Most of us have heard of the Mediterranean diet, and probably have tried it.
But what about for people who don't like it or are not used to eating southern food, and prefer to try cuisine from the other regions of the world?
There is recently published data on the Nordic Diet, a fairly simple diet based on healthy ingredients from Nordic countries that is loaded with produce like berries and root vegetables and is also associated with lower levels of cholesterol and inflammation. The healthy Nordic diet plan emphasizes the following:
Whole grains like rye, barley, and oats making up at least 25 percent of the daily diet
Vegetables, including legumes, root vegetables like carrots and celery, various greens like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, and white and red cabbage, including sauerkraut
Fruits like apples, pears, and plums
Berries, including strawberries, black currants, and bilberries
Rapeseed oil (also known as canola oil) for cooking and flavoring
Low-fat dairy products
Fish eaten more than 3 meals per week, including pickled herring and salmon
Poultry and other low-fat white meat or game meat
No sugar-sweetened drinks
In a cohort of more than 55,000 participants in the population-based Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health study, those who strictly followed The Nordic Diet compared with a control group of a typical American Diet had a significantly lower risk for total stroke during an average follow-up of 14 years. (1)
The healthy Nordic Diet plan also significantly lowers the harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and increases the beneficial high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol compared to those who ate a standard diet even after 18 weeks of follow up.
It also helps with insulin resistance and weight loss. (2)
Nordic Diet can actually affect genes involved with low-grade inflammation. (3)
How Does the Nordic Diet Plan Compare to the Mediterranean Diet?
The underlying message is not new — any healthy diet is heavy in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains, and instead of trans fats and other fatty oils, olive oil and canola oil are preferred.
Sugary drinks, processed meats, and refined grains should be avoided. These components of a typical Western-style diet have been shown to increase risk for early death, heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline.
The Mediterranean Diet includes plenty of plants, nuts, beans, legumes, whole grains, fish, and olive oil, together with limited dairy, processed meats, and added sugars.
The healthy Nordic Diet shares the Mediterranean Diet's emphasis on plants and healthy oils, but of northern origin, like bilberries and canola oil.
For more information on a healthy lifestyle and diet please schedule an appointment with Dr. Koganski at 215-750-7000 or at www.newtowninternalmedicine.com
1) Hansen CP, et al. Adherence to a Healthy Nordic Diet and Risk of Stroke. A Danish Cohort Study. Stroke. 2017;STROKEAHA.116.015019.
2) Uusitupa M, et al. Effects of an isocaloric healthy Nordic diet on insulin sensitivity, lipid profile and inflammation markers in metabolic syndrome - a randomized study (SYSDIET). Journal of Internal Medicine, 2013.
3) Poulsen SK , et al. Health effect of the New Nordic Diet in adults with increased waist circumference: a 6-mo randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jan;99(1):35-45