Health Insider Update


Take Care of your Body and the Environment with the Nordic Diet

Take Care of your Body and the Environment with the Nordic Diet
November 20
15:27 2015

The Nordic Diet focuses on foods traditionally eaten in countries like Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Sweden. Developed in part by the famous Copenhagen restaurant NOMA, the Nordic Diet highlights the use of regional and seasonal foods.

And no, we don’t mean frequent trips to IKEA.

The Nordic Diet focuses on healthy eating and includes lots of plant-based foods. More research has yet to be done, but multiple studies suggest the Nordic Diet can encourage weight loss and lower blood pressure.

Nordic Diet staples include:
• Whole-grain cereals like barley, rye, and oats
• Berries and other fruits
• Vegetables (esp. potatoes, cabbage, and carrots)
• Fatty fish like mackerel, herring, and salmon
• Legumes

“The Nordic Diet is a healthy dietary pattern that shares many elements with the Mediterranean diet,” says Nutrition Professor Dr. Frank Hu. The Mediterranean diet, which also focuses on plant-based foods, is considered to be the best eating pattern in regards to preventing heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet favors olive oil, while the Nordic Diet suggest rapeseed oil (AKA canola oil). Both oils include lots of “healthy fats” as well as alpha-linolenic acid, which is similar to the omega-3 fatty acids we find in fish. Speaking of fish, the Nordic Diet recommends 2-3 servings of fatty fish each week.

Also emphasized are high-quality carbs similar to the Sweden’s Wasa cripsbreads or Denmark’s Rugbrød. These whole-grain choices provide antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy vitamins and minerals.

One unique aspect of this diet is that it encourages eating lots of berries. Strawberries and blueberries are a great source of anthocyanins, plant chemicals that increase blood vessel flexibility and lower blood pressure. Berries have also been linked to lower risk of heart attack and less weight gain.

The green community likes the Nordic Diet because it’s easy on the environment. Not only do plant-based eating patterns use fewer natural resources, but consuming local foods reduces food waste and energy consumption. While the Nordic Diet may make the most sense for individuals living in Northern Europe, people across the globe can apply the same principles to their eating habits.

While the Mediterranean Diet still takes the cake for preventing heart disease, the Nordic Diet remains far superior to the typical American way of eating. “People who really like berries, rye bread, and canola oil should go ahead and enjoy a Nordic-style diet rather than waiting 10 years to get more evidence,” says Dr. Hu.

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April Kuhlman

April Kuhlman

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