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Food and Nutrition

Let's Talk About Fiber!

Posted June 13, 2022 by Michelle Boltz, MS, RD, CSSD, LD


Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Fiber has many health benefits, including:

  • Playing a role in lowering blood cholesterol
  • Helping to control blood sugars
  • Aiding in preventing constipation
  • Contributing to weight management

According to the Institute of Medicine and USDA, women should aim for about 25 grams of fiber per day, and men should aim for about 38 grams per day, or it is recommended to have about 14 grams for every 1000 calories. …

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Myth vs. Fact: What you need to know to feel confident in your healthy food choices

Posted April 04, 2022 by Laura Ilg RD, LD


We’ve been told time and again all fats are unhealthy, multigrain is healthier than white bread and fruit juice is a good replacement for the whole fruit. But, are these facts or myths that have been ingrained in us? 

With so much conflicting information, it can be difficult to make the healthiest choices and the unfortunate truth is we often fall victim to food myths.

We might reach for a food commonly believed to be healthy, but in actuality, it could be harmful to…

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Feeling the pressure? 8 ways to live a heart-healthy lifestyle

Posted March 28, 2022 by Fatima Samad, MD


Are you feeling the pressure to live a heart-healthy lifestyle? You’re not alone.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). What’s more, nearly half of all adults in this country are living with some type of cardiovascular disease.

The good news is you don’t have to be a statistic. While genetics do play a role in heart disease, there are several risk factors that can…

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10 early signs of diabetes that shouldn't be ignored

Posted January 10, 2022 by James Salem, MD


High blood sugar can cause gradual, unassuming symptoms that can sneak up on you. Frequent urination and excessive thirst — the telltale signs of type 2 diabetes — are often mild and can easily be attributed to other factors.

In fact, most people don’t even know they have high blood sugar until they’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Diabetesis a chronic condition that causes glucose (or sugar) levels in the body to rise. The problem is ignoring or…

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Why do we hiccup and how can we stop them?

Posted July 11, 2021 by Yan Sun, MD


We’ve all experienced it at one time or another: the dreaded hiccups. They can be funny at first, if not hysterical, but they quickly become a nuisance. Hiccups affect everyone, from babies in utero all the way up to senior citizens, but what are these loud, noisy, disruptive and sometimes uncomfortable hiccups?

Hiccups occur when the diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle between the lungs and the stomach, spasms from irritation. The diaphragm pulls down when you inhale to let…

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Best and worst foods for your next sizzling cookout

Posted July 05, 2021 by Laura Ilg RD, LD


Nothing says summer like the classic American barbeque: hamburgers, hot dogs and macaroni salad with berry pie for dessert. Cookouts with family and friends are a favorite summer pastime to enjoy good food, the great outdoors and warmer temperatures

But considering on average a person consumes upwards of 2,000 calories on typical barbeque fare, it’s not a bad idea to switch up this year’s cookouts to include healthier options. Who said cookouts had to be unhealthy…

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Summa Health's Workplace Wellness Program

Posted June 14, 2021 by Kevin James Karas, E-RYT 500


In a society that is constantly filled with stress and disease, especially in the role of a healthcare worker, we need to find something to turn to which offers a sustainable solution to addressing life’s difficulties. One solution may be found from three very hot wellness topics of yoga, mindfulness and self care practices. If any of these spark your interest, you won’t want to stop reading because this article will provide you with not only information but more…

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How to recognize alcoholism and the need for help

Posted May 24, 2021 by Kelli Blue, LPCC, LICDC


For many, alcohol is used occasionally as a way to celebrate, relax, bond and socialize with friends and loved ones. It’s a toast to wedding nuptials or an anniversary, or a shared drink with a loved one to kick off the weekend.

When drinking is done in moderation, it is generally not considered to be dangerous to your health or mental wellbeing. The problem for some is it can be difficult to tell when their alcoholic intake has crossed the line from casual or moderate…

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Food allergy vs. food intolerance: How to tell the difference

Posted May 17, 2021 by Dr. Julia Thornton


Chances are good at one time or another you have experienced unpleasant symptoms — an upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea or bloating — after eating a delicious meal. Reactions from food are common, but it can be challenging to understand the cause.

Food intolerance can trigger some of the same physical symptoms as a food allergy. But, understanding the difference is vital to your health. Eating a food that your body is intolerant to can leave you feeling uncomfortable, but eating…

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Occupational therapy: What you need to know to get back to life

Posted April 26, 2021 by Megan Copen MS, OTR/L


You recently suffered a stroke. You’re recovering well, except that you’re still struggling with weakness in your left leg, along with balance and coordination issues. Your provider has referred you to an occupational therapist (OT) to help overcome these challenges so you can get back to work. 

But you and other patients in similar circumstances may be wondering, what exactly is occupational therapy? We often hear about physical therapy and its benefits to a…

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Top 5 Health Concerns in Northeast Ohio

Posted April 05, 2021 by Bitan Ghosh, M.D.


COVID-19 remains one of our region’s top health concerns as we navigate this pandemic. Community spread leading to new cases and unfortunate deaths have affected every one of us.

It’s important, however, that we don’t ignore other health concerns. Resuming care for regular health checkups, health screenings and management of chronic illness is critical to the overall health of our community.

Here are 5 major health concerns in Northeast Ohio that cannot be…

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What is angina and how is it treated?

Posted March 22, 2021 by Justin M Dunn, MD


In times of intense stress, does it ever feel like someone is squeezing your heart? Do you feel pain or numbness down your left arm? Does it seem like you get indigestion each time you exercise?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be suffering from angina. Angina occurs when the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen-rich blood. The pain can be mild or severe and often follows exertion or stress.

Angina is not a disease, but instead a symptom of a more…

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Gluten Digestive Issues Explained

Posted March 08, 2021 by Amin O. Mahdi, M.D.


Gluten intolerance or sensitivity, gluten allergy and celiac disease all have one thing in common - you guessed it, a problem with gluten. The term “gluten-free” has exploded across brand and food marketing the last decade; you can find it on many restaurant menus and products in the grocery store. While this wording may seem like a fad, it’s important to remember that people who have issues with gluten can have terrible, debilitating problems with their…

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Weight Loss Options Built for Your Needs

Posted February 21, 2021 by Dr. John Zografakis


Obesity and the need to lose weight is a deeply personal journey. With many new medical options available, it can be difficult to select the best individual approach to be successful with long-term weight loss.

Obesity is the second-highest cause of preventable deaths in the United States. The rate at which obesity has worsened over the past 20 years, especially in the state of Ohio is alarming, and there is now a growing amount of national attention focused on the problem. In…

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Extinguishing the Burn of GERD

Posted January 25, 2021 by Tyler Bedford, M.D.


Most of us have been there, you meet with friends or family and overdo it a little. Maybe it’s that extra beer or glass of wine or the heaping scoop of Uncle Kenny’s buffalo cheese dip; but the end result is predictable. You get home and snuggle up in bed only to have that unpleasant feeling of burning in your chest and that bitter taste that seems to flow up into your mouth. It’s not a very tantalizing subject but nearly everyone has experienced reflux at…

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7 ways to reduce sodium without sacrificing flavor this holiday season

Posted December 14, 2020 by Dr. Gabriela Orasanu


With so many celebrations centered on food, it’s easy to lose track of how much we’re consuming — including our sodium intake. In fact, it’s not unusual for a typical holiday meal to meet or exceed our recommended daily value for sodium.

But, what’s all the fuss about? Sodium, or salt, is a mineral that’s essential for life. It’s regulated by your kidneys and is required for nerve and muscle function and maintaining your body’s…

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Are veggie burgers really a healthier choice?

Posted September 27, 2020 by Alyssa C. Diamant, RD, LD


It’s no secret that meatless meals are becoming more popular. While this is certainly not anything new for our vegan or vegetarian consumers, terms like “plant based” and “meat alternatives” are quickly becoming more mainstream. Wildly popular, meatless burgers are even entering the fast food market with Burger King’s addition of the “Impossible Whopper” to their regular menu. But, are veggie burgers actually healthier than a…

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Good vs. Bad: Understanding your cholesterol levels

Posted September 14, 2020 by Andrea A Jopperi, DO

Cholesterol normally gets a bad rap, but is it really as bad as it sounds? 

Cholesterol is essential for your body — in healthy doses, of course. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance produced by the liver, which your body needs to build cells and produce certain hormones and vitamin D. 

Your body produces all the cholesterol it needs to function. The problem is many people don’t only get cholesterol from their liver. They also get high amounts of…

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4 Impactful Lifestyle Changes That Help Improve Your Cholesterol

Posted June 01, 2020 by Kenneth D Varian, MD

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is produced by the liver and has many important functions in your body. Your body uses it to protect nerves, make cell tissues, keep your cells flexible and produce certain hormones. In addition to your liver making cholesterol, there are many foods that contain cholesterol, including eggs, meats and dairy products. Eating too much of these foods can add too much cholesterol to your body and have negative side effects. 


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Your Options for Weight Loss

Posted March 16, 2020 by Kenneth W Wells, MD


The desire to lose weight and the process chosen to go about it is a deeply personal journey. With many new options on the market, it can be tough to understand the best approach to reaching long-term weight loss.

Obesity is now ranked as the second-highest cause of preventable deaths in the United States. The rate at which obesity has worsened over the past 20 years is alarming, and there is now a growing amount of national attention focused on the problem. It is also important to note that Obesity has been proven to increase the risk for cancer including Colon and Breast cancers. Weight loss is an important cancer risk reduction effort for many patients at higher risk for cancer and a component of cancer survivorship plans as well.

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Breaking Down Protein Powders

Posted March 09, 2020 by Hanna Rice RDN LD


In the last decade or two, protein powders have become increasingly popular among physically active and health-conscious individuals.

Protein powders are concentrated sources of protein — the essential building block for muscle, tissue, bones and blood — made from either animal or plant sources. While whole foods come complete with the essential vitamins, minerals and fiber you require, protein powders are an easy, convenient way to bolster your protein intake when…

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First Unified World Obesity Day

Posted March 04, 2020 by Adrian G. Dan, M.D., FACS, FASMBS


Obesity has been deemed a disease of worldwide epidemic proportions. In the United States, obesity directly affects 40% of the adult population and an additional 30% are considered overweight. Obesity is now ranked as the second-highest cause of preventable deaths in the United States. The rate at which obesity has worsened over the past 20 years is alarming, and there is now a growing amount of national attention focused on the problem.

When talking about obesity, it is very…

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5 Ways to Make Healthy Eating a Piece of Cake

Posted February 03, 2020 by Hanna Rice RDN LD


Eat healthy. Exercise. Lose the extra holiday L-Bs. These are some of the most common goals many of us try to accomplish each year. But, it’s just about the time of year when these all-too familiar New Year’s Resolutions start to fall by the wayside.

Life can get in the way, temptations arise and we can default to old habits. So this year, let’s try something different. Instead of listing the same goals year after year, let’s put to practice lifestyle…

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How to Successfully Manage Your Diabetes During the Holidays

Posted November 19, 2019 by James K Salem, MD


The holidays can be tough for anyone on a diet with all the celebrating, snacking and treats. Those with diabetes have to be especially careful around the holidays because gaining weight or rising blood sugar could be dangerous to your health.

If you slip into bad eating habits and they extend well into the New Year, you can do long-term damage to your body. Just a little preparation can go a long way towards keeping your weight and blood sugar down – check out these…

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Understand Your Gut Health - A Helpful Guide to Probiotics

Posted October 11, 2019 by Julia G Thornton, MD


Your body is full of bacteria – in fact, the bacteria in your body outnumber your cells 10 to one. The majority of that bacteria lives in your gut, and most of it is not only harmless, but helpful to your body’s functions.

Balancing your gut bacteria correctly can have many health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, better immune function, better mood and memory function, healthier skin, and a reduced risk of many diseases.

To boost this friendly…

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When it Comes to Addiction, What is the Best Path to Recovery - Abstinence or Harm Reduction?

Posted September 24, 2019 by Renee Fierro, LPCCs, Director, Outpatient Behavioral Health Services


Addiction recovery is a deeply personal journey, and different strategies work for different people. The two most common, and very different, recovery philosophies are abstinence and harm reduction. The following is a brief description of each of these approaches.


Abstinence-based recovery dates back centuries, long before addiction was determined to be a medical disease. This recovery philosophy expects an individual to completely stop the use of alcohol and other…

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What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Posted August 12, 2019 by Joseph F Pietrolungo, DO, Peripheral Vascular Disease Cardiology


Almost half of all adults in the United States have high blood pressure, but many are not aware of it. High blood pressure is dangerous and can be a silent killer if gone untreated. That’s why it’s so important to understand what causes it and how to keep it controlled.

First – what is high blood pressure?

In order to survive, your tissues and organs need oxygenated blood to circulate throughout the body. When your heart beats, it creates pressure that pushes…

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Here's the scoop on intermittent fasting

Posted July 29, 2019 by Alyssa Diamant, RD, LD


This recent weight loss trend places more of an emphasis on WHEN you eat than WHAT you eat (but keep in mind that both are important for success). Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating.

Depending on the type of intermittent fasting pattern you choose, your fasting time may be a few hours or a whole day a few times per week. During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.

Here are some of the…

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What Does A Fast Food Meal Do To Your Body?

Posted May 12, 2019 by Alyssa Diamant, RD, LD Clinical Dietitian Weight Management


It’s quick, fast, and cheap; it also tastes really good! Americans spend roughly $50 billion on fast food each year. With the availability of food “on-demand” more and more people are opting for prepared foods, whether through a drive thru or delivered to your door.

But have you ever felt not-so-great after eating fast food--maybe a little tired or bloated? Did you notice you became hungry again pretty soon after eating? That’s because although most…

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Battle it Out: Artificial Sweetener v. Sugar

Posted May 07, 2019 by Rose Ann Chiurazzi, MA, RDN, LD, CDE


The sweeter things in life are present at most celebrations...weddings, birthdays, work promotions, new baby, office get the idea. But if you are like many Americans trying to cut back on your refined sugar intake for health reasons and/or weight management, you may think opting for sugar replacements might be a healthier choice.

When it comes to real sugar (sucrose) versus artificial sweeteners, like the ones found in diet sodas and ‘zero-calorie”…

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Myths vs. Facts: Binge Eating

Posted April 29, 2019 by Kristen A. Knepp, PhD Summa Health Clinical Psychologist


According to the American Psychiatric Association, eating disorders affect millions of Americans, mostly women between 12 and 35 years old. There are three main types of eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder (BED). The focus of this blog post will be on BED.

BED is the most common eating disorder in the US. It can be characterized by recurring episodes in which large quantities of food are consumed (more food than most people would consume over the same…

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Sugar: It may be an Addiction

Posted January 06, 2019 by Suman Vellanki, M.D. Summa Health Addiction Medicine


Most of us know that too much sugar is not good for our overall health. But what you may not know is that growing research is showing what’s bad for the body may also be bad for the brain.

A recent study published in Scientific Reports found that a group of men between 35 and 55 who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar daily from sweetened foods and beverages were more likely to develop anxietydepression, and other common mental disorders after 5 years, compared with men with a lower daily sugar intake. In no way does this imply that excess sugar causes mental disorders in the general population; rather this was a select study which also found no similar correlation for the women who participated in the research.

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What are macros?

Posted November 25, 2018 by Rose Ann Chiurazzi, RDN, CDE Clinical Dietitian, Weight Management Summa Health


Paleo, keto, macros, carbs, complex carbs, clean eating, plant-based...we could keep going but I think you get the idea. With so many buzzwords out there, it can be difficult to analyze which ones would be a good addition to your weight loss journey or can help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Let’s explore one of these nutrition buzzwords: Macros.

Macros are short for macronutrients. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates and fats and make up the caloric content of food.

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Lowering Your Blood Pressure, Naturally

Posted October 11, 2018 by Roger B. Chaffee, M.D., FACC Medical Director, Summa Health Heart and Vascular Institute


Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)

So you just found out that you have high blood pressure (HBP). Well, you’re not alone. Almost half of adults in the U.S. have it – and most don’t even know it.

Fortunately, hypertension – the medical term for HBP – can typically be controlled with the right medication and lifestyle changes. In fact, lifestyle modifications like healthier eatingand regular exercise may be able to do more than just…

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Carbs: The Good, the Bad and the Yummy

Posted July 19, 2018 by Rose Ann Chiurazzi, Registered Dietitian, Summa Health


Atkins, paleo, low-carb, no carb, how do you choose? If weight loss is a priority for you, or if you are just looking to eat healthier, there is an abundance of diets, meal plans and fads out there.

But what exactly are carbohydrates (carbs) and why are some of them so “bad” for us? Below is a breakdown of the types of carbohydrates, what they do to our bodies, which ones we can eat and those to avoid.

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The Power of Vitamin D

Posted February 15, 2018 by Lynn M. Hamrich, M.D., FAAFP


You may have heard of the health benefits of vitamin D in the fight against the common cold.

A British investigation published in February 2017 concluded that taking vitamin D supplements can help protect against respiratory infections like colds, bronchitis and pneumonia. The researchers looked at data from 25 clinical trials involving some 11,000 patients from 14 countries and found a significant but modest benefit. These results occurred mostly among those…

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The Gift of Heart Health

Posted February 06, 2018 by Michael Hughes, M.D.

When you think of February, you may think of Valentine's Day, chocolate and flowers. February also marks American Heart Month, a great time to commit to a healthy lifestyle and make small changes that can lead to a lifetime of heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. But the good news is it's also one of the most preventable.

Making heart-healthy choices, knowing your family health history and the risk factors for heart…

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Posted February 01, 2018 by Rose Ann Chiurazzi, MA, RDN, LD, CDE

The excitement is growing for Super Bowl LII. Before we know it, it will be the kickoff for the Big Game, the must watch commercials, and of course, the anticipated halftime show. It will also be a kickoff to the Big Party with friends and family where we will root for our favorite team.

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Medical Nutrition Therapy or Nutrition Education?

Posted January 22, 2018 by Rose Ann Chiurazzi, MA, RDN, LD, CDE

Medical Nutrition Therapy or Nutrition Education?

Obesity currently affects 34% of all Americans. It contributes to many other conditions, including Type 2 Diabetes, GERD, Sleep Apnea, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, Joint Disorders, and a variety of cancers. Improving or eliminating obesity often can improve or cure these conditions, including Type 2 Diabetes.

A registered dietitian can approach obesity through either medical nutrition therapy or nutrition education.


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Posted January 15, 2018 by Kathy G. Wise, RDN, LD, CWP, CWC

We eat for many reasons beyond hunger, which is why learning to eat mindfully helps you maintain or even lose weight if desired. As we celebrate Healthy Weight week this week, here are ten tips that provide some food for thought.

1. Reject the Diet Mentality.Throw out the diet books and magazine articles that offer you false hope of losing weight quickly, easily and permanently. Get angry at the lies that have led you to feel as if you were a failure every time a new diet…

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