With the evolution in time and excessive research in nutrition, several new diet plans are being unveiled. For instance, Nordic Diet was discovered in 2004 by the Denmark’s University of Copenhagen and a popular restaurant, NOMA.
Being a diet peculiar to the Nordic region, it prefers a diet similar to the people living there. Although, with the name of Scandinavian and Europe, a flash of appetizing meatballs floating in a cream sauce crosses the mind. However, very few of us know that traditional Nordic regions rely on healthy and clean eating with no additives. That may be why it stands at 5th rank as the Best Diet For Healthy Eating according to the US News.
Nordic Diet emphasizes locally produced foods of Nordic countries. It recommends seasoned and organic meals without additives and preservatives, which are suitable for nature and the environment. It involves plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, omega-3 rich fish, high-quality meat, and food from wild landscapes such as wild mushrooms.
Baltic Sea Diet Pyramid (BSDP)
Baltic Sea Diet Pyramid (BSDP) helps to understand the preferences given to each item in the Nordic Diet. It typically contains ten groups of food. Starting from the preferable one,
- Whole-grain Cereals
- Milk Products (Low fat or fat-free)
- Rapeseed Oil and Margarine
- Animal fats
- Red meat
The last three things are not that preferable and have to be avoided.
What Can We Eat?
We know that vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and lean meat are preferable in Nordic Diet. But, it is essential to understand what kind of vegetables, fruits, and grains one can take to achieve the most out of this diet plan.
Vegetables And Fruits
If you plan to start Nordic Diet, note that veggies and fruits are a major chunk of this diet plan. In addition, to follow it typically like the traditional civilians of Nordic areas, it is essential to consume the organic ones.
Starting from vegetables, root vegetables and leafy vegetables are mostly recommended in Nordic Diet. However, apples, pears, and berries such as raspberries and strawberries have a special place among all other fruits in the Nordic Diet.
According to a survey, at least a quarter of the calories in the nordic diet comes from whole grains. Rye, Oats, and Barley make up a major part of the Nordic Diet and are recommendable because of their low GI. In addition, their cereals and bread are favorable to consume until they do not contain preservatives and added sugars.
Similar to the Mediterranean Region, people living in Nordic Region prefer to have fish in their meal. Usually, they go for freshwater fish with a good amount of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and are low on saturated fats, such as Salmon, Mackerel, or Herring.
Although this diet plan strictly restricts red meat, it does not completely deprive followers of meat products. People opting for it can select poultry and game meats such as chicken, turkey, and lean meat.
Nordic Diet includes food with less bad fats and plenty of healthy fats such as oil obtained from rapeseed, commonly known as canola oil. Apart from it, certain nuts and seeds are also a part of the Nordic Diet.
While talking about dairy products, low-fat milk, unsweetened yogurt, and cheese are preferable in the Nordic diet plan.
Carb To Protein Ratio In Nordic Diet
According to the US News, instead of calories, one can calculate the carbs to protein ratio in the ND. For ideal meals, the carb-to-meals ratio is generally 2:1. Make sure to opt for carbs with low GI, such as rye.
Similarity Between Nordic Diet And Mediterranean Diet
The diet that is often compared to the Nordic Diet is none other than the Mediterranean Diet. They are rich in vegetables and fruits, contain plenty of whole-grain cereals, and prefer seafood. Not only this, both restrict red meat, saturated fats, and sweetened edibles. Moreover, according to the WHO (World Health Organization), both of them lowers the risk of cancer, heart diseases, and DM (Diabetes mellitus).
However, there are certain points where two of them differ from each other. Such as the MD diet prefers Olive Oil, whereas the ND prefers Canola oil. According to the source, both consist of healthy fats and are good for maintaining cholesterol levels, but canola is considered healthier.
Benefits Of Nordic Diet
The nordic diet works phenomenally to reduce weight. Several studies out there are assessing the effects of the Nordic diet on weight. Some have shown a great outcome and have opened a door of virtues for the people looking forward to losing some extra pounds.
Being a diet based on whole and plant-based meals helps lower BMI (Body mass index), fat content, and waist circumference. For example, a study published a couple of years ago on SpringerLink exhibits a Nordic Diet Plan on weight and adiposity indices. In the study, participants were assessed based on the impact of the Nordic Diet on their waists, BMI, and body fat content, hence their weight. Later, on assessment, it showed that those who stuck to the Nordic Diet lost 1.83kg more weight than the other group.
Another research conducted back in the year 2014 has been supporting the fact. In the study, 181 obese individuals were asked to choose between the New Nordic Diet (NND) plan and the Average Danish Diet. Around 80% of them, i.e., 147 people who followed the NND, showed a remarkable decline in their weight. They lost 4.7kg, i.e., around 10 pounds, compared to the other group which lost just 1.5kg, i.e., near 3 pounds.
However, this diet plan has another aspect too. A year later, on follow-up, it found out that those participants who opted for NND had gained weight again. But, those who were physically active regained less weight than those living a sedentary lifestyle.
Hence, NND is beneficial to reduce weight, but at the same time, chances to regain some of it persists. But, regular physical activity alongside the higher compliance diet can prevent the individual from regaining long-lost weight.
Helps To Maintain Blood Pressure
Another perk of the New Nordic Diet is its astonishing effect on Blood Pressure. In a similar study conducted in 2014, those 147 exhibited a significant reduction in their systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The average decline in systolic pressure was 5.1 mm of Hg, and for diastolic, it was 3.2 mm of Hg.
Another study is supporting the cause. Participants with metabolic syndromes showed a remarkable drop in diastolic blood pressure after following the ND for 12 weeks consecutively.
Blood Sugar Level
As we have already mentioned above, it contained low-GI foods. Thus, the carbs and bread that it offers to its followers are beneficial to maintain the blood glucose levels in ranges if their quantity and carb to protein ratio monitor strictly.
In addition, US News has allotted it the 14th rank in Best Diabetes Diet. However, one can not rely solely on the Nordic diet for lowering the high blood glucose level.
Promotes Heart Health
Being a 15th Best Heart-Healthy Diet, it is helpful to keep a human heart healthy and maintain its steady rhythm. In addition, it has been observed that people who followed Nordic diets exhibited improved Lipid Profiles.
Being a heart-healthy diet plan, it consists of several foods that promote heart health. On top of them, omega-3 fatty acid lowers bad cholesterol and elevates HDL (high-density lipoprotein).
But, similar to its effect on blood sugar levels, a person can not wholly rely on Nordic Diet for maintaining heart health. Thus, although it is good enough, its impact on LDL and HDL is inconsistent and needs to be studied further.
The nordic diet mimics the Anti-inflammatory Diet to some extent as both are rich in fruits and vegetables and refrain individuals from saturated fats and red meat. In addition, such diet plans regulate inflammatory markers and genes related to the inflammation to control inflammatory responses. In this way, it reduces inflammation in fatty tissues, thus lowering the chances of obesity-related health issues.
Yet, results obtained from the studies are pretty vague as some are showing that ND tends to reduce inflammation. But, on the contrary, some are reporting almost no effect of ND on inflammation. Hence, its ability to reduce inflammation is weak but can’t be denied entirely.
In conclusion, Nordic Diet is beneficial to promote healthy eating as it does not involve any processed meals or additives. Moreover, the way it favors organic sources and food produced locally in vegetables, fruits, and fish is preferable to save the environment.
Apart from its positive effects on nature, it is also beneficial for human health. It helps to reduce weight and keep the BP in range while lowering the risk of Hypertension. Including this, it also tends to lower blood glucose levels and cholesterol levels alongside mediating inflammatory markers. But, these effects are weak and need to be studied further.