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?
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.