Spirit of Women
Mary Washington Healthcare is a member of Spirit of Women, a coalition
of hospitals and healthcare providers that ascribe to high standards of
excellence in women’s health, education and community outreach.
What is Spirit of Women?
Spirit of Women hospitals are committed to making good health easier and
to help women and their families take action that results in better health.
Spirit hospitals aspire to the highest standards in women’s health
outreach and clinical care. Spirit hospitals also uphold Seven Standards
for Excellence in Women’s Health that guarantees that the experience
at a Spirit Hospital will be sensitive and customized to individual healthcare needs.
Not a Spirit of Women Member? Click
here to learn more or sign up now for a free membership.
Questions about the Spirit of Women may be sent to the MWHC Spirit Coordinator at
Every day, you make decisions about what to eat. But how much do you really
think about WHAT you’re putting in your mouth? If you’re like
most people, not very much. Nutritional decisions matter when it comes
to keeping us healthy and preventing illnesses. Poor food choices significantly
raise our risks for developing preventable chronic diseases.
Here are a few tips for eliminating foods that do not benefit your health
Although making healthy food choices can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t
have to be. Focus on eating primarily plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables,
beans, and nuts) and lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, and
low-fat dairy. These foods will fuel your body and your brain and help
you maintain a healthy weight.
The healthiest diet consists of a wide range of natural, non-man-made foods. When selecting produce, think color and variety and include plenty of
both to take advantage of the extensive array of nutrients in plants.
Choose organic or locally grown produce, if possible. Cold water, wild-caught
fish, such as salmon and sardines, are great sources of lean protein and
essential omega-3 fatty acids. Health experts recommend you eat fish twice
weekly. An easy rule of thumb to help you make good food choices is to
primarily shop the perimeter of the grocery store where you’ll find
produce, dairy, seafood, and poultry. Limit purchases from the middle
aisles where stores stock most of the processed foods.
Manufacturers call sugar by different names. Beware of hidden sugars in
your food that have the following labels:
- Brown sugar
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Corn sweetener
- Malt syrup
- Raw sugar
- Turbinado corn syrup
- Invert sugar
Saturated fat. Your body needs saturated fat, but you make enough to meet your own requirements
without adding saturated fats from unhealthy food choices. Limit your
consumption of dietary saturated fats from red meat, butter, and solid
fats (such as lard) to less than 10 percent of your daily calories.
Trans fats. Trans fats, which are found in manufactured products such as baked cookies,
cakes, crackers, and fried foods, have absolutely no health benefits and
actually raise levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) while lowering
levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL). Read ingredient labels
and skip foods that list trans fats.
Processed meats. Meat products, such as hot dogs and luncheon meats, are preserved by smoking,
curing, salting, or adding chemical preservatives. They have little nutritional
value and are associated with an increased risk of health problems, such
as colon cancer. Don’t eat them.
Added salt. Too much dietary salt (sodium chloride) can lead to high blood pressure
and other health problems. Limit your daily salt consumption to less than
2300 mg/day, which is equal to one teaspoon of salt. Most of your daily
sodium intake comes from hidden salts in processed foods, such as canned
soup, dressings, luncheon meats, breads, and even pizza. The amount of
added salt in these products varies widely; check labels and select those
that are lowest in salt.
Added sugars. Sugars add calories to your food without contributing nutrients. When
food labels list sugar as one of the first ingredients, that food is mostly
sugar. The primary culprits for added dietary sugars are sweetened beverages,
such as soda, fruit juices, and sports drinks. Most fast foods and prepackaged
goods are also chocked full of sugar (and other unhealthy ingredients)
that make them taste great but add no nutritional value. Try to limit
your consumption of added sugars to less than 10 percent of your daily calories.
Talk to your doctor about your diet. Learn to read food labels so you can
limit or avoid foods high in added sugar, salt, and trans or saturated fats.
We Can Help
Make an appointment with your primary care physician. If you don't
have a PCM,
schedule an appointment with one of our Mary Washington Medical Group physicians.
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