The truth about fat: the good and the bad


By Betty Murray

Fat is unhealthy. It leads to weight gain, heart problems and numerous other health conditions. Right?

Not necessarily.

For years, our culture has promoted one “low-fat” diet after another, but those diets aren’t doing anyone much good. Your body needs some fat, “good” fat. Fat is a source of energy and it helps the body absorb essential vitamins and nutrients. It is also important for blood clotting and muscle function.

There are some fats that are unhealthy, often labeled “bad” fat. Saturated fats and trans fat fall into the bad fat category. It is these types of fat that lead to weight gain, heart disease and high cholesterol.

Oh the other hand, good fats, such as polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and can prevent heart disease.

How can you tell the difference?

Trans fats occur naturally in meat, but is also manufactured and found in packaged foods like potato chips, cookies, crackers and even some dairy products. Check the labels on food products before you buy to ensure you are not consuming food containing trans fats.

Saturated fats can be found in butter, whole milk, cheeses and dairy products, beef and some cooking oils like vegetable oil. Some types of saturated fats (there are about 24 different types), such as stearic acid found in pure chocolate can actually help lower bad cholesterol.

There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Both are known to lower risk of heart disease and can protect against other serious health problems. Omega-3 fatty acids are found primarily in fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines are all excellent sources of omega-3s), but are also contained in flaxseeds, walnuts and canola oil. Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in oils such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, walnut and corn oil.

Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, most types of nuts and avocados.

Cutting out all sources of fat in your diet is not the answer for a healthy heart and thin waistline. Instead, replace saturated fats and trans fats in your diet with polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Eating a natural, organic diet is one of the best ways to ensure you aren’t consuming saturated fats or trans fats. You should also steer clear of “low-fat” or “reduced fat” food options. Often times these foods contain other unhealthy ingredients used to supplement for flavor when the fat is removed.

When in doubt, always read the nutrition label to find out what types of fat your food contains.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

The truth about fat: the good and the bad


By Betty Murray

Fat is unhealthy. It leads to weight gain, heart problems and numerous other health conditions. Right?

Not necessarily.

For years, our culture has promoted one “low-fat” diet after another, but those diets aren’t doing anyone much good. Your body needs some fat, “good” fat. Fat is a source of energy and it helps the body absorb essential vitamins and nutrients. It is also important for blood clotting and muscle function.

There are some fats that are unhealthy, often labeled “bad” fat. Saturated fats and trans fat fall into the bad fat category. It is these types of fat that lead to weight gain, heart disease and high cholesterol.

Oh the other hand, good fats, such as polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and can prevent heart disease.

How can you tell the difference?

Trans fats occur naturally in meat, but is also manufactured and found in packaged foods like potato chips, cookies, crackers and even some dairy products. Check the labels on food products before you buy to ensure you are not consuming food containing trans fats.

Saturated fats can be found in butter, whole milk, cheeses and dairy products, beef and some cooking oils like vegetable oil. Some types of saturated fats (there are about 24 different types), such as stearic acid found in pure chocolate can actually help lower bad cholesterol.

There are two types of polyunsaturated fats: omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. Both are known to lower risk of heart disease and can protect against other serious health problems. Omega-3 fatty acids are found primarily in fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines are all excellent sources of omega-3s), but are also contained in flaxseeds, walnuts and canola oil. Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in oils such as soybean oil, sunflower oil, walnut and corn oil.

Monounsaturated fats are found in olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, most types of nuts and avocados.

Cutting out all sources of fat in your diet is not the answer for a healthy heart and thin waistline. Instead, replace saturated fats and trans fats in your diet with polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. Eating a natural, organic diet is one of the best ways to ensure you aren’t consuming saturated fats or trans fats. You should also steer clear of “low-fat” or “reduced fat” food options. Often times these foods contain other unhealthy ingredients used to supplement for flavor when the fat is removed.

When in doubt, always read the nutrition label to find out what types of fat your food contains.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Pumpkin Seeds: Small seeds, big health benefits


By Betty Murray

Did you know pumpkin seeds are packed full of nutritional benefits. When it’s time to carve pumpkins this year, don’t be too quick to throw away the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are a delicious and nutritious snack, in fact, they are some of the most nutritious seeds we can eat.

Pumpkin seeds are rich in several nutrients, including Omega 3s, fiber, iron, magnesium and zinc, which are all essential for a healthy body. They have health benefits for both men and women. Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, which helps to promote prostate and bone health in men. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can help individuals with arthritis. The phytosterols found in pumpkin seeds (as well as pistachios, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds) can even help lower cholesterol.

Other ways pumpkin seeds can benefit your health:

  • Eating pumpkin seeds can help you get a good night’s sleep. They are rich in the sleep-enhancing amino acid, tryptophan, which converts to serotonin in your body and helps you sleep.
  • High in protein, which stabilizes blood sugar and helps promote weight loss.
  • Rich in magnesium, which benefits heart health.
  • High in iron, which boosts energy and production of blood.

 

Pumpkin seeds can be purchased in packaged containers year around, but who not take advantage of fresh pumpkin seeds this fall? Now is the ideal time to enjoy the flat, green seeds. If stored in an airtight container and refrigerated, the seeds you pull out of your jack-o-lantern will even stay edible for several months.

There are several ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds, but roasting them is an all-time favorite. To prepare pumpkin seeds, remove them from the pumpkin and remove any pulp on them. Let the seeds dry overnight, before roasting them in the oven. Set your oven temp to about 160 degrees, and bake for 15-20 minutes. This light roasting will help seal in the healthy oils the seeds contain.

The seeds can be eaten on their own, drizzled lightly with olive oil, or added as a crunchy topping to vegetables, salad, cereal and even cookies. There are a number of delicious pumpkin seed recipes, but one favorite recipe is spiced pumpkin seeds.

You will need:

1 ½ tablespoons of melted margarine
½ teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of garlic salt
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups raw whole pumpkin seeds

For complete directions to this recipe, click this link to AllRecipes.com

Carving pumpkins is always a fun, family holiday. Get the most out of your pumpkin carving by enjoying the benefits of a delicious, nutritious pumpkin seed snack.

Betty Murray, CN, HHC, RYT is a Certified Nutritionist & Holistic Health Counselor, founder of the Dallas-based integrative medical center, Wellness and founder of the Metabolic Blueprint wellness program. Betty’s nutrition counseling practice specializes in metabolic and digestive disorders and weight loss resistance. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutritional interventions to improve their health. Betty is a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.