a plate with fish and veggies, eat the Mediterranean way, low-carb diet wins

The Mediterranean diet gets all the headlines. It is supposed to be good for your heart, your brain and just about everything else that ails you. Ask almost any health professional about the healthiest diet to follow and the likelihood is that you will be told to try the Mediterranean approach. Chances are good, however, that you will never hear about the Nordic diet.

What is the Nordic Diet?

Nordic diet

herring salad

A diet that has gotten far less attention is the traditional Nordic diet. Sccientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported on more than 2,000 volunteers who were tracked for six years. Individuals who followed the Nordic Prudent Dietary Pattern had a lower risk of dementia than those who ate a diet that included processed foods and sweets.

The healthy Nordic diet includes fish, oatmeal, non-root vegetables such as cabbage, fruits such as apples, pears and peaches and tea. It was at least as good as the the MIND and Mediterranean diet in preventing dementia. The MIND diet stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) has a proven track record against high blood pressure.

What’s Else is the Healthy Nordic Diet Good For?

The recent research discussed at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (July 16-20, 2017 in London) is not the only good news about the healthy Nordic Diet. Swedish women who followed such a dietary approach most enthusiastically had an 18% lower overall mortality rate (European Journal of Epidemiology, June, 2015).

Danish researchers reported (British Journal of Nutrition, March 14, 2013) that:

“Women who strongly adhered to a healthy Nordic food index had a 35% lower incidence of CRC [colorectal cancer] than women with poor adherence; a similar tendency was found for men…A regional diet based on healthy Nordic food items was therefore associated with a lower incidence of CRC in women. The protective effect was of the same magnitude as previously found for the Mediterranean diet, suggesting that healthy regional diets should be promoted in order to ensure health; this will also preserve cultural heredity and the environment.”

The Nordic Diet and the Mediterranean Diet:

One does not have to become excited about just one dietary program. An article in the Journal of Nutrition (April, 2017) points out that both the Mediterranean and the Nordic diet can extend the lives of patients with colorectal cancer (CRC):

“In conclusion, our results suggest that long-term CRC survivors with a stronger adherence to the Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of all-cause mortality. The same tendency could be observed for adherence to the healthy Nordic diet. Our results, along with those of future studies, might help strengthen the evidence and develop dietary recommendations for cancer survivors.”

We suspect that any diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, legumes and nuts will be beneficial. Until now, the Mediterranean diet has gotten most of the attention. Perhaps it is time to give the Nordic diet its due!

Should you wish to learn more about the DASH Diet, the Mediterranean Diet and the Low-Carb Diet, we have some practical tips and recipes in our book, Quick & Handy Home Remedies. You will also find fabulous diet plans in our book, Recipes & Remedies from The People’s Pharmacy.

Share your own favorite Nordic recipes in the comment section below.

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  1. Marilee

    One of the things both diets share is higher consumption of seafood compared to other animal proteins. My Swedish and Norwegian relatives [Nordics all] did eat some veal, pork, and beef, but the healthier long-lived ones ate a lot of fish. No, it doesn’t have to be raw or pickled, though that was popular. They love their rye breads too, along with fruits and veggies and cheese. My Swedish Dad’s favorite snack was pickled herring in cream sauce, on a slice of dense rye bread. My Mom loved sardines. Mom lived to be 93 without dementia. Dad, alas, a life-long smoker, lived to 84. My grandmother and her sister, from Norway, lived to 98 and 102, respectively. All were healthy and active until their last year, without dementia.

    I figure genetics are on my side, but to stack the odds, I eat seafood at least 3 times a week and take fish oil pills. Alas, I can’t stand creamed pickled herring.

  2. Berny

    We’ve been on a low carb, KETO type diet for a couple of years. It’s very similar but does not include grains, and does not limit cheese or butter. I’m wondering if the lack of grains makes a difference in postponing dementia?

  3. Sandra A

    Have recently viewed the documentary film “What the Health” on Netflix and would love to have your opinion regarding its contents.

    Thank you for the wonderful work you do to keep us informed.

  4. Mark
    High Point

    Raw or pickled fish..Ack!!

  5. Mary

    Since so many grains are being sprayed with glyphosate around harvest time, I would avoid the oats as well as others.

  6. SJ

    I think everyone should go back to eating natural food. Forget the prepackaged processed food that has artificial shelf stabilizing additives. We were designed to eat real whole fresh natural food, untainted by anything. Buy local produce or better yet, grow some veggies on your own.

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