5 Dietary Changes That Will Reduce Your Cancer Risk

Spread of colorful fruits and vegetables on a gray surface

Research points to diet as a useful tool for reducing your cancer risk. Progya B. Aakash, RD, a clinical dietitian at UM Charles Regional Medical Center, offers her tips for creating a diet that’s optimized for cancer prevention:

Watch Your Plant-to-Meat Ratio

A balanced diet full of variety is just common sense for overall health at this point, but there’s also evidence to suggest that how you’re balancing your food groups is just as important in limiting your cancer risk. 

Research done by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research says plant-based foods should ideally make up at least two-thirds of what you’re putting on your plate. As for meat? It should make up less than one-third of your meal.

Consume Meat Mindfully

Even if you balance your meat consumption with other food groups, the type of meat you choose to consume — and how you choose to cook it — can also have an impact on your cancer risk.

Limit your intake of red meat and consume fewer than three portions per week. You’ll also want to avoid processed meats whenever possible because they contain compounds that can be carcinogenic (i.e., potentially cancer-causing). And be considerate about how you’re cooking your meat because studies have shown a greater concentration of carcinogens in meats cooked at high temperatures.

Avoid Alcohol

There are already plenty of reasons to avoid overdoing it with alcohol, but one of the most commonly overlooked is its ability to inhibit your body’s natural cellular functions. Alcohol alters the creation and the repair of cells in your body which increases the number of carcinogens that enter your cells.

“The effects of alcohol on your body are especially harmful when combined with smoking or tobacco use,” Aakash said.

Get a Side of Exercise

Pairing a healthy diet with regular exercise is one of the best ways to reduce your cancer risk. From strengthening your immune system and regulating hormones to aiding in digestion and reducing inflammation, there are so many reasons to get moving. Oh, and of course, it helps moderate weight, too.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

A nutritious diet paired with regular exercise can help you stay at an ideal weight, which is an important element of reducing your cancer risk. Being overweight changes the body in ways that increase your risk for cancer, such as altering delicate hormone balances, changing metabolism, and creating chronic inflammation.

Want to put together a healthy diet plan that could help reduce your cancer risk? We’re proud to offer diet and nutrition services at UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care in La Plata and UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Diabetes & Endocrinology in Waldorf, led by Clinical Dietitian Jamilah Bugayong, RDN, LDN. To learn more or make an appointment, please call (301) 609-5044.

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2019 Holiday Hours for University of Maryland Charles Regional Practices

Hospital Exterior Photo | Holiday Hours

The holidays are fast approaching, and, like you, our team members are getting ready to celebrate with their friends and family. With that in mind, many of the local practices will be operating under adjusted hours for the next couple of weeks. See below for details about holiday hours for all of our facilities and local offices:

UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Imaging

  • Tuesday, December 24: 8 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Imaging will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care 

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care will follow normal operating hours (Monday, Thursday, and Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tuesday, 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Wednesday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Women’s Health

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Women’s Health will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Gastroenterology

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Gastroenterology will follow normal operating hours in these locations:

  • La Plata: Tuesday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
  • Waldorf: Monday and Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Diabetes & Endocrinology

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Diabetes & Endocrinology will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Surgical Care

  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Monday, January 1: Closed

On all other dates, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Surgical Care in Waldorf and La Plata will follow normal operating hours (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

UM Charles Regional Medical Center Visiting Hours

Visiting hours at the hospital will remain normal throughout the holidays. Need more information or have a question? Please call our main phone number at (301) 609-4000.

As always, the emergency room at University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center is open 24 hours a day every day. We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to all of the doctors, nurses, and support staff who will continue working hard throughout the holidays to make this possible and ensure that there will always be someone ready to help in the event of an emergency.

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The 5 Most Surprising Facts About Diabetes

Photo of someone performing a finger prick to measure blood sugar levels

When you want to learn more about diabetes, your doctor and the American Diabetes Association. are likely your best bet for everything you want to know. And with all the most important topics covered by these great resources, we wanted to dive deeper into some of the lesser-known facts about diabetes in honor of National Diabetes Month. Here are five things you might not know about diabetes and its effects on the population: 

Diabetes is a Leading Cause of Blindness Worldwide

When most Americans think about diabetes, they probably think of it in terms of how it can affect someone’s diet or what medications they need to take. But the reality is that diabetes is a leading cause of blindness in America and around the world.

Adults with Diabetes Are Twice as Likely to Die from Heart Disease or Stroke

What might be most surprising about diabetes, however, is that it’s integrally linked with heart disease and stroke. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, adults with diabetes are twice as likely to die from these conditions as adults without diabetes.

The reason for this increased stroke and heart disease risk is because of the damage diabetes can do to your body. More specifically, the high levels of glucose in the blood of someone with diabetes can damage the blood vessels in their heart over time. Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken by someone with diabetes to lower their chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

Millions of Americans Have Type 1 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is far and away the most common form of diabetes; however, it might surprise you to learn just how many people in America currently live with type 1 diabetes. 

Unlike type 2 diabetes, which is often caused by lifestyle choices, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that occurs when someone’s pancreas produces little or no insulin (a hormone needed to process sugar in the body). And, According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.25 million people in the United States are living with type 1 diabetes with an additional 40,000 people in our country will be diagnosed with it this year alone.

Many Early Symptoms of Diabetes Are Too Mild to Notice

Although doctors are generally able to point to things like weight, age, physical activity levels, race, cholesterol levels, etc., to determine a person’s type 2 diabetes risk, type 1 diabetes is much more difficult to predict. Moreover, most people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes never show any symptoms of the condition until it causes further complications.

When symptoms do arise, they commonly include the following:

  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Excessive hunger
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that take a long time to heal
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in your hands and/or feet

Talk with your primary care provider to learn more about your level of risk for diabetes and to find out if the A1C test (i.e., the test that can identify prediabetes) is right for you.

Half of All Those with Diabetes Are Undiagnosed

With such mild early symptoms, it’s easy to see why there are so many cases of diabetes that go unnoticed. According to the International Diabetes Federation, 50% of people who have diabetes right now are living with it undiagnosed.

Early detection of prediabetes or diabetes is an important step in preventing life-altering or life-threatening complications, and this is especially true for type 1 diabetes, which can lead to disability or death if not detected early enough.

Resources for Adults with Diabetes in Southern Maryland

If you’re struggling with diabetes or simply want to learn more about how to better manage your condition, you can find help right here in Southern Maryland.

Our Center for Diabetes Education is led by a certified diabetes educator and provides the following:

  • Blood sugar meter training
  • Individual evaluation and diabetes instruction
  • Group education classes
  • Insulin instruction and injection training
  • Diabetes nutrition instruction and weight management
  • Diabetes self-management education

In addition, UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Diabetes & Endocrinology is a specialty practice located in Waldorf that offers comprehensive diabetes care and education to help you avoid complications. To learn more about either of these practices, please call (301) 870-4100.

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Enjoy a Healthy Holiday Season with Diabetes

Photo of group of people at UM Charles Regional Center for Diabetes Education class

Eating healthy through the holidays is hard for everyone.

If you’re living with diabetes, it’s even more challenging. But it’s a challenge you can overcome — and still enjoy plenty of delicious seasonal treats. You can control your weight and control your blood sugar as long as you keep a few simple tips in mind.

Start with a Plan

Impulse eating is an easy trap to fall into. So recognize the risk, make a plan to fight the temptation and stick to it. That doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of cookies and pies and brownies and all of the other things you look forward to during the holiday season.

If you’re going to a party and you know there is going to be certain foods and certain desserts, work those sugars and carbohydrates into your nutritional budget and adjust your meals before and after accordingly.

Stick with Your Exercise

It’s easy to get out of your diet and exercise routine when your normal weekly schedules out of whack with holiday parties and holiday happy hours and actual holidays. But remember that a little exercise can go a long way. Even if you don’t exercise as long or as strenuously as you normally do, that’s OK. Get up, get moving and do something every day.

Stay on Top of Your Blood Sugar

If your eating habits and your eating schedule are breaking from the norm, be sure to check your blood sugar and your insulin more frequently. This will allow you to make adjustments as needed and correct any problems before they get out of hand.

Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol can lower your blood sugar, so extreme moderation is the name of the game. A drink or two a day is a good rule of thumb. And know what you’re drinking because the contents of alcohol can vary greatly. As always, be smart about what you drink.

Enjoy the Holidays

Having diabetes does complicate things, but it doesn’t have to take the fun out of the holidays. Treat yourself, but be smart.  Focus on making the most of each day and celebrating with friends and families. That’s what it’s all about. 

Have Questions? Talk to Your Doctor

Physicians who specialize in diabetes and endocrinology are incredible resources to help you navigate the holidays. Many practices, like UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology, work closely with registered dieticians who can help you come up with a plan to make the most of this holiday season.

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Health Literacy: What It Is and Why It Matters?

Photo of doctor meeting with patient

Your doctor has given you a new diagnosis or prescription. Now what? 

That’s where health literacy comes in.

“It’s the ability of an individual to understand basic health information well enough to provide adequate care for himself or herself,” says Cynthia Adams, RN, a diabetes educator with University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center

Health literacy is important for many reasons. If patients don’t have a good grasp of their medical issues or medications, they can do things that make the condition worse. 

“For example, a person with diabetes needs to be careful to eat the right amount of carbohydrates, or carbs for short, which are foods and drinks that turn to sugar when they are digested,” Adams says. “Eating or drinking too many or too few carbs can make blood sugar rise.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, health literacy affects people’s ability to:

  • Navigate the health care system, including filling out complex forms and locating providers and services
  • Share personal information, such as health history, with providers
  • Engage in self-care and chronic-disease management
  • Understand mathematical concepts such as probability and risk

Health literacy is the responsibility of the patient, certainly. But it’s also the responsibility of health care providers and public health systems. Many factors come into play, including culture, language barriers, and the communication skills of patients and medical professionals. Understanding these factors and seeking to overcome them is essential.

Citing a variety of recent studies, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine highlighted just a few of the negative outcomes associated with low health literacy:

  • People with low health literacy have a lower likelihood of getting flu shots, understanding medical labels and instructions, and a greater likelihood of taking medicines incorrectly compared with adults with higher health literacy 
  • Individuals with limited health literacy reported poorer health status and were less likely to use preventative care
  • Individuals with low levels of health literacy are more likely to be hospitalized and have bad disease outcomes 
  • Inpatient spending increases by approximately $993 for patients with limited health literacy 
  • After controlling for relevant covariates, lower health literacy scores were associated with high mortality rates within a Medicare managed care setting
  • The annual cost of low health literacy to the U.S. economy was $106 billion to $238 billion

As a patient, a parent or a caregiver, the most important thing you can do to improve your health literacy is to ask questions, Adams said.  

If the doctor gives you a new diagnosis, ask every question that comes to mind until you are sure you understand the basics. Request handouts and look into classes or support groups on the condition. And take advantage of the hospital’s patient learning channel, which provides web-based medical information.

When you pick up your medicine, have the pharmacist explain what it’s for and how often to take it, including any special instructions.

“So make sure you understand about your medical conditions and your medicines so that you can take good care of yourself,” Adams concludes.

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7 Local Events and Classes Worth Checking Out This September

Hospital Events This September

As part of University of Maryland (UM) Charles Regional Medical Center’s mission to make Southern Maryland a happier, healthier place to call home, we’re proud to host so many events and classes here in our community. From exciting fundraisers to health-focused support groups, our calendar is chock-full of events 

22nd Annual Autumn Wine Tasting (September 7)

We’re just days away from Southern Maryland’s favorite fundraiser! Taking place on the grounds of historic Port Tobacco Courthouse, this event is about so much more than just wine. In addition to the offerings from local restaurants, it will also feature an impressive selection of silent auction items up for grabs.

Tickets are still available in limited quantities and can be purchased online or by calling (301) 609-4132. Proceeds benefit the CRMC Foundation!

Stroke & Brain Injury Support Group (September 9)

UM Charles Regional Medical Center is a Primary Stroke Center and recently received the Stroke Honor Roll Elite Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart Association, and we’re proud to offer this free support group.

Designed for members of our community and their loved ones who have been affected by stroke or a traumatic brain injury, this group meets monthly to go over education materials, take part in question-and-answer sessions, and listen to guest speakers.

To learn more about our Stroke & Brain Injury Support Group, please call (301) 609-4890.

Breastfeeding Support Groups (Wednesdays)

If you’re a new mom who could use the support of other moms as you work through questions and concerns about nursing your newborn, you’ll want to attend one of the weekly support group meetings hosted by one of our lactation consultants.

Support group meetings take place every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the 3 South Conference Room here at the hospital. 

Better Breathers Club (September 13)

If you or your loved one are currently dealing with chronic lung disease, this is the support group for you. 

The Better Breathers Club provides patient-focused, community-based education support, and we invite you to join us in the Nagula Conference Room #1 (first floor) for the next meeting. For more information about this support group or to learn more about our Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Department, call (301) 609-4391 today.

Childbirth Class (September 17-18)

This two-session series is designed to prepare you and your support person for a safe and happy birthing experience. 

The class, taking place from 5:30-8:30pm on both dates, includes instruction for breathing, relaxation techniques, comfort measures, medications, hospital procedures, stages of labor, deliveries, and infant care. Instructors will also address complications that can arise during your pregnancy and childbirth.

The cost of this event is $85 per couple and includes the two-day class with hands-on training, a tour of the Family Birthing Center, and food for you and your partner.

Classes fill quickly, so be sure to register early on our website.

Prediabetes/Type 2 Diabetes Support Group (September 24)

If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, you’re not alone, and this free support group is designed for people just like you. Join members of our Center for Diabetes Education to discuss different topics relating to managing and living with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. 

Meetings are held in the Nagula Conference Room 2, and RSVPs are not required but are preferred. You can RSVP by calling (301) 609-5444 or emailing DiabetesCenter@umm.edu.

Yoga, Body, and Mind (Beginning September 24)

Feeling stressed? This six-week course is designed to provide stress reduction and increase flexibility while you work on gentle body toning and building strength through asana work and other exercises. As a Traditional Hatha Yoga class, it is intended for those who are new to yoga as well as those who have some experience.

Preregistration/prepayment is required ($40 for the entire six-week class). To learn more, visit our website or call Anne Machetto at (240) 682-3229.

Want to see the full University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center events calendar? Visit our website today.

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Get to Know Endocrinologist Juan Joanna Yu, MD

Dr. Yu Photo

Growing up in mainland China, Juan Joanna Yu, MD, an endocrinologist at the University of Maryland Community Medical Group (UM CMG) – Diabetes and Endocrinology, always knew she would be a doctor. After attending medical school there, she came to the U.S. to study neuroscience.

But Dr. Yu’s plans took a turn when she was introduced to the field of endocrinology, which includes treating diabetes and other metabolic disorders.

“I felt like there was much more I could do for diabetes patients in terms of prevention and treatment,” Dr. Yu said. “Now, endocrinology is my passion.”

Before joining UM CMG (a partner of UM Charles Regional Medical Center), Dr. Yu received endocrinology training at the National Institutes of Health. She has also been recognized by the Consumers’ Research Council of America as one of America’s Top Physicians.

Dr. Yu is just as dedicated to interests outside of her practice, reserving evenings and weekends for other passions and activities, including photography classes and a book club. She also manages to squeeze in quality time with her husband, an allergist, and her daughter, an emergency room nurse.

“It all keeps me busy,” she said. “But it allows me to come back to work energized.”

Q&A with Dr. Yu

Her First Job:

“I spent three years working as a neurologist and helped stroke patients with rehab.”

What Inspired Her to Become a Doctor:

“My uncle was a physician, and it just seemed natural for me to become one, too.”

To Unwind After a Long Day:

“I try to practice what I preach. I play and teach tennis, take tai chi classes, and I run regularly. I also organize activities for the Centennial Park Slow Runners Club, a group of women cancer survivors who exercise together. These are women who didn’t exercise before cancer treatment, but they do now because it changed their lives.”

What She’s Reading:

“Right now, my book club is focusing on Chinese history books.”

If She Could Add an Eighth Day of the Week:

“I would spend more time on photography. I take a class every other week from a professional photographer, but I don’t have a lot of time to take pictures for the assignments.”

Best Health Tip for Patients:

“I don’t just tell patients to eat well and exercise — I tell them why it’s important. I will ask my patients to test their blood sugar before and after exercising to see how much lower it is. Seeing an immediate change in the number makes a big impression on them.”

Favorite Part of Her Job:

“Helping patients understand how medications and lifestyle changes can improve their diabetes. Patients will tell me, ‘I’ve seen so many doctors, but no one has talked to me about why I need this medication or why I need to exercise.’ It’s very rewarding when they come back and they feel better, they’ve lost weight, their blood sugar is better — they’re just happier.”

Want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Yu? Call UM Community Medical Group – Diabetes and Endocrinology in Waldorf, MD, at (301) 870-4100 today.

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5 Frequently Asked Questions About Pancreatic Cancer, Answered

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

The pancreas is a small organ that’s situated behind your stomach in your abdomen area and is responsible for helping the body with digestion and regulating blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, it’s also an often-overlooked organ for one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

For Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month this November, we’re taking a closer look at a few of the most commonly asked questions about pancreatic cancer so you can be informed and help spread awareness in your community. Take a look.

What is Pancreatic Cancer?

Pancreatic cancer occurs when cells begin to grow uncontrollably and crowd out normal, healthy cells on the pancreas. There are different types of pancreatic cancer, but most cases are what are referred to as “exocrine pancreatic cancers” because they start in the exocrine cells, which are those that aid in digestion. Less common are endocrine tumors that affect the cells that help regulate blood sugar.

How Common is Pancreatic Cancer?

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that over 55,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, which accounts for about 3% of all cancer cases in the United States. Even more sobering, however, is the fact that this form of cancer accounts for about 7% of cancer deaths in our country every year.

Who’s at Risk for Pancreatic Cancer?

Because everyone has a pancreas, everyone is technically at risk of developing pancreatic cancer. With that said, there are a few contributing factors that can greatly increase your level of risk. Here are a few of the biggest risk factors:

  • Tobacco Use – The ACS estimates that 20-30 percent of pancreatic cancers are caused by smoking or using smokeless tobacco.
  • Weight – Obesity is believed to increase a person’s level of risk by as much as 20%.
  • Age – Your level of risk goes up as you age, especially over the age of 65. The average age of most people when they’re diagnosed is 71.
  • Gender – Men have been shown to have a slightly higher level of risk, but the gap between men and women has been closing in recent years.
  • Family History – Like many diseases and ailments, a person’s genetics has a lot to do with their level of risk; however, many people who do develop pancreatic cancer have no known family history of it.
  • Chronic Diseases and Diabetes – Pancreatic cancer has been found to be more common in people with chronic pancreatitis and diabetes.

Although there’s no way to totally prevent pancreatic cancer, it’s a good idea to talk with your primary care doctor if you have any questions or concerns regarding your level of risk. He or she will be able to shed some light on your individual risk factors and provide strategies for improving your chances of avoiding pancreatic cancer (and other types of cancer, too).

What are Some Warning Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cancer?

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of pancreatic cancer is the fact that the symptoms, especially early on, are wide ranging and often difficult to pinpoint. Here are just a few of them:

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
  • Unusually dark urine
  • Light-colored or greasy stools
  • Belly or back pain
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatty tissue abnormalities under the skin

There are other signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer as well, but it’s important to understand that many of the symptoms noted above and by the ACS are often caused by something other than pancreatic cancer. With that in mind, it’s still important to see a doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms because, by the time symptoms arise due to pancreatic cancer, the cancer has likely already spread outside of the pancreas.

Is There Any Way to Treat Pancreatic Cancer?

Although the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network notes that the five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is just 9%, a patient’s individual prognosis is going to depend greatly on their overall health as well as the stage in which the cancer is discovered. The most common forms of treatment include:

As with every form of cancer, the earlier pancreatic cancer is detected, the more treatment options there will be for a person’s cancer team to explore.

Want to learn more about pancreatic cancer or looking for ways to get involved? Visit the official website of the American Cancer Society for additional statistics, facts, figures, and articles. And be sure to check out the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s website for shareable social media graphics and ideas that you can use all month long.

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5 Ideas for a Healthier Labor Day Barbecue

Labor Day Barbecue Photo

For many people, Labor Day represents the final send-off to summer. It’s one final long weekend to enjoy before the cool weather sets in.

Labor Day is also one of the best times to fire up the grill again and have family and friends over for another fun get-together. But just because you’re getting the grill going, a meal that’s high in calories and low in nutritional value doesn’t have to be the expectation. Here are 5 tips for creating a healthier menu for all your guests.

Tip #1: Stack It Up on Skewers


Portion control is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to backyard barbecues. One creative solution to setting reasonable portion sizes is to skewer your meat and vegetables to create tasty kebabs.

This is a great way to add in a greater variety of veggies to your menu, and you’ll be able to better understand how much you’re eating ahead of time. Plus, your guests will absolutely love the presentation.

Tip #2: Add Some Colorful Veggies to the Grill


Potato salad, macaroni salad, and mashed potatoes are all staples of the American barbecue, but those items are often loaded with empty calories, extraordinary amounts of carbohydrates, and extra fat.

This year, try using a vegetable grill basket filled with cut-up peppers, onions, squash, potatoes, broccoli, brussels sprouts, etc., or simply place them directly on the grill. Mix a light amount of olive oil in with your veggies and season to taste to create a delicious and colorful side dish that won’t add a lot of calories to your meal.

Tip #3: Opt for Poultry and Pork Over Red Meat

Grilled Chicken

While steaks and beef burgers are among the most popular items to barbecue, there’s evidence to suggest that overconsumption of red meat can be a detriment to your overall health.

By replacing that red meat with poultry or pork, you can lower your consumption of saturated fat, which contributes to higher cholesterol levels that may, in turn, increase your risk of heart disease. Just remember to choose chicken or pork products that are lean and lower in fat when you’re making your selections.

Tip #4: Consider Salmon and Seafood as Alternatives


If you want to take the next step towards an even healthier entrée, seafood is a great place to start.

Fish can be grilled quickly, and with just a little bit of oil, you can keep your salmon or seafood selection from sticking on the grill — making it relatively easy to cook as well. There are countless healthy recipes available online (here’s one you might like), and you might be surprised by how many calories you can save by opting for fish over beef, poultry, or pork. Moreover, fish is a great source of high-quality protein and low-fat nutrients.

Tip #5: Try Skin-Free Chicken

Lean Grilled Chicken

If you’re sticking with chicken, one of the easiest ways to cut back on calories is to remove the skin.

Yes, grilled chicken with the skin left on is delicious, but it’s much higher in fat, specifically saturated fat. If you’re doing without the skin this time around, make sure to remove it before you start grilling because you’ll lose all the flavor of your seasoning or marinades if you do it after it’s done cooking.

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5 Great Things You Can Do for Your Body During National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month

Whether you were resolved to eating better in the new year or you’re always on the lookout for ways to live better, National Nutrition Month is a great opportunity to recommit yourself to choosing the right foods and beverages for yourself and your family.

Although the amount of advice and tips you’ll find on the internet for eating better is endless, here are five things you can do right now:

Focus on the Nutrition Facts Label

Nutrition facts are on nearly every package of food sold in grocery stores in the U.S., but do you know how to decipher the information on them?

From serving sizes to daily values, the facts and figures listed on every nutrition facts label will be your guide throughout National Nutrition Month and beyond. It’ll help you better understand which foods are giving you the nutrients you need and which ones are just giving you the extra calories you don’t.

Check out this great guide from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics if you need some guidance on that little label.

Avoid Fad Diets

It may be tempting to try the latest and greatest diet that people all over social media seem to be raving about. What these posts, articles and videos don’t tell you about these “fad diets” is that they’re quite often ineffective at helping you eat better and lose weight in the long term.

Sure, you might lose weight over the next several months as you totally eliminate carbohydrates or some other nutrient. But you’ll likely find that keeping the weight off and sticking to the diet beyond that is a much harder thing.

Focus more on health and less on weight by employing a diet that’s full of variety — nutrient-rich foods that contain the proper balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. You’ll find that portion control and moderation are more important to long-term health than any “fad diet” could be.

Keep Nutrient-Rich Snacks Nearby

If you’re a habitual snacker or just find yourself getting hungry between meals, you know how easy it is to turn to unhealthy snacks like chips, cookies and crackers.

Toss out those empty-calorie snacks at your desk or home and replace them with alternatives such as nuts, berries and veggies. They’ll curb your cravings and help you get the vital nutrients you need throughout the day.

Cut Back on Salt, Added Sugars and Solid Fats

We’re not saying you have to totally eliminate bad foods from your diet, but taking steps to reduce the amount of sodium, added sugars, trans fats and saturated fats can go a long way.

For example, instead of drinking soda or juice, opt for water. Or rather than eating sausages and high-fat beef every time you grill, choose meats like chicken or lean pork. You might be surprised by the difference a few small changes can make to your overall health.

If you’re someone who’s been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s even more important to keep these things in mind. Our Center for Diabetes Education is here to help you make smarter, more effective dietary choices so you can live better with diabetes. Visit our website to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

Drink Coffee

Yes, you read that correctly. Although research is still being conducted to discover the health benefits of drinking coffee, several studies have already shown that consumption of coffee has positive effects on wellness.

From protecting against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease to lowering risk for developing Parkinson’s disease and depression — coffee has emerged as a potential super drink. As with anything, however, drink it in moderation!

Want to get more nutritional advice and tips? We’re proud to offer expert diet and nutrition services at UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Primary Care in La Plata and at UM Charles Regional Medical Group – Diabetes & Endocrinology in Waldorf. Visit our website to learn more about how our team’s registered dietitian can help you make the most of National Nutrition Month.

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