You may have heard about the nordic diet and think it is a brand-new diet. However, this diet has been for many years and is practiced in Scandinavian countries. So what is the Nordic diet, and how does it differ from the Mediterranean diet? Let’s read together with WhichChoose!
What Is The Nordic Diet?
“Nordic” describes the geographical and cultural region encompassing the countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland. The traditional Nordic diet relied on consuming animal meats, potatoes, sweets, and processed and refined foods. Many of the traditional foods were known to researchers and health experts as being foods that elevate the risk of mortality and diseases. Thus, they established the Healthy Nordic Food Index to change course and lower the risk of major chronic health problems.
The idea behind the Healthy Nordic Food Index was not the wholesale abandonment of the traditional Nordic diet but to determine which foods within the traditional diet are healthy and encourage to consume these foods instead of the more unhealthy alternatives.
In 2004, the movement toward creating a new Nordic diet of the traditional diet gained significant success. Danish chefs Claus Meyer and Rene Redzepi, world-renowned for their restaurant Noma, gathered leading regional culinary experts to create the Nordic Cuisine Movement. Their work became the foundation for the New Nordic Diet (The Nordic Diet).
The Guidelines For The Nordic Diet
The Nordic Diet contains plant-based foods, high-quality complex carbohydrates, and fatty fish selections while limiting red meat, processed foods, and sweets. Here are some of the types of food you can refer to:
- Vegetables: While the traditional Nordic diet was light on legumes and vegetables, the Nordic Diet has the root and cruciferous vegetables, such as carrots, beets, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts, etc.
- Fruit: The Nordic region is rich in berries, containing vitamins and antioxidants. Some berry fruits are blueberries, lingonberries, cloudberries, and cowberries.
- Whole Grains: You should avoid consuming processed and refined grains and go with whole grains. Whole grains are lower in the glycemic index and rich in fiber. Rye bread is incredibly popular with the folks of the North. Also, oatmeal hits the spot on cold winter mornings.
- Lean Game Meat: The Nordic Diet contains less red meat — only 18oz per week. When you eat red meat, choose the leaner wild game, such as reindeer, moose, or bison (in the US).
- Fish: Instead of consuming red meat, you can eat fish three times per week, like salmon, herring, mackerel, etc. Fish are low in saturated fat and high in heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
- Poultry, Eggs, and Dairy: A small amount of poultry, eggs, and low-fat dairy is acceptable.
- Rapeseed Oil has half the saturated fat of olive oil and is rich in Vitamin E, omega-3, and 6 fatty acids. As far as taste, rapeseed oil has a light and nutty flavor.
The Nordic Diet’s rise in popularity focuses on healthy nutritional foods. Part of the philosophy behind the diet links to food sourcing and preparation. Eating locally-sourced and seasonal organic foods is preferred. Besides, its value is placed on home-cooked meals and minimizing waste. These sustainable and eco-friendly principles resonate with a growing number of people around the world.
Health Benefits Of The Nordic Diet
The Nordic Diet has seen positive indications in clinical studies designed by health experts based on improving overall health.
In a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine in 2013, participants placed on a New Nordic Diet experienced improved cholesterol levels as opposed to the control group who ate a more traditional Nordic diet. While overall cholesterol levels remained relatively stable between the two groups, those on the Nordic Diet saw a reduction in LDL cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol) and an increase in HDL cholesterol (or “good” cholesterol). This outcome is notable to those at risk for cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes.
In other studies, the Nordic Diet has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels and lead to weight loss, although there is not yet enough data to prove these two positive outcomes. More clinical study results should further support the Nordic Diet as an excellent source of heart-healthy meals in the future.
The Nordic Diet Vs The Mediterranean Diet: Differences
You may think the Nordic Diet sounds very similar to the Mediterranean Diet, and you’d be right. Conceptually, the Nordic Diet and Mediterranean Diet are identical. Both emphasize eating plant-based foods and reducing the consumption of red and processed meats and other sources of saturated fat. The primary difference between the two diets is the region. Those living in the Nordic region eat more different local food sources than those in the Mediterranean.
The Nordic diet from Scandinavia consists of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and fish. It is also known for its low salt, sugar, and red meat content, making it quite popular worldwide. WhichChoose hopes you enjoyed this blog about what is the Nordic diet and its guidelines.
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