Nutrition Tips

Eating for energy

Thanks to everyone who attended our October Health Matters focusing on nutrition.

On October 9, PWC integrative dietitian nutritionist Jena Savadsky Griffith presented “Eating for Energy” in PWC’s monthly Health Matters program. A few takeaway messages from her program:

  • While we all have individual needs and preferences, eating a diet that’s centered around plants is ideal. Whether you add beans or meat, change what you eat daily for metabolic flexibility.
  • Avoid foods that deplete your energy such as sugar, artificial sweeteners and coffee.
  • The food most missing from our diet is bitter greens, such as kale, collards and bok choy. Not only do the bitter greens improve health, but greens and mushrooms together can decrease the risk of breast cancer by 70%.
  • To receive the most nutrition out of your meals, make sure you chew at least 30 times.
  • Head outdoors to get morning sunlight on your eyes and skin to recharge your brain and body!

If you’re interested in knowing more about eating for energy or have other dietary interests or concerns you’d like to discuss in an appointment, please contact Jena at jsgriffith@culpeperwellness.org or by calling 540-445-5387.

Health Matters is a free program open to the public that explores a variety of topics related to health. It is held on the second Tuesday of each month at Powell Wellness Center.

Seasonal eating

Although Virginia’s apple harvest season can start as early as June, the majority are harvested in September, October and early November. According to many traditional medicine systems, and now scientifically backed, is that apples appear at the exact time that we need them.

With such a high water content, apples have naturally cooling properties, so by eating them, we help to get rid of the summer heat. Trapped summer heat contributes to mucous formation, colds and congestion. Apples are also one of the best food sources of a plant pigment called quercetin, an antioxidant that has anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory benefits which can help fall allergies.  In addition, several studies have confirmed that quercetin is a natural anti-viral agent and can help boost your immune system keeping the away the flu and other viruses.

To top it all off, a study done in 2013 showed that eating an apple each day was just as effective as a statin drug for cholesterol, but with less side effects. With all of this evidence, the old adage “an apple a day helps keep the doctor away” has stood the test of time. If you’re confused about what to eat, always look to what foods nature is providing!

Contributed by PWC’s Integrative Dietitian Nutrionist Jena Savadsky Griffith, who may be reached at 540-431-2397 or jsgriffith@culpeperwellness.org.

 

Understanding chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation increases your risk for serious diseases and contributes to a range of symptoms:

  • Body pain
  • Constant fatigue and insomnia
  • Depression, anxiety, mood disorders
  • Constipation, diarrhea or acid reflux
  • Weight gain
  • Frequent infections

An anti-inflammatory diet is one way to manage these symptoms. There are four main strategies:

  • Replace trans fats, omega 6 fats and saturated fats with omega 3 and monounsaturated fats.
  • Boost fiber intake with whole and sprouted grains along with fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat more antioxidants and phytonutrients by increasing fruits and vegetables.
  • Balance your blood sugar by eating carbohydrates, protein, fat and phytonutrients at meals and as snacks.

You may be wondering what foods you should eat. Anti-inflammatory foods to eat include:

  • Cold water fish like salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
  • Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale and romaine lettuce
  • Yellow, orange and red vegetables
  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards  and radishes
  • Citrus fruit and berries
  • Flaxseed (and flax oil), hemp, chia and other seeds
  • Avocados, olive oil, walnuts and other nuts
  • Black and green teas
  • Onions, garlic, herbs and spices
  • Fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut and yogurt

These are the foods contributing to inflammation that you should eat less often:

  • Foods with trans fats, hydrogenated and refined oils, oils high in omega 6 such as corn, cottonseed, grapeseed, peanut, safflower, soy and sunflower) and foods fried in oil
  • Foods with a long shelf life such as chips and crackers
  • Red meats and processed meats
  • Refined grains, starches and sugars
  • Artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors

 

Contributed by PWC’s Integrative Dietitian Nutrionist Jena Savadsky Griffith. If you would like more information about chronic inflammation, including measures you can take to reduce inflammation, Jena may be reached at 540-431-2397 or jsgriffith@culpeperwellness.org.

(Source for symptoms information: StatPearls, Chronic Inflammation)

 

 

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