Food & Cardiovascular Health

Wednesday 5 October the Netherlands Heart Institute hosted a scientific session on Food & Cardiovascular Health in cooperation with Wageningen University, the Food Alliance and the Gelderse Vallei Hospital. The session was well attended with a lively debate.

The first speaker was Marianne Geleijnse of Wageningen University. She spoke on the importance of good nutrition for cardiovascular patients. Research shows up to 30% improvement in survival af myocardial infarction if patients eat healthy. There is also evidence that medication works better if supported by good food. And there is evidence what good food is: eat less meat and more plants, fruit, diary twice a week and fish once a week. Avoiod salt, soft drinks and alcohol.

Marianne Gelijnse

Tom van Loenhout spoke about the Gelderse Vallei hospital which calls itself a food hospital. Patients are constantly encouraged to exercise and eat well. Although patients need to be sober for operations and certain tests, doctors see a lot of qualitative and quantitative malnourishment. If a patients arrives underfed in the operating theatre, chances of survival decrease. In the Gelderse Vallei Hospital, patients and there family members can order any food, any time of the day. It is then prepared fresh and served to them with 45 minutes. Download presentation

Bob Mulder, communication scientist from Wageningen University, spoke about motivating patients to improve their lifestyle. He started with good news: doctors and nurses encouraging patients works. It steers patients towards a healthier lifestyle even if the patients initial reacting may be negative. Bob Mulder than focusses on the right way to motivate patients: try not to ban foods and behaviour but bring it in a positive way and ask questions. "Wouldn't walking be a good way for you to get out and feel better?". Download presentation

Presentatie Bob Mulder, Wageningen

The final speaker was Liesbeth Zandstra from Unilever R&D. She showed that reducing sodium intake is not as simple as just adding less salt to prepared foods. People tend to compensate that by adding salt themselves. It takes time for people to get used to less salt. How to communicate that is also complicated. In countries where there is less awareness about the importance of reducing salt Unilever tends to reduce salt in its product but not to communicate that. In countries where there is more awareness reducing salt is interesting from a health and commercial perspective, as the commercial Salty from Canada shows.

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