Scandinavians maintain strong ties to their environment, which shows in their cuisine

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.)

RELATED: Why Scandinavian food is taking over the U.S.


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.

“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.

carrots, turnips, beetscauliflower, broccoli, cabbagekale, spinachchanterelles, wild mushrooms, fiddleheadsbeans, seeds, lentilsrye, oats, barleyberries, apples, pearssalmon, herringelk, venison

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.

“Root vegetables are a basic ingredient in the Nordic kitchen,” says Trine Hahnemann, author of “The Nordic Diet.”“Use them in many ways. They are nourishing and cheap.”


• 1 big chicken
• 2 onions, sliced
• 2 tbsp. olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1¼ cups white wine
• 3 parsnips
• 3 carrots
• 2 sticks celery
• 3 bay leaves
• ½ cup horseradish
• 1 cup kale
• 1 cup feta cheese
• Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the dressing:

• 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
• 1 tsp honey
• 1 tbsp walnut oil
• Salt and freshly ground pepper


Cut the chicken into eight pieces. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and brown the chicken on both sides. Add onion and garlic and saute lightly. Add white wine, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel and cube the vegetables. Place them and bay leaves in saucepan with chicken and simmer for an additional 25 minutes. Add horseradish, season with salt and pepper.

While chicken simmers, wash, stem and chop kale. Grate feta into thin flakes and mix with the kale. Whisk together dressing and toss with the salad. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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