Enough with Mediterranean countries and Okinawa Island in Japan — Scandinavia is the new center of attention for nutritionists and advocates of healthy eating.
“We have shown that this healthy Nordic diet results in a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, decreases [bad-to-good] cholesterol ratio and lowers blood pressure,” explains professor Matti Uusitupa, leader of a new study of Scandi-cuisine. “It also results in decreased values of some inflammatory markers, which are connected to cardiovascular diseases and the risk of type 2 diabetes.”
Scandinavian obesity rates are between 10 and 15 percent, compared to 35 percent in the U.S. The Nordic diet — high in whole grains, vegetables, fruit and fish — is clearly one for those with a taste for staying trim. (And no, Danish pastries aren’t included.)
Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland recently established that the Nordic diet reduces the expression of inflammation-associated genes in fat tissue, linked with chronic weight-related diseases.
“Weight loss has been shown to happen if the Nordic diet is used without any particular emphasis to do so,” adds Uusitupa.
Root vegetables: carrots, turnips, beets
Cruciferous vegetables: cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage
Dark leafy greens: kale, spinach
Foraged foods: chanterelles, wild mushrooms, fiddleheads
Legumes: beans, seeds, lentils
Whole grains: rye, oats, barley
Fruits: berries, apples, pears
Wild fish: salmon, herring
Wild, lean game: elk, venison
“The new Nordic diet is based on regional foods that bridge gastronomy, health and sustainability,” explains Arne Astrup, head of the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to go fishing on the Norwegian fjords to follow this healthy eating lifestyle.
“You can do it everywhere in the world — same principle, just locally produced food,” he advises.