Nordic Diet

A healthy diet designed in 2004 by researchers in Iceland, Finland and Norway to include locally found items. It is the Northern European answer to the popular Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes olive oil, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fish, and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Since many foods in the Mediterranean diet (such as tomatoes) are not native to Northern Europe, the Nordic diet emphasizes locally found items such as canola oil, elk, herring, salmon, bilberries, root vegetables (turnips, beets, carrots, and potatoes), rye, ligonberries, and mushrooms.

Various studies have shown that following a Nordic diet can improve risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, including body weight, insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, and low-grade inflammation. In people who already have Type 2 diabetes, a Nordic diet has been shown to reduce body weight, waist circumference, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (“bad”) cholesterol, blood pressure, and hemoglobin A1C (a measure of blood glucose control over time)—changes that should lower their risk of heart disease and other diabetes complications. Some health experts say that there is nothing special about the specific foods in the Nordic diet. Rather, they emphasize the health benefits of any diet that is low in saturated fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, wild game, fish, unsaturated vegetables oils, and whole grains.

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Want to learn more about the Nordic diet? Read “Make Room, Mediterranean Diet: There’s a New Diet in Town.”

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