The Nordic Diet: What is it and why should we all be doing it?

What is the Nordic diet? [Photo: Getty]

The Mediterranean diet has long been hailed as the secret to healthy living, but according to experts there’s another lifestyle trend we should all be trying.

Step forward the Nordic Diet.

Yep apparently if we want to lower our risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke we should all be eating like a Viking.

But what does that involve?

The clue’s in the name, as the Nordic diet simply means eating foods from traditional Nordic countries including Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.

Though there’s quite a buzz around the diet right now thanks to the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggesting people try it, the Nordic diet has actually been around for over ten years.

Created by a group of nutritionists, scientists and chefs in 2004, the aim of the diet was to try and tackle obesity rates and unsustainable farming in Nordic countries.

But, it has since gone global!

What is the Nordic Diet?

According to WHO, the diet has a focus on the eating of vegetables, berries, pulses and fatty fish such as herring, mackerel and salmon.

Essentially, anything you could catch in the wild.

Followers of the diet also consume less sugar and fat than many other diets, and it incorporates much more fibre and healthy fish and seafood to improve health and aid weight loss.

What’s the differences between the Mediterranean Diet?

There isn’t a huge difference between the two. Both diets champion the eating of vegetables, legumes, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Perhaps the biggest difference is that the Nordic Diet uses canola oil (also known as rapeseed oil) instead of a more calorific extra virgin olive oil.

There are plus points and negatives to both. Olive oil has more antioxidants, but more saturated fats.

The other difference concerns sustainability. The Nordic diet is as much about this as it is nutrition. With a focus on locally-sourced products the diet is hailed by followers as an eco-friendly way to eat healthily.

Processed food is out in favour of home-cooked meals typically made with lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

According to The Sun, the Nordic diet emphasises that foods like meat, dairy, sugar and alcohol should be eaten sparingly or not at all, if possible, whereas they are encouraged ‘a little’ in  Mediterranean diets.

There is also less of a focus on the consumption of fruit in the Nordic diet, mainly because in the northern hemisphere it does not generally grow as well.

The Mediterranean diet focuses on fish, veg, and olive oil. [Photo: Getty]

What are the health benefits of the Nordic Diet?

A recent review by the WHO found that Britain could lower its rate of heart disease, cancer, and stroke by switching to the Nordic diet thanks to it’s low-sugar and salt content.

Research has also linked the diet to lower incidences of type two diabetes.

Previous studies have also hinted that the diet could help with weight loss, especially in light of the fact that there’s no calorie restriction.

In one six-month trial, comparisons were made between a total of 147 obese participants, some following a typical Danish diet and the others following the Nordic diet.

The results revealed that the Nordic-style eaters lost 10.4 pounds, while the others dropped only 3.3 pounds.

Further studies have also linked the diet to lower blood pressure and inflammation.

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