Nordic diet, what is it? What foods to eat, what to avoid and is this one of the healthiest diets today? Why is it so different from the Mediterranean diet?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) advocates it as a means of cutting disease, nutritionists laud its high fiber content and historians revel in its Viking origins.
But what is the Nordic diet? And why do dietitians hail it as one of the healthiest food plans around?
Typically defined as a diet based, the traditional foods of Northern Europe, this diet champions locally-sourced ingredients and is rich in fish, grains, vegetables, and berries.
Different from its Mediterranean counterpart, the Nordic diet is as much about sustainability as it is nutrition and is typically lauded as an eco-friendly diet that abhors processed food in favor of home-cooked meals based around lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
It also favors different types of fats. While the Mediterranean diet is rich in olive oil, the Nordic diet promotes the use of canola and rapeseed oil, both of which are rich in monounsaturated fats that promote heart health.
Foods typically consumed in the Nordic diet plan are traditionally sourced in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden and include game meats, poultry, legumes, root vegetables, and whole-grain cereals.
Foods to Eat and Avoid
The Nordic diet emphasizes traditional, sustainable, and locally sourced foods, with a heavy focus on those considered healthy.
Eat often: fruits, berries, vegetables, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, rye bread, fish, seafood, low-fat dairy, herbs, spices, and rapeseed (canola) oil
Eat-in moderation: game meats, free-range eggs, cheese, and yogurt.
Eat rarely: other red meats and animal fats
Don’t eat: sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, processed meats, food additives, and refined fast foods
The diet has been around for centuries but its newest incarnation came about in 2004 when two Nordic chefs, René Redzepi, and Claus Meyer, revolutionized the concept with their restaurant Noma, which epitomized the diet’s focus on foraged foods.
Due to its low-sugar and salt content, the WHO praises the diet for lowering the risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, promoting it alongside the Mediterranean diet in a recent review.
Research has also linked the diet to lower incidences of type two diabetes.
Embarking upon the Nordic diet may also result in short-term weight loss, however, research in this area is somewhat lacking, explains leading Harley Street nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert.
“What it comes down to is eating a well-balanced diet, there is nothing magical about the Nordic diet,” she told The Independent.
“A well-balanced diet that includes plenty of whole grains, proteins including oily fish, essential fats and fruit and veg is considered a healthy one.”