There’s a new eating plan in town and it focuses on foods commonly eaten in Scandinavian countries. It’s called the New Nordic Diet, or Nordic Diet for short. Read on to learn how this eating plan can benefit your health.
The Nordic Diet, Defined
The Nordic Diet focuses on eating food found in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, the countries collectively known as Scandinavia. You might only know the cuisine of these countries from the café at your local Ikea, But the Nordic Diet has been around since 2004, thanks to nutrition and cooking experts who were interested in helping people in those countries eat more healthfully. Like the Mediterranean Diet, the Nordic Diet is an approach to eating rather than rigid guidelines to follow.
Foods that are part of the Nordic Diet
The following foods are part of the Nordic Diet:
- Root vegetables, such as turnips, beets, carrots, potatoes
- Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower
- Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard
- Beans and legumes such as brown beans, split peas
- Berries, such as lingonberries, bilberries
- Pears and apples
- Whole grains, such as rye, oats, barley
- Fish, such as salmon and herring
- Wild meat, such as elk
- Other plant foods, such as seaweed, moss, mushrooms, nettles
- Healthy fats, such as canola oil
- Herbs, including dill, fennel and chives
Along with these ingredients, a big part of the Nordic Diet is choosing organic versions when possible, eating responsibly caught fish, limiting processed and packaged foods, and purchasing local and seasonal foods.
Examples of meals that are part of the Nordic Diet
You might be scratching your head as to exactly how to eat elk meat. It may be helpful to refer to a cookbook or search the Internet for meal ideas and recipes. Some examples of what you might eat include:
- Oat or barley porridge mixed with berries and organic milk
- Seaweed or kale pesto served over new potatoes or whole grain bread
- Fishcakes or venison patties served with beets or carrots
- Slow-cooked elk roast (or lean beef) with pea soup and marinated cucumbers
Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet
The Nordic Diet provides a number of health benefits, including:
- A lower risk of type 2 diabetes
- A lower risk of stroke
- A drop in insulin levels and insulin resistance
- A lower risk of colorectal cancer
- A decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol
- A decrease in systolic blood pressure
- Weight loss
- Reductions in hip and waist measurements
Is the Nordic Diet for you?
Fitting unfamiliar foods into your eating plan isn’t always easy. However, you may already be eating foods like root vegetables and salmon that are a key part of the Nordic Diet. As with any type of lifestyle change, ease into it gradually. Learn more about foods that are part of this eating plan and look into meals and recipes that are appealing to you. As always, talk with your doctor or dietitian before making any major changes to your eating. Remember that eating different types of foods and in different amounts can affect your blood sugar levels, so check your blood sugars more often.
To learn a little more about the Nordic Diet, visit these sites: