There is a good chance that you or someone close to you will eventually get cardiovascular disease. The numbers are shocking: at this moment there are no less than 1,4 million Dutch people suffering from any type of cardiovascular disease. Only cancer kills more people in The Netherlands. The most recent numbers tell us that 18,130 men and 20,483 women died of cardiovascular disease in 2016, according to the Dutch Heart Foundation. They expect this number to increase in the coming years. Luckily there is a way to reduce the chance of getting this kind of disease, although it can never be fully prevented.

Less salt
One of the main causes of cardiovascular disease is excessive consumption of salt. Scientists have calculated that if everybody in The Netherlands would reduce their daily salt consumption by three grams, eventually 1500 fewer people die every year. Also 6000 people won’t get cardiovascular disease at all. Good to know: not using salt in your food isn’t healthy either. It is even impossible to ban salt, because all foods contain at least a little bit of it. Experts say that 6 grams of salt every day is perfect. That is an amount you’ll easily consume, so be careful. Many products contain so much salt, you probably don’t even know about it: like the ‘healthy’ ready-made meals from the supermarket, sauces and snacks. There is also a lot of salt in soft drinks, fruit juices and energy drinks. If you want to know how much salt a product contains, just look at the packaging.

Which food is healthy?
If you eat healthy, you will reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. For instance: eat fruit and vegetables on a daily base. It is also important to consume food with lots of carbohydrates, dietary fibers and vitamins. You’ll find that in wholemeal bread, whole grain pasta and brown rice. Products with white flour (like white bread and biscuits) could be more of a problem. Also eat enough legumes, because they contain protein, many dietary fibers, iron and other useful nutrients. Finally – and it will probably not come as a surprise – you have to pay attention to the fat in your diet. Not only keep track of the amount of fat, but also what type of fat you consume. Saturated fat and trans fat (such as in sausage, pie and snacks) increase the risk of diseases.
 
Walk with your doctor
Much is known about the causes of cardiovascular disease. But additional research remains necessary. Tomorrow (Saturday, September 29) we celebrate the tenth edition of ‘Walk with your doctor’. This is a 5 or 10 kilometers walk in Maastricht and surroundings. By walking along you will financially support research into cardiovascular disease in Limburg. mac-instructor Constance will host the warm-up of this event.

Would you like to know more information about the walk? You can find it here. It is only in Dutch.