NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

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  1. 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.

    1. Lose weight. It’s no fun. It’s not easy. And it will even take a while for your joints to start feeling better. That being said, losing weight is one of the most effective ways to ease joint discomfort. For every one pound you lose, you reduce the stress on your knee by three pounds and stress on your hip by six. Six pounds of stress off your hip, just by losing a single pound.

    2. Exercise. Luckily, one of the ways to help lose weight is also a great way to relieve joint discomfort: exercise. While it may be tempting to stop moving when your joints hurt, low-impact exercise can actually help keep them flexible and healthy.

    3. Add some spice. While the spice turmeric is relatively unknown in western diets, it’s a staple in Indian kitchens. Its bright yellow hue gives a pop of color to dishes and its unique flavor is worth trying. But what really makes turmeric interesting is the fact that it’s been linked to creating a healthy inflammatory response, so it may help bring relief in your joints with every meal.

    4. Don’t write off all fats. You probably know that omega-3 fatty acids are good for your heart, but you may not realize they’re good for your joints, too – but they are. If you really want relief, make sure you’re getting enough fatty acids into your diet. You’ll need between 2000 and 3000 mg to maximize relief. Look to fatty fishes, olive oil, nuts, and flax seed for variety.

    5. Take your vitamins – Vitamin D, that is. Not only does Vitamin D keep your bones healthy, but it’s been linked to joint health, as well. Unfortunately, many people are missing out on Vitamin D. You can find it in eggs and dairy, but it’s also effective in supplement form.

    6. Know what strains your joints. Part of getting joint relief is knowing what hurts them and simply avoiding it. Repetitive motions can cause joint to become achy and stiff. Pounding exercises such as running and certain aerobic classes can be jarring. Trying to do too much, too fast, can exacerbate joint problems. So be smart, do a little research, and avoid the movements that actively hurt.

    7. Use temperature therapy to your advantage. Some injuries require ice only. Other injuries do better with heat. But the one good thing about dealing with joint discomfort is that your joints respond to both ice and heat. Ice can reduce swelling, while heat can soothe and relax muscles. Whichever one feels good to you in the moment is the one you should choose for relief. Just remember to never put ice or heat directly onto the skin and remove both after about 20 minutes.

    8. Get a massage. If you can find a massage therapist who has training in joint care, regular massage has been shown to provide relief in your joints. Physical therapists can also teach you self-massage techniques that can be helpful at home.

    9. Have a soak. You know that hot bath that feels so good and gives you so much relief? Technically, that’s called hydrotherapy, and you’re right – it really works to soothe joints. So feel free to run a tub and relax.

    10. Acupuncture. The ancient Chinese art of acupuncture has been used to provide relief to your joints for centuries. Just be sure to find a reputable practitioner with professional training and references.

    11. Meditation. From deep breathing to guided imagery and every form in between, meditation has helped people find relief on several levels. First, it can help reduce discomfort. But more than that, meditation helps relieve stress and help you deal with your physical conditions better. In fact, some people find relief from depression right along with joint relief, thanks to meditation.

    12. Get some rest. Your body needs rest in order to heal, and your joints are no different. It’s easy – joint relief requires sleep. But all too often joint discomfort disrupts your sleep, which in turn makes your joints worse…which keeps you up at night… It’s a hard cycle to break. Many of these steps may help. Exercise, hot baths, meditation, all have been shown to help people get to sleep better. You can also try LunaFlex, the only joint relief supplement on the market that’s also designed to help you get to sleep and stay asleep, so your joints get the relief they need.

    Eating well. Relaxing. Moving. Sleeping. As it turns out, finding relief for your joints may become your favorite resolution of the year!

  2. 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.

    The Good News

    Let’s start with the pros of ergonomic desk chairs, because it’s always good to start off on the right foot.

    Ergonomic chairs can help with any number of aches and pains caused by sitting in one place for a long period of time.

    Sitting in the wrong desk chair for too long every day can greatly impact your entire skeletal structure. While sitting may take less energy than standing or walking, it also puts pressure on your spine and hips.

    But an ergonomic desk chair can help minimize that strain. The right ergonomic desk chair can help with or even prevent:

    • Poor posture
    • Tendinitis
    • Circulation issues
    • Muscle strain
    • Back pain
    • Hip and joint pain

    All because an ergonomic desk chair helps you maintain good posture while you sit, keeps your hips and neck in alignment, and supports your lower back.

    Look for a chair that has lumbar support, appropriate arm rests, keeps your feet flat on the ground (or allows you to use a foot rest), and is the right height to keep your neck straight.

    As beneficial as ergonomic desk chairs are, there’s also a move away from any kind of desk chair to a standing desk or work space.

    Research seems to indicate that sitting for more than four hours at a time is so bad for your health that it’s equivalent to smoking cigarettes.

    Studies are showing that by simply standing up, you can improve your overall health and reduce your risk of serious illness significantly.

    As a result, proponents of standing work spaces have made a push to install standing work spaces in offices in order to reduce the amount of time we spend sitting.

    And people who have made the switch to standing workplaces over ergonomic chairs reported seeing improvements in focus, productivity, and energy.

    Workers have even lost weight due to an increased metabolism rate caused by simply using a standing desk. Even back pain that was caused by sitting too much is reduced.

    In light of all this, it’s easy to see why someone would rush out and get an ergonomic desk chair or a standing desk! But before you do…

    The Not-So Good News

    Even ergonomic desk chairs have their down-side. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that there is no one fix that will work for every person, every time.

    It doesn’t matter if your boss or your best friend is now pain-free with perfect posture thanks to their ergonomic desk chair. You shouldn’t race out and spend your hard earned money on the exact same chair until you’ve had a chance to try it out.

    Marketers will have you believe that you’ll get the exact same results – but that’s also the marketers’ job. Trust your own body. If an ergonomic desk chair is so uncomfortable that you do your work at your kitchen table instead, then it’s just a waste of money.

    Also, an ergonomic desk chair is nothing more than a tool. It’s not a fix on its own. You have to be willing to think about your posture and positioning. Get up and move around. Make sure to stretch. Don’t think that a chair – any chair – is going to fix your back pain by itself.

    If ergonomic desk chairs aren’t the guaranteed fix, surely standing desks are, right? Unfortunately, no. As it turns out, your body wasn’t designed to stand for hours on end, either.

    Even though sitting may cause your shoulders, neck, and upper back to hurt, standers report pain in their lower backs, legs, and feet. Standing all day can also aggravate your hips, and even cause circulation issues.

    Plus, if your posture isn’t spot on, you can create joint issues – just like when you’re sitting.

    So What Should You Do?

    As it turns out, neither an ergonomic desk chair nor a standing desk is the great cure-all they were touted to be.

    Sitting all day or standing all day are both bad for your health because, as further research is indicating, it’s more about movement than position.

    Instead of sitting all day in an ergonomic desk chair or standing all day at a standing workstation, try to stand for twenty minutes, then sit for twenty minutes.

    Or, if that’s too distracting, stand for ten minutes out of every hour. Every two hours, walk away from whatever has you sitting and standing just to take break for fifteen minutes or so.

    But most importantly, keep moving throughout your day. If you’re sitting in an ergonomic desk chair or standing at your workstation, don’t spend too much time stationary. That’s the real issue.

  3. 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 →
  4. 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 →
  5. 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 →
  6. 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 →
  7. 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 →
  8. 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 →
  9. 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 →
  10. 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 →
  11. 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 →
  12. 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 →
  13. 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 →
  14. 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 →
  15. 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 →
  16. 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 →
  17. 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 →
  18. 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 →
  19. 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 →
  20. 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 →