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Haiti 2015

Natalie Foster recently traveled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic to observe pediatric heart surgeries performed in Haiti and Jimani, DR.  Click on the link to view the incredible video from Natalie’s experience.

Pediatric Heart Surgical Haiti September 2015 Chadasha and Le Bon Samaritan

Thanks to Natalie and all who support East Tennessee Cardiovascular Research Foundation!  We continue to support Chadasha Foundation so that life-saving heart surgeries will continue in third world countries.

If you would like to donate, please click on the DONATE button on this website.  Every donation counts.


Discover Heart Healthy Cranberries

By J. E. Davidson

Cranberries are a traditional holiday fruit, often made into delicious salads to accompany Mom’s golden roast turkey and other festive fare. While you should resist the temptation to overeat, feel free to indulge in cranberries since they may be the healthiest food on the table!

The old wives’ tale that cranberries can relieve urinary tract infections has been proven true by modern research, which attributes other health benefits, as well, to this shiny little red berry. Cranberries contain the highest level of antioxidants among the most popularly eaten fruits, and provide significant amounts of potassium Health benefits such as the prevention of heart disease, stroke, tooth decay, gum disease and stomach ulcers have also been attributed to cranberries.

The highest levels of antioxidants are found in fresh cranberries. Processing at high temperatures reduces the antioxidant levels, and canned cranberries or store-bought cranberry products will not contribute as much to health benefits. Unsweetened fresh, dried, and freeze-dried cranberries are the healthiest choice.

In their natural state, cranberries have few calories, add fiber to the diet, and have five times the antioxidant levels of broccoli. Antioxidants are known to reduce levels of total cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol), and protect the body against heart disease, stroke, and other age-related conditions.

Cranberries contain compounds that discourage E. coli bacteria from adhering to the cells of the body, and inhibit the bacteria’s ability to produce an infection. Consuming cranberries can keep the E. coli population under control, and prevent food-borne illness.

Some E.coli bacteria naturally live in the digestive tract, and careless bathroom hygiene (especially among females) can spread the bacteria and cause urinary tract infections. The compounds in cranberries keep the harmful bacteria from clinging to the walls of the urinary tract so they are washed out in the stream. Cranberries can be an effective home remedy for mild UTI’s, since the compounds will not kill the beneficial bacteria in our digestive system the way prescription antibiotics will.

Natural cranberries have a tart flavor, and store-bought cranberry products often contain large amounts of sugar (often disguised as high-fructose corn syrup on the label) which can contribute to diabetes and other illnesses. Some juices may be sweetened with artificial sweeteners which may have their own health risks.

“Craisins” are sweetened dried cranberries, which are gaining popularity as a snack food. This product is infused with sugar, so those on low-carb diets should not overindulge in this tasty treat. Kids really love them, though. They are sugary, but at least they are also delivering some important nutrients your children won’t get from candy. Some organic health food stores offer dried cranberries sweetened with apple juice, a healthier alternative to Craisins.

Although fresh cranberries are readily available during the fall holiday season, they can be difficult to find in other seasons. You can enjoy their health benefits year round by buying them when they are available and storing them in the freezer. When buying fresh cranberries avoid bags that contain berries that are soft or brown. A good cranberry will bounce; in fact, they used to be called “bounceberries.” Cranberries may be stored in the refrigerator for several months, or frozen for up to a year. They don’t need any special preparation; just put them in a sturdy plastic bag and toss them in the freezer! (Never wash berries before freezing them). The berries will be slightly soft when thawed but will be fine for recipes that require cooking.

7 Things You Can do to Lower Your Risk of a Heart Attack

Althearthough there are no guarantees you’ll never have a heart attack, there are some things you can do to lower your risk. The younger you are when you take action the higher the chance you have of being successful. However, it’s never too late to jump into a healthier lifestyle, so get started now.

01 Get Moving

Exercise is essential if you want to have a healthy heart. According to the Mayo Clinic, you need a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio activity three days per week. Ideally, you should get your heart pumping every single day, but skipping a day or two now and then shouldn’t set you back too much. The key is to make exercise a regular habit.

You don’t have to run long distances or hang out at the gym. All you need to do is put on your sneakers and take a long walk, grab your helmet and go for a bike ride, or slip into your swimsuit and go for a swim. It might be a little tough to get started, but once you establish a routine, you’ll look forward to it.


02 Eat Healthy

Most people know that too much saturated fat and sugar is unhealthy, but the Harvard School of Public Health states that adults need a minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruits per day to maintain a healthy heart. Ideally, your nutrition should come from food, but in order to ensure that you get the vitamins you need, take a multivitamin to supplement your diet.

Eat healthy fats that are plant based. Nuts, olive oil, and avocado are all good for your heart and help to lower your LDL cholesterol. Salmon and other fish high in omega-3 fatty acids also help to reduce your heart attack risk.

Avoid processed foods. Most things that come in boxes that are labeled with ingredients you may not be able to pronounce are devoid of the nutrients you really need and filled with sodium, sugar, and chemicals that aren’t good for your heart.


03 Get Enough Sleep

Your body needs rest, so do whatever it takes to sleep at least seven hours per night. If you’re not used to that much shut-eye, you might have a difficult time at first. Establish a sleep-friendly environment by eliminating as much light and noise as possible from your bedroom, going to bed at the same time each night, and waking at the same time each morning. Don’t consume caffeine after noon.


04 Maintain Your Teeth and Gums

Make sure you brush, floss, and visit your dentist on a regular basis. There is a connection between your oral health and your heart condition. The bacteria from dental plaque may enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation of the arteries.


05 Don’t Smoke

If you don’t smoke now, don’t start, but if you do, quit. It isn’t easy, but if you put the effort into discontinuing this unhealthy habit, your lung capacity will improve, and your heart will get the oxygen it needs to stay healthy. You may be able to quit on your own, but if you can’t, ask your doctor for a referral to a smoking cessation program.


06 Cut Back on Stress

Eliminate as much stress as possible to keep your heart healthy. It’s difficult when you have a demanding job, lots of bills to pay, and children who demand your time and attention. Stress is a fact of life, but don’t let it get the best of you. Find ways to manage your stress. Get together with friends, take breaks from work whenever possible, play outside with your children, and go on family vacations. Schedule a massage or some other relaxing activity you enjoy. If you still struggle with stress overload, see a counselor who may have some suggestions specific to your needs.


07 Have Regular Checkups

Have annual checkups and screenings to determine your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Your doctor may order more tests based on your medical condition and family history. If you know the numbers, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to work on to improve your heart health.

A Hand Up for Women

Our A Hand Up for Women Team raised $3800 and brought home some hardware too. Thanks to your help, our organization place 2nd in overall fund raising.  In addition we had three place in their age group for the 5K, Brad placed in his age group (2nd) in Duathlon and Charles/Kristen placed 2nd in Duathlon Relay.

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East Tennessee Cardiovascular Research Foundation

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