Nutrition experts are buzzing about the Nordic diet. As the name suggests, the Nordic diet consists of foods that are locally sourced and traditionally eaten in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
Typically, the Nordic diet includes whole-grain cereals such as rye, barley, and oats; berries and other fruits; vegetables especially cabbage and root vegetables like potatoes and carrots; fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring; and legumes (beans and peas).
Many call it the New Nordic Diet, which has become a new food culture developed in 2009-13 with key emphasis on gastronomy, health, and environment. The New Nordic Diet is based on Nordic ingredients but is adaptable all over the world.
Contrary to the Mediterranean diet, which includes olive oil, it favors rapeseed oil (canola oil), which is high in healthy mono-unsaturated fat. And it also contains some alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid similar to the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.
Canola oil can help to reduce bad LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s possible that canola oil may be better at reducing bad cholesterol and improving heart health. The diet emphasizes cutting out processed foods and most high-fat meats like sausage or bacon.
Health benefits of the Nordic diet –
Its health related benefits are enumerated below:
• A major review by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that both Mediterranean and Nordic diets reduce risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
• The diet could also contribute to weight loss. A University of Eastern Finland study also found that the diet down regulates the expression of genes associated with inflammation, which is thought to contribute to many chronic health problems and play a role in obesity.
• Processed foods are more palatable, which results in overeating and weight gain. Since the Nordic diet de-emphasizes consumption of processed foods, it prevents over-eating and resultant weight gain.
• Eating more of a plant-based diet is better for the environment as there are far less greenhouse gas emissions. About 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock production. It has been reported that factory farming for meat production contributes more to global warming than all planes, trains, buses and cars combined.
The Crux –
The Mediterranean diet has been considered to be the best so far as health benefits it is believed to offer. Now there is another diet making its mark in the culinary world so far as its health benefits are concerned. This is the Nordic diet.
In many ways, it is very similar to the Mediterranean diet but relies on rapeseed (canola) oil instead of olive oil. It also differs in its selection of types of produce, which are cultivated locally, depending on the region’s climate, soil and water.
Hence it encompasses both the health and well-being of the individual and environmental sustainability.