NorthStar Nutritionals Blog

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  1. Why is My Hair Turning White?

    white hair turningFor some, it happens in middle age. For others, much sooner.

    But eventually you’ll notice it – the first gray hair.

    And you’ll realize it’s happening to you: your hair is turning white.

    But why does hair turn white? And what, if anything, can you do about it?

    In this article, we’ll look at what causes people to go gray, dispel some myths, and look at some options.

    The Science Behind Gray Hair

    Just like your skin, your hair has pigments called melanin. In hair, the two types of melanin are eumelanin and pheomelanin.

    Eumelanin is dark brown to black. Pheomelanin is reddish yellow. All hair color is created from a blend of these two types of melanin.

    Your hair is turning white because your body has stopped creating these pigments in the same amount it once did.

    Charcoal or silver hair is hair that still has some melanin, where white hair is hair that has no melanin left at all.

    The good news is that your hair turning white is a matter of genetics and DNA, not diet, not overall health, not lifestyle choices, or stress.

    So you didn’t do anything wrong just because you’re going gray.

    The bad news is that white hair is a matter of genetics, and DNA, not diet, overall health, and stress…

    Which means that there’s really nothing you can do to stop it or slow it down once you start noticing it happening.

    But I Heard Gray Hair Is Caused By…

    There are a lot of rumors out there about why hair turns white. Some people believe stress can cause gray hair.

    Some people think plucking your first grays will cause more to grow in faster. Or even over-coloring your hair is another rumor.

    In some animal studies, exercise seemed to keep hair from going gray, and stress made them go gray faster.

    But that same result couldn’t be repeated in human trials. So far, there’s no scientific indication that stress causes hair to turn white.

    Also, since each hair has its own melanin, plucking or even coloring an individual hair won’t affect the other hairs. So you can’t speed up or slow down the graying process by plucking or coloring.

    One study, however, has indicated hydrogen peroxide buildup may play a part in your hair turning white. Your hair naturally produces small amounts of hydrogen peroxide.

    Over time, it can build up and that build up may contribute to a loss of hair color.

    But again, it takes time and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it, so even this reason for your hair turning white ends up having the same impact as simple aging.

    Looking Your Best with White Hair

    Men have it a little easier when they go gray than women do. It’s still not easy, mind you, but easier.

    Men who go gray have a better chance of being considered “distinguished” “mature” or “responsible”.

    Women who go gray aren’t always as lucky. Whether you’re male or female though, deciding to embrace your gray can be a major decision.

    Here are some ways to not just accept your gray locks, but look fabulous while doing it.

    Pick Your Protection. White hair has a different texture than pigmented hair. So, it’s prone to a whole different kind of environmental damage. Once you decide to embrace your white hair, protect it. Pick products specially designed to offer UV and environmental protection specifically for gray hair.

    Moisturize – Wisely. Because white hair has a different texture, the same hair products you’ve been using to keep your hair conditioned and styled may not work as well any longer. Make sure you’re using light-weight products that won’t weigh your hair down or make it look dusty.

    Keep Your New Color. You still have hair color. Now, it’s just white…or silver…or charcoal. Keep it from going dull or turning yellow by using a shampoo with a silver or even blue undertone. Just be sure you only use it a time or two per month to avoid the dreaded “blue hair” syndrome.

    Ditch Your Old Color. If you’ve been coloring your hair, making the transition to all white could be a challenge as it grows out. Talk to your hair dresser about what options he or she recommends. There are ways to make the transition from dye job to all natural look better. And while you’re in their chair, ask about a new cut or style that will highlight your white, rather than make you look old.

    Change Your Colors. This one’s for women, mostly, but men might want to consider it when choosing their clothes, too. The colors you wore as a blonde, a brunette, or a redhead probably won’t work any longer. From makeup to the clothes closest to your face, the colors you choose can help your white hair shine – or drag you down. So play with palettes and try jewel tones or even metallic silver. If you can’t get the hang of a new look, don’t be afraid to ask for help from department store professionals.

    Honestly, why you’re going gray doesn’t really matter all that much. It’s natural and almost out of your control.

    But what does matter is that you realize you’re still beautiful, still handsome, and still relevant.

    Embrace your gray. Your hair may be white, but only you can decide if it makes you old.

     

  2. The Health Benefits of Avocados: 12 Ways to Boost Your Health

    avocados health benefitsHave you gotten on board with avocados yet?

    Because I’d be willing to bet that once you’ve heard about the health benefits of this unusual fruit, it’s going to become a staple in your kitchen.

    You’ve probably seen them in the produce section of your grocery store, and know them as the main ingredient in guacamole.

    But there’s so much more to an avocado than just a chip dip.

    A sandwich spread, an addition to salads, even a healthier alternative to butter in some recipes.

    But are the health benefits of avocados really worth it? Most definitely. Check out these 12 reasons you should be eating more avocados

    1. Arthritis support. Avocados have anti-inflammatory properties, which is a fancy way of saying that they can help with the swelling, discomfort, and overall symptoms of arthritis.

    2. Blood sugar. Blood sugar management is an important aspect of maintaining your health – and avocados help in two ways. First, they’re full of monounsaturated fats, which are the good kind of fats that can help your body process insulin correctly. But also, because avocados are high in soluble fiber, they can help prevent blood sugar spikes and drops.

    3. Bone health. Vitamin K helps keep bones strong and healthy as you age. Half an avocado can give you up to 25% of your daily recommended allowance of this essential vitamin.

    4. Fight cancer. You know other fruits, especially dark berries, are helpful in your fight to avoid cancer, but you may be able to count avocados in there as well. Several markers, including the unique combination of anti-inflammatories and antioxidants, indicate that avocados may help reduce the risk of various cancers.

    5. Lower cholesterol. In one study, it only took people with high cholesterol levels one week to see an improvement in cholesterol levels when they added avocado to their diet. One week to see bad cholesterol levels drop and good cholesterol levels rise. That’s a health benefit of avocados worth talking about!

    6. Fiber. What isn’t fiber good for? It can help you maintain a healthy weight. It’s essential to digestion. Your gut needs it to stay healthy. It’s good for heart health. It aids in maintaining blood sugar levels. Fiber is linked to lower risks for several diseases. The list goes on and on – and avocados are packed with fiber. Plus, they have both soluble and insoluble fiber, so you get the benefits of both.

    7. Heart health. We’ve mentioned cholesterol, but let’s look at what avocados can do for your whole heart health. The high levels of mono- and polyunsaturated fats in avocados make them one of the best foods you can eat for your heart. Not only do avocados help reduce your risk of heart disease, but they help with blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke, as well.

    8. Support your immune system. While all antioxidants can help you stay healthy, there is one in particular known for supporting you immune system – glutathione. And guess what’s a great source of glutathione? Avocados, of course!

    9. Nutrition on so many levels. All of the health benefits of avocados could probably be summed up in this one benefit. See avocados have twenty essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be at its healthiest, including: 26% of your vitamin K, 20% of your folate, 17% of your vitamin C, 14% of your vitamin B5, 13% of your B6, and 10% of your vitamin E. And that’s just six of them.

    10. Potassium. Speaking of nutrients, one of the important ones that people tend to forget about is potassium. Potassium helps with muscle function, controlling blood sugar, and cell and nerve function. Many people will reach for a banana to keep their potassium levels in line – but avocados have even more.

    11. Young-looking skin. Part of keeping skin fresh and glowing is making sure you get the right nutrients on the inside, as well as the right creams on the outside. Avocados have the vitamin C and vitamin E your skin needs to stay glowing and stay looking young.

    12. Protect your vision. Just like your skin can change as you age, so can your vision. One of the best health benefits of avocados is that they can help protect and maintain your eyesight. Avocados are a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two important antioxidants for eye health.

    Avocados don’t have to be something you pass by at the store, or even something you order to go with tortilla chips.

    The health benefits of avocados deserve so much more attention than just the occasional order of guacamole.

    So get a little adventurous and embrace the avocado – and all of the health benefits that come with it!

     

     

     

  3. Hidden Sugar: These 10 Foods and Drinks Will Shock You

    sugar hiddenPart of living a healthy life means making smart foods choices. So, you’ve been choosing healthy foods over junk, and really watching what you eat. Good for you! But what happens when there’s hidden sugar? Especially in foods that are supposed to be the healthy and smart choices? They’re the worst – the so-called healthy foods with hidden sugars. Because you know to stay away from regular sodas, high calorie coffee drinks, and desserts. It’s the hidden sugar that can add up unexpectedly and undermine your hard work. So check your fridge and pantry for these – Continue reading →
  4. 4 Ways to Help With a Leaky Bladder

    bladder leakyA leaky bladder can mean different things to different people. Maybe it’s as minor as a leak when you sneeze. Or maybe it’s as major as waking up in the middle of the night needing to change the sheets. Either way, know that you’re not alone. Since 2011, about 33 million Americans have been dealing with a leaky bladder. Continue reading →
  5. Is Bottled Water Bad For You?

    Bad for you bottled waterWhen bottled water first came out, it was all the rage. Remember, everyone jumped on the bottled water bandwagon and swore they would never drink tap again. Then we heard about the chemical BPA leaking out of the plastic and into the water we were drinking, and everyone swore off bottled water. Now, most bottled water companies have removed BPA from their plastic bottles. But where does that leave us? Is bottled water bad for you? Or not? Continue reading →
  6. Simple Sunscreen Alternatives

    alternative sunscreenYou’ve known for years that too much sun causes skin damage, so you put the days of slathering yourself in butter and stretching out by the pool behind you. Nowadays, you’re more likely to be slathering yourself in sunscreen, and staying in the shade. The problem is you might be doing more harm than good every time you apply sunscreen. The upsetting reality is that most of the well-known and common sunscreens can be just as bad, in their own ways. Continue reading →
  7. Benefits of Going Vegan: Could It Improve Your Blood Sugar?

    going vegan benefitsWhen it comes to improving blood sugar, you know it all – the expensive medications, the diligent calorie counting, the strenuous exercise, the unrelenting stress. Then there’s the being prepared for the blood sugar spikes, as well as the times your blood sugar plummets. Sure, you’re in control of your blood sugar…more or less…but it’s certainly no easy task. What if it didn’t have to be? What if simply going vegan could improve your blood sugar? But if it were that easy, surely you would’ve heard about it, right? Not necessarily. But it’s true – one of the many benefits of going vegan may be improving your blood sugar numbers. Continue reading →
  8. How to Naturally Avoid Blood Sugar Spikes

    spikes blood sugarYou know when you’re blood sugar has spiked. The fatigue, thirst, blurry vision, and foggy brain are all dead giveaways. Not to mention that nervous feeling you sometimes get. Even if you don’t experience all of them, you probably recognize some of them. These symptoms are not the only reason you need to avoid blood sugar spikes. As aggravating as they can be, the long-term implications of high blood sugar are far worse. High blood sugar can increase your risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, and more. But there’s good news – it is possible to avoid blood sugar spikes naturally, so that you can stay healthy and in control for a long time to come. Continue reading →
  9. The Top 6 Health Benefits of Pomegranates

    pomegranate health benefitsYou know what we get excited about? When a superfood lives up to its reputation. That’s why we’re excited about the health benefits of pomegranates – because they bring so much to the nutritional table. Just how many health benefits do you get from this exotic fruit? Check these out – Continue reading →
  10. 6 Different Sleeping Positions and How They Affect Your Health

    Different positions sleepingYou know that getting between seven and eight hours of sleep a night is good for your physical and mental health, but the story doesn’t stop there. What most people don’t realize is that the different sleeping positions we choose can actually affect our health. Continue reading →
  11. What is Acai Berry? The Secrets Behind the Superfood

    acai berry what isBy now you’ve probably heard about the acai berry - how it’s the latest superfood, how people are loving what it’s doing for their health…but what is acai berry? In this day and age, information moves so quickly that you can hear about something and not actually know what it is. So if you’re feeling that way about the health benefits of the acai berry, that’s okay because here is everything you need to know about it (including the correct pronunciation). Continue reading →
  12. Skin Bruising: Bruising More the Older I Get

    bruising skinA bruise after cracking your shin on the coffee table is one thing. But the older you get, it seems to take less than a hard knock to create a big bruise. Some mornings you may even wake up and have no idea where a bruise came from. You’re not imagining it though, and you’re not crazy – skin bruising can occur more consistently the older you get. Continue reading →
  13. Cinnamon and Weight Loss: Are they REALLY Linked?

    weight loss cinnamon When we first heard about cinnamon being linked to weight loss, we were intrigued and I’ll be the first to admit it. Since reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is an important part of overall health, anything natural that might help with weight loss is worth looking at. So, what exactly did we find from our own research? Is there a correlation between cinnamon and weight loss? Can it really help you lose weight? What are the health benefits of cinnamon? Continue reading →
  14. How Does Stress Affect Your Immune System?

    Stress immune system Sure, you know stress can make you feel bad, but did you know that it can actually make you sick? Because of the way stress affects your immune system, it does more than just make you feel bad – it really can make you sick. And the longer you’re stressed, the more your immune system is affected. Which is a problem because, according to a survey done by the American Psychological Association in 2011, “most” Americans report having moderate to high stress levels, and 44% of people feel like their stress levels went up in the five previous years. So, how does stress affect your immune system? Let’s look… Continue reading →
  15. Are Whole Grains Linked to Helping Fight Cancer?

    cancer fightWhen it comes to your health, it seems just about every food has been labeled the latest superfood. It’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. And sometimes, let’s be honest – it doesn’t really matter. So long as food is healthy, it doesn’t have to be a superfood. It’s okay for it to just be good for you. But when it comes to cancer, you want more than promises or catch phrases. That’s where whole grains come in. Because whole grains aren’t just sold as a superfood – whole grains actually are linked to helping fight cancer. Continue reading →
  16. 5 Natural Ways to Prevent Diabetes

    Diabetes preventSome are looking for ways to prevent diabetes because their doctors have told them it’s time to. Others want to prevent diabetes because they’ve made some choices that have put them at risk. We all want to change things before we have that daunting conversation with our doctors. Whatever has caused you to start thinking about diabetes, one thing is constant across the board – if you’re reading this article, you’re ready to find natural, healthy ways to prevent diabetes. Continue reading →
  17. 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 →
  18. How to Improve Your Health by Standing

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    standing healthFor years, people thought that if you went to the gym, or for a good walk some days a week, that it was enough exercise to keep you healthy and physically fit. Unfortunately, we’re learning that this is no longer the case. More and more studies are indicating that sitting can be detrimental to your health (even if you do go to the gym every day) and that standing can improve your health. In this article, we’ll look at what sitting for too long does to your body, how to improve your health by standing, and ways you can find the right balance. Continue reading →
  19. 5 Ways to Treat Depression and Anxiety Without a Pill

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    treat depression waysSome days are harder than others – that’s the truth. But you still want to maintain your healthy lifestyle, so you’re looking for ways to treat depression and anxiety without pills. While depression and anxiety can be frustrating, the good news is that we understand more about both conditions than ever before. Which means there are ways to treat depression and anxiety without pills that past generations didn’t have. Continue reading →
  20. How Important is Sleep for Your Mental Health?

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    mental health sleepWhen you don’t sleep well for a night or two, you may be a little grumpy…a little irritable. But that’s to be expected. After all, you didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before. But what happens to your mental health when you keep missing sleep? Just how important is sleep for your mental health? Continue reading →