How UM Charles Regional’s Emergency Department Cares for the Region’s Most Vulnerable Patients

CRMC Emergency Department Photo

In January 2018, a typical afternoon took a frightening turn for the Bean family of Waldorf, Maryland. Chris, a police officer, had picked up the couple’s older son, Jake, 13, from school. And Kimberly, a real estate agent was driving their 7-year-old son, Xavier, home.

Kimberly glanced at Xavier in the rearview mirror and saw his eyes blinking.

“I thought he was smiling at first,” she said. “I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then I turned my whole head around and looked at him, and I could see that he was having a seizure. It scared the heck out of me.”

Kimberly pulled the car over, rushed to the back seat and called her husband, who requested an ambulance through the police dispatch.

Within minutes, Xavier and his parents were at the Emergency Department (ED) of UM Charles Regional Medical Center (UM CRMC).

“They took him in, and it was like something out of a movie or TV, where all the doctors and nurses just swarm in and they’re taking turns at checking on things,” Kimberly remembers. “But with Xavier, it was super challenging.”

Xavier is autistic and nonverbal; he is also intellectually disabled and developmentally delayed.

Xavier needed a CT scan to look for abnormal growths, blood and urine tests, and a spinal tap to rule out meningitis, encephalitis, and bleeding in the brain, as doctors tried to get to the root of his seizure. After several hours, the family left the ED with a referral to a neurologist — and nothing but gratitude for UM CRMC’s doctors, nurses and staff.

“It was an exhausting day, but we were pleased they went through the whole gamut of tests,” Kimberly said. “They accomplished so much and did so with incredible patience and compassion.”

A Commitment to Care

Providing such service is an everyday occurrence at UM CRMC’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

“Coming out of a seizure is very confusing for any patient,” Richard Ferraro, MD, chief of medical staff at UM CRMC, and chairman and medical director of the Department of Emergency Medicine, said. “That’s a time where patients can be combative, extremely emotional, and very confused. It’s really important to show patience and perseverance because you really do need to get the work-up done and to not give up because the patient isn’t able to understand everything. It takes a special type of disposition to do that.”

Dr. Ferraro Photo

The emergency medicine team is well-equipped for these situations. Doctors and physician assistants train with children of all ages and see them on a daily basis. In fact, children represent 15 to 20 percent of the patients who come through the doors of the ED, Dr. Ferraro noted. The department also relies on a team of nurses with extra training with pediatric patients whom they can call on when a child with special needs comes to the hospital.

“Your mindset changes when you are dealing with a child, especially one with a seizure or cognitive impairment,” Melissa Sager, RN, one of the emergency medicine nurses on duty the day Xavier was taken to the hospital, said. “These children are so sensitive to everything around them. If you show that you’re scared or nervous, they can really feel those emotions from you. We try to stay calm and confident and work with the parents to make sure they understand everything we’re doing.”

“Our ED is focused on our community members and committed to providing the best care,” Debbie Shuck-Reynolds, MSN, nurse manager of the Department of Emergency Medicine, said. “The one aspect about our team that I find endearing is the concept that we care for each of our patients as if they were our own family member. Everyone is entitled to the best care, and that is what we strive for every shift.”

A Second Scare

Unfortunately, the Beans’ ED visit was not the end of the story. At another medical facility, Xavier underwent an electroencephalogram, or EEG — a test to detect abnormalities in a patient’s brain waves.

But before they heard back from the neurologist there, Xavier experienced another seizure, and once again, the Beans headed to UM CRMC. It happened on the drive home from school in virtually the same location. The Beans think this may have had to do with the pattern of light through the trees creating a strobe effect. Strobe lighting is associated with triggering epileptic seizures in some patients.

“I wasn’t as frantic that time,” Kimberly said. “But I wanted answers. We were anxiously awaiting test results when Xavier’s second seizure occurred.”

While Xavier was under observation, UM CRMC doctors called his pediatrician to get insights into his medical history, asked his parents more about his health and behavior, and tracked down the neurologist who evaluated him.

The tests revealed abnormal brain activity that pointed to epilepsy.

“We were so impressed with the doctors at UM Charles Regional,” Kimberly said. “They realized that we weren’t trying to be difficult. We were just very concerned and felt like we weren’t getting answers. They were on a mission to help us.”

“For all patients, our job is to do good detective work reviewing records, talking to other physicians involved in their care, doing a medical history and physical while the patient is there, and then synthesizing all that data and trying to make the right plan,” Dr. Ferraro said. “In the meantime, you’re treating whatever acute condition they have and stabilizing them.”

Kimberly and Chris Bean Photo

Adjusting to a New Diagnosis

Thanks to the persistence of the ED staff, the Beans finally got a diagnosis and Xavier was started on anti-seizure medication. He has done well on the medicine, but last fall he had several small “breakthrough” seizures, which doctors attributed to growth spurts.

“The dose of his medicine had to be changed,” Chris Bean said. “He is now at the maximum dose allowed for his height and weight.”

Now the Beans are breathing a little easier and things are back to normal in their household, particularly the joy that Xavier brings to it.

“He’s a loving boy,” Chris said. “He doesn’t exhibit classic autism in the sense that he doesn’t want to be touched or he’s antisocial. He’s very engaging, and he loves physical touch like wrestling and being tickled.”

Like many people with autism, Xavier craves routine, especially in his nighttime ritual. After dinner, he takes his mom and dad by the hand and goes upstairs.

“We have about a 40-minute snuggle session where we get to watch his shows together up in our

bed,” Kimberly said. “It’s the same every single night, so he loves that. He doesn’t speak, but you can see this little grin on his face when he’s happy. When we are all together, it seems like the world is right to him.”

While Xavier’s newest diagnosis is distressing, the Beans are taking it in stride.

“We were told he has to go to the ED if the seizure lasts more than five minutes, or if he falls and has trauma to his head, or if he has two separate seizures within five minutes,” Chris said. “Luckily, he’s been seizure-free for several months.”

Chris and Kimberly are comforted that UM CRMC’s Emergency Department has their back if problems occur.

“I can’t say enough about UM Charles Regional,” Chris said. “The level of care and professionalism are just top-notch. You can just tell that these people are dedicated to making a difference.”

“It’s important for parents to know we did everything we could for their child,” Melissa Sager said. “Their child is their life. To know we had a positive impact on the Beans is really wonderful.”

This story originally appeared in the spring issue of Maryland’s Health Matters, the official magazine of the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center. For more stories from this issue, visit our website. And stay connected with your local hospital by following UM Charles Regional on Facebook.

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Our Top Tips for a Healthy and Happy Pregnancy

Pregnancy Checkup Photo

There’s a lot of information out there on how to give you and your baby the best headstart with a healthy pregnancy. We’ve narrowed down the noise to give you some important tips that you may not have heard before or, at least, ones that deserve a second look.

Tip #1: Eat Right

Such extensive focus is paid to what you CAN’T eat during pregnancy that it’s easy to overlook what you can! These foods aren’t just delicious — they provide essential nutrients that aid in your baby’s development.

  • Fruits and veggies
  • Whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk or non-dairy drinks with added calcium and vitamin D
  • Protein from healthy sources, like beans and peas, eggs, lean meats, seafood (8 to 12 ounces per week) and unsalted nuts and seeds

It can be helpful to keep a pregnancy food journal to keep track of your intake of these important goodies.

Tip #2: Monitor Your Weight Gain

According to the National Institute of Health, gaining the right amount of weight during pregnancy helps your baby properly develop and grow to the right size. However, gaining too much weight (or not gaining enough) can have harmful effects on both you and your child. Use the chart below as a reference point, and talk to your doctor if you are concerned about your pregnancy weight gain.

Pre-Pregnancy Body Mass IndexHealthy Weight Gain
Less than 18.528 to 40 pounds
18.5 to 24.925 to 35 pounds
25 to 29.915 to 25 pounds
Greater than 3011 to 20 pounds

Tip #3: Prioritize Your Sleep

Expectant mothers need to remember that they’re not just eating for two, they’re sleeping for two as well. Thus, it’s important for them to get 7-8 hours a night, if possible. But, what about when sleeping gets less and less comfortable as pregnancy continues? Some simple ways to combat the strained sleep of the third trimester include:

  • Sleep on your left side and spend as little time as possible lying on your back. This allows for the best blood flow to the fetus and to your uterus and kidneys.
  • If you are experiencing leg cramps, you may want to avoid carbonated sodas and drinks
  • If you can’t sleep, don’t lie in bed forcing yourself to sleep. Get up and read a book, write in a journal, or take a warm bath.
  • If you get a cramp in your leg, straighten your leg and flex your foot upward. Try doing this before going to bed several times to help ward off future cramps.

Tip #4: Absolutely NO Alcohol, Tobacco or Drug Use

Recently, conflicting information has been circulating regarding whether or not some amount of alcohol, e-cigarettes, or the newly legalized medicinal marijuana is acceptable to consume during pregnancy. Despite this, it is still strongly encouraged to cease all alcohol and drug use during pregnancy. According to a 2019 report by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is most likely to occur in babies born to women who drink heavily throughout pregnancy. But alcohol-related problems can occur with lesser amounts of alcohol use. It is best not to drink at all while you are pregnant.” For medicinal marijuana usage, talk to your doctor to adjust your medication in preparation for your pregnancy.

If you are having trouble reducing your alcohol or drug consumption, talk to your trusted health professionals about your consumption habits.

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Celebrating 80 Years: The First Decade (1939-1949)

Celebrating 80 Years. The First Decade.

Although the hospital first opened its doors in 1939, its story starts a little earlier. And it starts with a devastating tragedy.

In 1926, a tornado with wind speeds exceeding 200 miles per hour decimated La Plata, leaving 17 dead in its wake.

“That is when the Charles County people began talking of the real need for a hospital,”  Paul D. Brown, the first Chair of the hospital Board of Trustees, said.

Charles County Comes Together for a Hospital

As a result, the General Assembly gave the county a goal: raise $10,000 and they could acquire the bonds needed to fund the hospital. The residents of Charles County banded together and exceeded the goal by $2,000. Today, adjusted for inflation, that extra amount would be over $36,000.

Thanks to this remarkable fundraising effort, Physicians Memorial Hospital opened its doors in 1939. From its first days, the hospital was committed to the equality of care, pledging that all patients would be treated equally, regardless of race, creed or political affiliation and would be served well.

Have you ever wondered why it was called “Physicians Memorial Hospital”? The name was selected by the Building Committee as a tribute to all the doctors in the county who spent years serving the residents of  Charles County without a proper hospital. Here’s what the original dedication read:

“To the memory of those physicians of Charles County who ministered to suffering humanity without the facilities of a local hospital, this building, constructed through the generosity of an appreciative people, is gratefully dedicated.”

The 1940s

By 1946, the population of Charles County was growing rapidly. The hospital provided a massive improvement for medical care in the region; however, the growing population put pressure on its limited bed space and manpower.

At least it kept its services affordable! Here’s how much you could expect to pay for a visit:

  • Room and board at the hospital cost $4.50 a night
  • Emergency room charges ranged from $1 to $2
  • Tonsillectomies were $25
  • Appendectomies were just $50

But even if a patient couldn’t pay for medical service, Physicians Memorial Hospital accepted everything from a young pig, a bushel of crabs, and even a quarter-of-beef (100 pounds) in return.

Stay tuned to our blog for upcoming stories about our hospital over the decades. And be sure to follow us on Facebook — we’ll be sharing facts and photos from over the past eight decades throughout 2019.

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Don’t Miss Southern Maryland’s Premier Women’s Golf Tournament This June

2019 Southern Maryland Women's Golf Invitational Image

When it comes to golf courses in Southern Maryland, none are better than Swan Point Yacht and Country Club. And when it comes to annual golf events, there’s only one that is exclusively for women. We hope you’ll join us at both this June.

Date, Time and Location

The 2019 Southern Maryland Women’s Golf Invitational will take place on Wednesday, June 19, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Swan Point Yacht and Country Club in Issue, Maryland. Click here for directions to the course.

Event Details and Registration Information

Registrations are just $100 per person and can be purchased individually or as a foursome on our website. You can also use our printable registration form that can be mailed to the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation Office.

For questions or to reserve your spot over the phone, please call (301) 609-4132.

Here’s everything we have planned for attendees:
  • Pre-tournament continental breakfast and putting contest
  • 18 holes of golf on the region’s premier course
  • Fun, interactive contests held throughout the day
  • Complimentary lunch and beverages on the course
  • Post-golf reception with awards for contest winners and top three teams

As always, proceeds from this great annual event benefit the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation and its mission of making our community a better, healthier place to live.

Purchase Tickets

Sponsorship Opportunities

Want to get your business involved? This event provides fantastic opportunities for businesses and organizations to get exposure in front of a fun, energetic group of women — all in support of a great cause!

To learn more about sponsorship options available, visit our website or print out the sponsorship form today.

Become a sponsor

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5 Important Things You Need to Know About Stroke

Stroke Awareness Graphic

Few medical conditions are more severe or dangerous than stroke. It’s the fifth leading cause of death in America, and it’s also one of the most common causes of long-term disability.

There’s plenty to learn about the causes of and risk factors for stroke, but these are the five most important things you need to know right now:

Stroke Claims the Lives of 140,000 Americans Every Year

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke claims the lives of about 140,000 people in the United States per year. The CDC also estimates that stroke accounts for one out of every 20 deaths in America.

There Are Two Main Types of Stroke

A stroke occurs when something blocks the supply of blood to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. When that happens, it causes damage to parts of the brain, depending on the severity of the stroke. Here are the two main types of stroke:

Ischemic Stroke – This is the type of stroke that happens when blood flow and, as a result, the oxygen supply to the brain becomes blocked — often because of a blood clot. It’s estimated that nearly 90% of all strokes are of this type.

Hemorrhagic Stroke – This type of stroke occurs when an artery in the brain leaks or ruptures, which puts pressure on and damages brain cells.

Nearly 25% of Strokes Occur Among Stroke Survivors

While there are a variety of health conditions, behaviors, and genetic characteristics that can increase a person’s risk, one of the most prominent factors in a person’s stroke risk is whether or not they’ve had a stroke before.

The CDC estimates that about one out of every four cases of stroke occurs among people who have had a previous stroke.

You don’t have to be a victim of a full ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke to be at greater risk, either. In fact, there’s a third type of stroke, known as a transient ischemic attack (TIA). While TIAs are very serious medical emergencies just like major strokes are, these “mini-strokes” are characterized by a blockage of blood flow to the brain that only lasts for a short time. As a result, TIAs are often considered warning signs for a future stroke.

Most Strokes are Preventable

Stroke is something that is largely preventable by making healthy choices in your life. This is especially important to understand if you have any of the following conditions:

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Certain heart conditions

High blood pressure is one of the most prevalent conditions in Americans, so it’s even more important for everyone to keep an eye on their blood pressure to ensure it stays within a healthy range. Check out this video to learn more.

With all that in mind, here are some things you can do to reduce your level of risk:

  • Enjoy a healthy, balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Engage in physical activity regularly
  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit your alcohol intake

Visit the CDC’s website to learn more about how healthy lifestyle choices can improve your overall well-being and limit your risk for stroke.

Every Second Counts During a Stroke

The potential for long-term disability or even death as a result of a stroke is high, which means there’s no time to waste to get help. How can you spot the signs of stroke? Just follow the “BE FAST.” method if you think someone may be having a stroke:

Balance – Ask them if they feel like they’re losing their balance or coordination.
Eyes – Ask them if they’re having vision trouble or if things look blurry.
Face Drooping – Ask them to smile and observe whether or not one side of their face is drooping.
Arm Weakness – Ask them to raise both arms and see if one arm drifts downward.
Speech – Are they slurring their speech or are they speaking abnormally?
Time to Call 9-1-1 – If any of these symptoms are present, it’s time to call 9-1-1 immediately.

Bonus: Did You Know that University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center is a Primary Stroke Center?

We’re proud to have been designated a Primary Stroke Center by the Maryland Institute for Medical Services Systems. What this means is that we’re always ready to care for stroke patients by ensuring everything is in place to identify and intervene rapidly and effectively in cases of stroke

University of Maryland (UM) Charles Regional Medical Center has also consistently received top ratings from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for its continued effective and efficient treatment of stroke patients.

We’re also proud to host the Stroke & Brain Injury Support Group here at the hospital. This free support group meets regularly at UM Charles Regional Medical Center and is designed for those who’ve been affected by stroke or traumatic brain injuries. Visit our Facebook page to learn more and to keep up with upcoming meeting dates.

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5 Myths — and 5 Facts — About Autism

Autism Awareness Month

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder. Yet even as autism remains one of the most prevalent disorders in our society, the amount of misinformation surrounding it is shocking.

In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we’ve taken a closer look at five of the most common myths you’ll hear about autism as well as five of the most important facts you can share with friends and family.

Myth: Autism is Caused by One Thing

Fact: There are likely many causes of autism spectrum disorder. The CDC highlights environmental, biological, and genetic factors when discussing risk factors. A few of these risk factors include:

Even with those risk factors in mind, it’s important to remember that autism affects all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. So if you’re concerned about your child, talk to your doctor.

Myth: Autism is a Mental or Intellectual Disability

Fact: Autism is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects brain development from an early age. Many people with autism have high IQs and excel in a variety of subjects in school.

Myth: Autism is Caused by Vaccines

Fact: In 1998, a medical study was published that claimed there was a link between children who had developed autism and early-age immunizations. The study was later retracted, and since then, the safety of vaccines has been studied extensively by the CDC, the Institute of Medicine, and countless other medical organizations with no evidence to suggest that immunization influences a child’s risk level for developing autism spectrum disorder.

Myth: Autism Affects Everyone the Same Way

Fact: It’s called “autism spectrum disorder” because there are several subtypes of autism that affect people in unique ways. No two people who have autism experience it the same way, and each person has his or her own distinct set of challenges and abilities.

Myth: There is a cure for Autism or You Can Grow Out of It

Fact: While there is currently no cure for autism spectrum disorders, behavioral treatment can help reduce the severity of symptoms and help individuals develop essential skills for everyday life.

Want to get involved in spreading awareness about autism this month? Visit AutismSpeaks.org or Autism-Society.org to learn more.

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All the Details for Southern Maryland’s Favorite Annual Golf Tournament

2019 CRMC Golf Classic

Spring is here and the region’s favorite annual golf tournament is right around the corner. We hope you’ll join us for a fun day out on the links, all in support of a great cause.

Time and Location

The 2019 Golf Classic will take place on Thursday, May 16, from 9am-5pm at Swan Point Yacht & Country Club. This beautiful 18-hole course is a true Southern Maryland gem and one of the region’s premier courses.

Early Bird Registration

Right now, you can save $25 per person when you purchase individual spots or a foursome at CRMCfoundation.org or by sending in a printable registration form. Early bird pricing only lasts through April 30, so don’t wait to reserve your spot!

Proceeds directly benefit the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation’s mission to help make Southern Maryland a healthier, better place to live.

What’s Included?

The main golf tournament is just part of what makes this event fun, and we’ve got plenty of extras planned for attendees:

  • Pre-tournament continental breakfast and putting contest
  • 18 holes of golf
  • Complimentary lunch, beer, and beverages on the course
  • Post-golf reception with awards for contest winners and top three teams

Purchase Tickets

Sponsorship Opportunities

The CRMC Foundation’s annual Golf Classic provides an exceptional opportunity for businesses of any size to get additional exposure among a local audience. We offer a wide variety of sponsorship opportunities — from branded golfer gifts to naming rights on the beverage cart — so be sure to check out CRMCfoundation.org or download the printable sponsorship form for more information.

Become a Sponsor

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3 Reasons Why We’re Raising Awareness for Minority Health Month

Minority Health Month 2019 Photo

We’re proud to support Minority Health Month this April as we shine a light on the importance of equal and accessible health care in Southern Maryland. Here are three reasons why this month means so much to us and those who count on us.

Some Diseases Affect People Disproportionately

While diseases such as cancer or the flu affect everyone regardless of who they are, there are certain diseases and ailments that affect a disproportionate number of minority groups in America.

Sickle cell disease is one such disease that affects minorities in America, especially among black people and African-Americans. African-Americans and Latino-Americans are also at higher risk for developing diabetes than other groups, too.

While there are numerous reasons why these groups are at greater risk for developing these diseases, more than anything, these facts serve as stark reminders that more work needs to be done to ensure that every member of the population is given the same chance to live a long, healthy life.

Health Disparities Can Be Caused by Multiple Factors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines health disparities as “preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health.” Ethnicity, race, gender, disability status, and socioeconomic factors can all play a role in this, and it’s important for communities to step up to help everyone live healthier.

Health disparities can come from:

  • Poverty
  • Environmental Threats
  • Poor Access to Health Care
  • Educational Differences

You can learn more about the various health differences that exist among the American population by visiting the official website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.

Health Fairness is Important

At University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, we believe that no one should be put at a disadvantage in the health system, regardless of race, ethnicity, social status, age, or gender. By valuing health fairness, we value all people equally, and we work to ensure that every person in our community always has access to high-quality health care.

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Add Your Loved One’s Name to the Honor Roll of Women Before the May Deadline

CRMC Honor Roll of Women Photo

Whether you’re a family member who’s looking to recognize your mother, a husband memorializing your beloved wife, or a grandparent who’s celebrating the arrival of a new granddaughter, the Honor Roll of Women is the ideal opportunity to honor the special woman in your life.

Since 2009, the Honor Roll of Women has recognized the most important women in the lives of friends, families, and neighbors. Each name added to the Honor Roll is commemorated on the donor recognition located in the hospital’s atrium lobby.

Charitable contributions of just $1,000 to the CRMC Foundation support the Honor Roll of Women at UM Charles Regional Medical Center and ensure your loved one’s name will be added to the recognition wall. These generous gifts are essential to the hospital and enable us to meet the needs of every patient who seeks medical treatment in our region.

The Honor Roll of Women committee is already busy planning the reception to recognize the honorees whose names will be added to the list this year. Honorees receive a special card notifying them of the gift, and all donors and honorees are invited to celebrate the unveiling of the new class in late June. May 15 is the deadline to have the name of the special woman in your life included in this program.

Making Your Gift

For more information about how to make an Honor Roll gift for your loved one, email foundation@crmcfoundation.org or call (301) 609-4132 today.

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What’s the Scoop on Getting Your Vegetables and Fruits? Why It’s Important to Add Color to Your Plate.

Photo

Some of our earliest memories of food come from those older and wiser than us demanding that we eat our broccoli or grab something from the fruit bowl.

As we get older, it’s easy to forget these good habits. After all, why exactly do we need to eat our fruits and vegetables? Our registered dietitian nutritionist, Jamilah Bugayong, filled us in on some of the top reasons why we should keep filling up our plates.

Eating a Diet Rich in Fruits and Vegetables Reduces Your Chance of Chronic Disease

Several studies have shown that a diet with more representation from these healthy food groups can lead to fewer cardiovascular problems over the course of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even lists a healthy diet as one of the best ways to defend against heart disease.

Some Vegetables and Fruits Are High in Fiber, Meaning They Can Help Prevent Type II Diabetes

“High-fiber foods are very important for a healthy lifestyle,” Bugayong said. “They not only help prevent and manage type II diabetes, but they also are some of your best defenses against obesity and even cancer.”

Fruits and Vegetables Tend to Have Fewer Calories Per Cup Than Other Foods

Crafting a lower-calorie diet plan can be challenging.

“Many people assume that a healthier diet always means eating less,” Bugayong said. “It’s often possible to satisfy all of your cravings with healthier alternatives.”

And, if you’re someone who could become pregnant:

Eating More Fruits and Vegetables Can Lead to a Healthier Pregnancy

Many fruits and vegetables contain folate (folic acid), which helps the body form red blood cells. Women who could become pregnant should pay attention to the amount of folate they take in, to help reduce the chance of several birth defects.

For more information, check out these articles on the importance of fruits and vegetables from the United States Department of Agriculture. Looking for more help creating a more nutrient-rich diet plan that works for you? Jamilah Bugayong is now taking appointments. Call 301-609-5044 or visit us online to find out more.

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