Benefits of the New Nordic Diet
The new Nordic diet is based upon traditional foods eaten in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Moreover, U.S. News ranked it #9 as the best diets overall, #3 as the best plant-based diet, and #6 as the best diets for healthy eating in their 2019 rankings. Because the focus of the diet is on eating wholesome foods, the new Nordic diet can be adapted to foods local to your area.
Especially relevant, the new Nordic diet is based on the concepts and foods described below.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Berries are a good source of antioxidants called anthocyanins. Because anthocyanins help keep your veins and arteries healthy and flexible, they help lower your blood pressure.
- Beans and Peas are a major source of complex carbs and fiber. They are also a good source of proteins and nutrients like riboflavin, B6, calcium, zinc, and iron.
- Legumes and vegetables such as cabbage
- Root vegetables and tubers like carrots, parsnips, beets, and potatoes. Also, they are a source of fiber that takes a long time to digest and keeps your blood sugar stable. In addition, they help protect your cells, lower your cholesterol and fight infection.
Eat more whole grains
Examples of whole grains include barley, oats, whole-grain crackers from Sweden, or dark, dense sourdough rye bread from Denmark. Most of all, they provide high-quality “complex” carbohydrates that are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help protect your cells.
Eat more foods from the seas, lakes, and the wild
In fact, these foods contain omega-3 fatty acids that lower your chances of heart rhythm problems, result in less plaque buildup in the arteries and cut down on triglycerides in blood. Examples of these foods include the following:
- Fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and albacore tuna
- Tilt fish such as cod, haddock and halibut
Use less processed and less sugary foods
The new Nordic diet uses a carb-to-protein ratio that is based on a combination of Low-Glycemic Index (Low-GI) and moderately high-protein foods, including dairy products. Low-GI foods cause a slower and lower elevation in blood sugars compared to High-GI foods. Protein-rich foods make you feel less hungry. By properly balancing nutritionally dense foods, you can prevent weight gain, reduce inflammation in the body and lower your risk of diseases like diabetes.
Eat more home cooked meals
Cook more meals at home using canola oil or rapeseed oil. In fact, they are low in saturated fat, high in healthy monounsaturated fat, and alpha-linolenic acid. By the way, alpha-linolenic acid contains omega-3 that helps protect your brain, including from strokes. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean diet uses olive oil. Otherwise, both diets are similar and the Mediterranean diet also has relatively similar benefits.
Seek out more foods from the wild
Nuts and seeds are a good source of complex carbs and fiber. Also, they are rich in zinc, copper, potassium, vitamin E, niacin, antioxidants, and mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats.
Other concepts and foods
- Choose small amounts of high-quality meat
- Whenever possible, use organic produce
- Avoid food additives
- Eat more seasonal produce
- Create less waste
Here is a cheat sheet of the diet:
What to eat more often?
Eat nuts, seeds, rye breads, whole grains, fruits, berries, legumes, vegetables, potatoes, fish, seafood, low-fat dairy, herbs, spices and rapeseed or canola oil often.
What to eat less often?
Eat cheese, yogurt, eggs, and game meats not so often.
What to eat rarely?
Eat red meat and animal fats rarely.
What to avoid?
Avoid eating processed meats, refined fast foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, and other food additives.
Benefits of the Diet
The benefits of the new Nordic diet include the following.
- Like any diet, losing weight requires discipline and perseverance. But, if you follow that, the diet helps to lose weight especially the fat around the waist.
- Scientist think this diet helps heart health because the diet lowers unhealthy cholesterol, blood pressure, glucose, and insulin levels.
- Lowers LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol
- Reduces risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Helps cut back on inflammation. In fact, inflammation is linked to diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.