low in calories, so you can eat a nice-sized portion, which helps keep you full. So looking to lose weight? Think beets.

    Sure, there are other, better known vegetables. But given the impressive benefits of eating beets, maybe it’s time to put down the potato every now and then and pick up a beet!

  3. 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 →
  4. 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 →
  5. 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 →
  6. Alcohol and Skin: What Everyone Should Know

    skin and alcoholMost people have the occasional beer, glass of wine, or cocktail. But what happens if you have more than that? It’s easy to think that, so long as you don’t have a drinking problem, alcohol isn’t a health issue. After all, it’s even recognized that a glass of red wine a night can be good for your health! The truth, though, is that alcohol can have a real impact on how quickly you age. And alcohol especially affects your skin and how old – or young – you look. So much so that alcohol and skin health are directly related. Continue reading →
  7. The Dangers of Natural Supplements

    supplements naturalHave you seen the recent sensational headlines about natural supplements sending people to emergency rooms in staggering numbers? They certainly caught our attention. So we read more. Sure enough more than 23,000 emergency room visits are caused by supplements every single year. The headlines definitely had our attention. So we read more. They certainly got us to read their articles, I’ll concede that point and give them credit for it. But I’m also glad that I took the time to read the information presented and didn’t just take the headline at face value. Continue reading →
  8. Can I Have Sex After a Heart Attack?

    heart attack afterAfter a heart attack, it can feel like everything is different. Your diet, your activity level…your sex life… Heart attacks tend to have emotional consequences, not just physical ones. Even once your doctor has cleared you for physical activity after a heart attack, you may still be nervous about having sex. That’s okay. In fact, it’s understandable. The bedroom is the last place you want to have another heart attack! The good news is that less than 1% of all heart attacks take place during sex, so once you’ve been cleared by your doctor, you’re no more likely to have a heart attack in that moment than anyone else. Continue reading →
  9. Joint Pain and Fatigue: Is My Joint Pain Causing Fatigue?

    fatigue and joint painYour joints hurt. And you’re tired. But is your joint pain and fatigue related? Could your joint pain actually be causing fatigue? And what – if anything - can you do about them? You’ve got questions. Luckily, I’ve got some answers… Continue reading →
  10. Do You Have Unexplained Nerve Pain? Nerve Pain Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

    nerve pain unexplainedYou’re not 100% sure when it started, but you know it’s happening more often. The unexplained nerve pain that have changed your life. Skin burning and tingling. Feeling like you’ve got pins and needles running up and down your arms or legs. Even an electrical sensation under your skin. Some days it may be so bad that even a loving hug or a supportive touch can be too much. But what causes nerve pain? And more importantly, what can you do about them? Continue reading →
  11. Ease Your Dry Winter Skin with 9 Simple Treatments

    Skin winter dryIf you have sensitive skin, then you know that dry winter skin is the worst. Because, let’s be honest, dry skin the winter is no fun even if you don’t have sensitive skin. The cold, dry air outside and the hot, dry air inside work together to make your skin dry, cracked, and itchy. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it’s unattractive as well. Luckily, there are nine simple ways that can work together – or separately - to ease dry winter skin. Continue reading →
  12. 5 Amazing Remedies for Tinnitus

    tinnitus remediesTinnitus. That constant low-level ringing in your ears. It’s easy to think it couldn’t possibly be all that bad – if you don’t have it. But if you do have it, you know it can be that bad. And since it’s often related to aging – it’s most common in people over 40 - just because you don’t have it now doesn’t mean you won’t have it later. Which is why we’re looking at remedies for tinnitus you might not know about.  Continue reading →
  13. 10 Unknown Myths and Truths About Joint Replacement Surgery

    surgery joint replacement When it comes to joint replacement surgery, there’s so much misinformation out there. It’s hard to tell what’s myth and what’s true. In this article, we’ll tackle some of those myths, differentiate between the myths that have arisen based on legitimate concerns and those based in fear or resignation, and finally weed out the fact from fiction of replacing joints. Continue reading →
  14. Stress and Pain: Is Stress the Cause of Your Pain [take this quiz]

    pain and stressDoes your pain cause your stress? Or does your stress cause your pain? We’ve known for a long time that stress and pain are connected. But how do you know which came first? This quiz may give you an indication of which came first, and if stress is actually causing your pain. Continue reading →
  15. 10 Unbelievable Food and Diet Myths Debunked

    myths dietWhen it comes to eating for weight loss and better health, it’s easy to think you know all there is to know. Unfortunately, sometimes what you think is true is actually myth. Persistent myth, but myth nonetheless. Like these ten diet myths that seem to stick around, no matter how often they’re debunked! Continue reading →
  16. Beware of These 10 Eczema Triggers

    triggers eczemaIt’s more than just dry skin – it’s eczema. The dry, scaly, cracking skin. It itches. It hurts. And honestly, sometimes it’s embarrassing. It’s also not your fault. There are eczema triggers that you may not even be aware of – but once you know them, you can avoid them. And maybe you can even stop eczema flare ups before they begin. Continue reading →
  17. How to Get Beautiful Feet in 3 Minutes

    Beautiful feet how to getTo be fair, in the larger scheme of your health, how to get beautiful feet isn’t all that important. But beautiful feet can make you feel better. And anything that boosts your confidence, makes you feel better, or lets you feel pretty even on a bad day is worth thinking about. Plus, you can get beautiful feet in a matter of minutes, which makes how to get beautiful feet an even more worthwhile confidence booster. Follow these five steps to get beautiful feet in no time. Continue reading →
  18. Colorful Food: What Does the Color of Your Food Say About You?

    food colorfulYou use the color of your clothes, your home, even your car to say something about yourself. We all do. But did you know that the color of your foods can say just as much? It’s true. Next time you want to know something about someone, look in their refrigerator or at their plate. Do you see colorful food of bright, vibrant colors? Or Browns, tans, and beiges? Never mind their plates – what do you see when you look at your plate? And what does it all mean? Continue reading →
  19. Too Many Vitamins? The Hidden Dangers of These 3 Common Vitamins

    vitamins too manyThe formula for good health has been around for a long time – exercise, eat well, and take your vitamins. But what if that’s not necessarily a formula for good health after all? What if there are hidden dangers in some of your favorite vitamins and supplements? What if you could actually take too many  vitamins? Would you want to know? We certainly would – which is why we’re looking at the hidden dangers of three of the most common vitamins and minerals. Continue reading →
  20. 10 Surprising Remedies That Heal Cracked Feet

    feet crackedJust because sandal season is winding down doesn’t mean you should ignore your feet. The pain, itching, and discomfort of cracked feet is uncomfortable year-round, even when others can’t see it. So don’t resign yourself to it just because summer’s over – heal cracked feet. And heal them in the privacy of your own home, without the expense or embarrassment of a spa pedicure. Also, avoid the risks associated with running a blade across your heels! These ten remedies that heal cracked feet will get you through the fall and winter staying perfectly smooth. No snagging on your wool socks or snuggly blankets. Just soft, smooth feet year-round. Continue reading →