The Nordic diet is a diet with foods that come from our or Scandinavian latitudes – and has enormous health benefits, as a recent study from Copenhagen shows.
It’s called the mediterranean diet is the “healthiest diet” ever. Many studies support this thesis.1,2 The disadvantage: Products such as olive oil and many types of vegetables and fruit come from more southern regions, have to be imported and are often expensive. The so-called “Nordic Diet” focuses on unprocessed foods that have always been available in the Nordic regions. According to researchers at the University of Copenhagen, anyone who sticks to this “original” way of life will have the best in the long term cholesterol levels and a healthy one blood pressure.
What is the Nordic Diet and what makes it so healthy?
Berries, local vegetables such as kale, beets, roots and co, fatty fish, whole grain products, yoghurt, nuts, seeds and rapeseed oil: these are the main ingredients of the Nordic nutritional concept. The list varies slightly depending on the season and is therefore considered to be particularly sustainable and seasonal. Some also refer to the nutritional philosophy as the “Viking diet” or “Swedish diet”. In a new study, researchers at the University of Copenhagen found clear evidence that a Nordic diet improves blood sugar and blood pressure cholesterol levels can decrease even without mandatory weight loss. The “healthy secret” lies in the special composition of dietary fats.3
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Study of 200 overweight adults
Together with an international team of researchers, the Danish scientists examined blood and urine samples from 200 people over the age of 50. They were all overweight and at increased risk of Diabetes Typ 2 and cardiovascular diseases. The participants were divided into two groups. One switched to the Nordic diet, the other stayed with her usual diet. After six months of monitoring, the result was clear.
You don’t have to lose weight to benefit from the Nordic diet
“The group that followed the Nordic diet for six months became significantly healthier compared to the control group. With lower cholesterol levels, lower total levels of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids in the blood and better regulation of blood sugar,” said study leader Lars Ove Dragsted in the university announcement.4 The researcher had deliberately asked his subjects not to lose weight. So he wanted to prove that the Nordic diet improves health even without weight loss.
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The unique composition of fats makes you healthy
The researcher points to the unique composition of fats in a Nordic diet as a possible explanation for the significant health benefits: “The blood analyzes of the participants on the Nordic diet showed different fat-soluble substances than those of the control group. This is a sign that Nordic dietary fats probably play the most important role in the health effects seen here.”
Finding surprising for the researchers
Dragsted and his team did not expect that. So they can not yet explain the exact processes in the body, it is said. However, the fats derived from fish, flaxseed, sunflower seeds and rapeseed seem to benefit health when mixed together. “Therefore, the fat composition in the Nordic diet, which contains more omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fats, is likely a significant part of the explanation for the health effects – even if the participants’ weight did not change,” concludes the scientist .
- 1. Estruch R., Ros E., Salas-Salvadó J. et al. (2013). Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with a Mediterranean Diet. The New England Journal of Medicine.
- 2. Gosh T., Rampelli S., Jeffrey I.B. et al. (2019). Mediterranean diet intervention alters the gut microbiome in older people reducing frailty and improving health status: the NU-AGE 1-year dietary intervention across…