NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

Join the conversation and stay up to date on all your natural health news. Plus, discover solutions to everything from arthritis to blood sugar.

  1. 5 Healthy Cooking Oils to Boost Your Health

    cooking oils healthyWhen it comes to healthy cooking oils – or health in general – we want decisions to be black and white, good and bad, healthy and unhealthy.

    And sometimes, the choice is that clear cut. We know that trans fats are bad and should be avoided. Period.

    For better or worse, though, when it comes to cooking oils, it’s not always so straight forward.

    That’s why we wanted to look at cooking oils and clear up some confusion.

    Testing Conventional Wisdom

    For decades, conventional wisdom has gone something like this –

    • Trans fats are bad for you
    • Saturated fats are bad for you
    • Polyunsaturated fats are good for you
    • Monounsaturated fats are good for you

    Turns out, of those four statements, only one of them is as definitive as conventional wisdom would have you believe.

    As we’ve already mentioned, trans fats are bad. They’re so bad, in fact, that added trans fats have been banned from foods.

    Companies have until 2018 to remove any added trans fats from products. Obviously, the naturally occurring trans fats in meat and dairy are exempt from the ban, but ALL added trans fats are being removed from processed foods.

    Although saturated fats have been demonized for years, that reaction may be completely unfounded. Instead of thinking about saturated fats as being bad for your health, think about them being neutral.

    That’s right, so long as you don’t actively have heart, blood pressure, or cholesterol problems, saturated fats don’t have to be avoided. There’s even at least one saturated fat that’s good for you – but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

    Let’s talk about polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats before we get into any specific healthy cooking oil examples.

    While in general both are healthy choices when it comes to cooking oils, to say flat out they’re all always healthy cooking oils is a blanket statement that just doesn’t hold up.

    Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can be high in omega-6 fatty acids. Your body needs omega-6 fatty acids – they’ve been linked to reduced risk of heart disease - just not in the amounts most people get them.

    It’s important to maintain a healthy balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats. If you’re skimping on the omega-3s and overdoing it on the omega-6s, those healthy cooking oils become not-so-healthy cooking oils.

    Getting Specific

    All of that information is important – but it’s also still a little vague. You want to know which cooking oils are healthy and will fit into your lifestyle.

    So let’s look at five specific healthy cooking oils.

    Avocado Oil – You’re probably familiar with the health benefits of avocados, but you might not have thought about using avocado oil for cooking. It is, however, one of the best healthy cooking oils around. It helps with cholesterol and blood pressure levels, but it also helps your body absorb the nutrients it needs from other sources. The mild flavor means you can cook with avocado oil without detracting from the taste of your food. And is high smoke point makes it ideal for cooking at high temperatures. Try it in your next stir fry.

    Coconut oil – Remember earlier, we said there was a saturated fat that was good for you? The wait is over: it’s coconut oil. Even though coconut oil is 92% saturated fat, it’s still a healthy cooking oil because of its other benefits! Rather than making you sick and fat, coconut oil has been shown to improve cholesterol, kill bacteria, and even speed up metabolism rates. Plus, you feel fuller, longer, when you eat food cooked in coconut oil. The key is to use virgin coconut oil, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

    Grapeseed oil – Another healthy cooking oil that stands up to high heat, grapeseed oil can be especially useful in grilling or roasting. Buy domestic for a mild, neutral flavor, or imported for a grape-ier, fruity flavor. Since grapeseed oil is high in omega-6s, though, use it sparingly and in balance with plenty of omega-3s!

    Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) – If you’re only going to use one healthy cooking oil, make it olive oil. It’s considered one of the cornerstones of a healthy diet, and for good reason. EVOO is packed with antioxidants AND flavor. But more importantly than that, it’s been shown to provide numerous health benefits. Olive oil lowers bad cholesterol, while raising good cholesterol, so you get the best of both worlds. In fact, EVOO has been shown to support and improve the markers of overall health across the board. Finally, it’s a nice balance of saturated, poly-and mono-unsaturated fats.

    Canola oil – We saved this one for last because it’s even more controversial than coconut oil. For years, canola oil was touted as the healthy cooking oil to choose. And maybe it was an okay choice in the days before GMO crops. But things have changed – and we’ve learned a thing or two about canola oil. 90% of all canola oil processed in the United States and Canada comes from GMO crops. That means exposure to chemicals, pesticides, and the illnesses and health problems that come with them. But we’ve also learned more about how canola oil is expressed, as well as where it comes from. The processing itself requires toxic chemicals in order to end up with canola oil. Officially, there are no toxins left in the oil after the process is complete – but it would only take a trace to cause real problems. So why is canola on this list at all? Because pure, organic, cold-pressed canola oil is a healthy cooking oil. Organically grown crops result in organic canola oil. And cold-pressing doesn’t require toxic chemicals. But you can’t just grab any old canola oil off the shelves and get the healthy cooking oil you want. Make sure your canola oil is labelled “organic” and “cold-pressed” or “cold expressed”. Otherwise, choose another oil entirely.

    Don’t get overwhelmed by all this new information. Yes, choosing a healthy cooking oil used to be simple. Guess what? It still is!

    Researchers simply have more information than they used to, and it’s our job to pass it along to you. So choose any of these five healthy cooking oils and let your oil help boost your health!

  2. 10 Tips to Cure Acid Reflux Naturally

    acid reflux cureThat burning sensation in the middle of your chest.

    That acidy taste in the back of your throat.

    You may think they are the issues, but they might just be the symptoms.

    If you experience these more than twice a week, you could be dealing with more than just heartburn.

    You could be dealing with acid reflux. The good news is, that you can cure acid reflux at home, naturally.

    And in this article, we’ll tell you how…

    Acid Reflux Symptoms

    Along with heartburn that occurs more than twice a week, be aware of these symptoms:

    • Regurgitation – that sour, acidy taste in the back of your throat
    • Bloating
    • Burping
    • Hiccoughs
    • Nausea
    • A feeling that food is stuck in your throat

    If these sound familiar, it’s time to talk about more than just heartburn relief. It’s time to talk about a cure for acid reflux.

    Talk to your doctor to get an official diagnosis, but while you’re waiting for you appointment, go ahead and start here…

    Ways to Cure Acid Reflux

    1. Aloe. You already love aloe for burns, but now you’ll love it to cure acid reflux, too! Since aloe helps reduce inflammation, it can help calm the stomach – and the esophagus – as well. Drink up to a half cup before meals. Just be aware that aloe can work as a laxative, so increase your dose slowly or get a brand that has had the laxative properties removed.

    2. Banana. Since bananas contain a natural antacid, they are perfect for curing acid reflux. Eat one ripe banana every day, a few hours before bedtime, for best results.

    3. Baking soda. This was probably your grandmother’s cure for acid reflux, and for good reason: it works. Baking soda neutralizes acid, so mix a teaspoon into a glass of water and stir until it’s dissolved. Then drink slowly.

    4. Ginger tea. Another drink, ginger tea can help calm any number of stomach issues, including acid reflux. Simmer fresh ginger in hot water for about thirty minutes, then enjoy. Drink it before a meal, hot or cold.

    5. An inclined bed. While this one may seem strange – and it is, honestly – it really can help cure acid reflux. Elevate the head of your bed by six to eight inches. You can buy bed lifts, or just prop the feet of your bed on bricks or books. The key is to only lift the head of your bed, so there’s an incline. Don’t just use pillows, either, because most people move and shift in their sleep.

    6. Licorice. The natural healing properties of licorice can help with acid reflux, but be careful because eating too much can have other serious side effects. Use it in moderation by chewing licorice tablets before certain meals.

    7. Loosen your belt. What separates acid reflux from heartburn is that the acid is actually moving back up into your esophagus. If you’re wearing tight pants or a skirt, you’re adding to that by pushing the acid upward. Loosen your waistline and give the acid more room to stay in your stomach.

    8. Watch your posture. Slumping, either when standing or sitting, compresses your organs, which can cause acid to move into your esophagus. Stand up straight so that your digestive system has enough room to be working properly.

    9. Quit smoking. Have you quit yet? Here’s another reason to do so. Smoking contributes to acid reflux. You know you should quit. Let it be for real this time.

    10. Track your trigger foods. Obviously, foods are directly related to an acid reflux flare up, so the best way to cure acid reflux is to know them. When you feel symptoms coming on, make note of what foods you’ve eaten recently, what you’ve been doing, and even your posture. It shouldn’t take long to find a pattern.

    Don’t keep pretending you’re fine, or worse, keep reaching for a pill. CURE acid reflux, naturally. Your dinner isn’t supposed to hurt, after all.

  3. Quick and Effective Thyroid Exercises

    Posted by: on
    Exercises thyroidWhether you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, thyroid exercises can be an essential part of your treatment plan. The key with thyroid exercises is to be smart about them, because, yes, both diseases can make exercising difficult. But that doesn’t mean you should stop moving! In fact, it’s just the opposite… Continue reading →
  4. Safe-Proof Your House: Avoid These 8 Harmful Household Toxins

    Posted by: on
    toxins householdIt’s honestly frightening how many household toxins may be lurking in common, every day products. Especially when you’ve taken deliberate steps to make healthier choices and eliminate chemicals and toxins from your home and lifestyle. But the truth is that there are still products hiding household toxins so that you probably don’t even realize you’ve brought them into your home. And scarier still? Some of them aren’t required to be on any label, so you could go your whole life and never know. While a comprehensive list is too long for one article, here are eight of the most harmful household toxins, found in some of the most common products – Continue reading →
  5. 8 Natural Gingivitis Remedies That Will Bring You Relief Today

    remedies gingivitisPeople focus on overall health…heart health…mental health…but rarely do you hear much about oral health. After all, there’s not a lot of mystery to oral health. You brush your teeth twice a day, floss, and see the dentist. Except that, sometimes, that’s not enough. Maybe you’re not brushing well enough or flossing often enough. However it happens, sometimes you end up with gingivitis and needing a gingivitis remedy. The good news is that you’re not alone. The better news is that gingivitis remedies are easy to find, and even easier to do. Once you know it’s time to step up your oral hygiene routine… Continue reading →
  6. The Ultimate On-the-Go Anti-Inflammatory Cookbook

    Inflammation doesn’t just affect your joints. Inflammation is one of the leading causes of systemic, physical problems. In other words, you should be thinking about anti-inflammatory foods and recipes even if your joints don’t hurt! Which is why we’ve designed an anti-inflammatory cookbook, with some general guidelines and very specific recipes for every meal of the day. Use the recipes as they are, tweak them to suit your tastes, or just draw from the general section and create your own anti-inflammatory cookbook! The choice is yours. Continue reading →
  7. The Ultimate Guide to Great Summer Health

    health summerThere’s really no time like summer. The sun is warm, the food is fresh, people are happy – and it’s easy to maintain GREAT summer health. It just takes a little bit of planning. Because you want to be able to embrace and enjoy every day of summer! Continue reading →
  8. 8 Hidden Food Toxins You're Probably Eating

    toxins foodYou do your best to eat clean, stay all-natural, and live as healthy a life as possible. Unfortunately, there are some food toxins hiding in plain site that may be sabotaging even your best efforts! Continue reading →
  9. The Mysterious Link Between Processed Foods and Cancer

    Posted by: on
    cancer and processed foodsWe’ve known heavily processed foods are less healthy than raw foods for decades, but how much physical damage they can cause is only now truly beginning to be understood. It’s not just that they’re full of fat, sodium, and preservatives – as it turns out, heavily processed foods are directly linked to cancer. Even the so-called “healthy” alternatives in your frozen food or baking aisle aren’t really healthy. In fact, it doesn’t matter which aisle you’re in. If you’re buying a heavily processed food, it can be linked to cancer. Continue reading →
  10. 7 Hidden Food Intolerances You Might Have

    Posted by: on
    intolerances foodYou’ve heard about food intolerances – to gluten, yeast, and more – but you aren’t sure if that’s what’s going on with you. Well, we’re about to help you figure it out! Continue reading →
  11. Listen to Your Gut: The Complete Guide of Good and Bad Gut Bacteria

    Posted by: on
    Nothing is more important than your health – but if don’t know how to listen to your gut, you aren’t taking care of your health the way you think you are. Don’t get us wrong, eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising are essential steps to maintaining your health and we’re not arguing that. But listening to your gut is the piece you may be missing. We’ve been taught that bacteria is bad, and when it’s on your kitchen counter or in a scrape on your knee, it is. Bad when it’s in your gut, it’s the cornerstone of health. Continue reading →
  12. 6 Quick and Fun Exercises to Improve Your Spinal Health

    Posted by: on
    health spinalHow often do you think about spinal health? Never, right? That’s probably your answer – but it may not be entirely true. Because if you think about posture, you’re thinking about spinal health, if you realize it or not! Keeping your spine long, straight, strong, and flexible – in other words, maintaining good posture – really is the same thing as taking care of spinal health. Standing tall and sitting up straight are perfect first steps to proper posture, but if you aren’t doing exercises as well then you aren’t doing everything you can to take care of your spinal health. Which is why we’ve come up with these six exercises to help improve spinal health. Continue reading →
  13. How to Avoid These 9 Dangerous Effects of Stress on the Brain

    Posted by: on
    [caption id="attachment_7748" align="alignleft" width="300"]stress on the brain effects stress on the brain effects[/caption] 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 →
  14. 7 Reasons Why You Should Eliminate Sugar For Good

    Posted by: on
    sugar eliminateFor many people trying to lose weight, a good first step is to reduce or eliminate sugar from their diets. But what if you aren’t trying to lose weight? What if you’re just trying to live the healthiest life you can live? The answer is simple – it’s STILL time to eliminate sugar from your diet! Because sugar contributes to so many more health problems than just obesity. Continue reading →
  15. Living With Psoriasis: How to Treat Your Skin Naturally and Avoid Flare-Ups

    Posted by: on
    psoriasis living withLiving with psoriasis can be a roller coaster. Flare-ups can last months – and then it can just clear up on its own. You may feel fine one day, and have a flare-up the very next one, with no warning. When you get frustrated, it’s important to remember these two facts: 1. While there is no cure, there are treatments that can help. 2. While a flare-up may sometimes appear out of nowhere, there are triggers, as well. Once you identify your triggers, living with psoriasis can become easier. Continue reading →
  16. Avoiding Sunlight Could Hurt Your Health: 7 Benefits of Sunlight

    Posted by: on
    Maybe you’ve wised up over the years. Or maybe it only took one good sunburn to teach you a lesson. Either way, you’re probably spending little to no time at all in the sun any longer. Because the benefits of sunlight just don’t outweigh the dangers. Except…  what if that’s not completely true? What if there are benefits of sunlight that you’re missing by staying out of the sun so religiously? Because that’s what we’re here to discuss today. The ways you’re actually harming yourself, not helping, by avoiding the sun completely – and just what you can do about it! Continue reading →
  17. Can Sitting All Day Shorten Your Life?

    Posted by: on
    all day sittingYou’ve heard the back and forth – one side says sitting all day is the modern equivalent of smoking. The other side says it’s not that bad, and anyway, standing has its own drawbacks. What’s the truth? Just how bad is sitting all day? What can you do to counteract its effects? In this article, we’re going to take a hard, honest look at what sitting all day really does to your body, and what it means to you. Continue reading →
  18. The Ultimate Guide to Treating Joint Instability

    Posted by: on
    instability jointsMost of the conversation about joint health is focused on arthritis, and that’s appropriate. But it also means that joint instability doesn’t get much attention – and that’s not appropriate. Because joint instability can be painful and difficult to live with in its own right. And surprisingly, joint instability can lead to arthritis. Instead of complaining about the lack of information about joint instability, we’re going to talk about it. Let’s look at joint instability, why it’s a problem, and what you can do to keep your joints healthy. Continue reading →
  19. Could Gum Chewing Be Linked to Cancer?

    chewing gumGum chewing can’t possibly be bad for you. It keeps your breath fresh and, for many people, it’s instrumental in kicking the smoking habit and losing weight. Chewing gum is a harmless habit, right? Not necessarily… Turns out, gum chewing – or at least some common ingredients in chewing gum - may actually be linked to cancer. Continue reading →
  20. 7 Food and Drug Interactions to Steer Clear Of

    Drug and food interactions Before you start taking any new medication or supplement, you ask your doctor about it. And that’s a smart move. But do you ask your doctor about the foods you eat? Probably not. Unfortunately, you could be missing food and drug interactions that are making your medications less effective – or even dangerous! Check out these seven food and drug interactions to make sure you’re as healthy as you think you are! Continue reading →