If you follow dieting and nutrition trends, then you must have noticed that there is a new diet on the market making a lot of noise. A lot of talk has been going on about the Nordic Diet these days. With Oprah, the Time, and other news and media sources covering the benefits of the Nordic Diet, it has definitely piqued the curiosity of many people. If the last decade has been about the Mediterranean Diet, then the coming decade promises to be all about the Nordic Diet. In fact, even nutritionists around the world are giving this diet thumbs up and saying that it is perhaps one of the healthiest ways to eat. So what is the Nordic Diet and is it worth a try?
What is the Nordic Diet?
Gone are the days of crash dieting and calorie counting with the introduction of the Nordic Diet. The Nordic diet promotes the concept of healthy eating for life. With a focus on plant-based, seasonal foods, the Nordic diet is enriched with lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Even though Nordic Diet has been around for many years, it has recently come into the headlines. The Nordic Diet has been adapted from the Baltic Sea Diet Pyramid and includes more nutritional value and flavors when compared to the original version of the diet. The new Nordic Diet looks to promote more variety of food to include in your daily diet along with the use of fewer food additives. Nordic Diet also promotes using organic products wherever and whenever possible along with eating more home-cooked meals.
As the Nordic diet is hailing from the Baltic region, it also places a lot of significance on planning all the meals around winter vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and kale. Fish and eggs are seen to be more of a side dish in Nordic Diet. Nordic Diet also recommends that you include more foods that are found in the ‘wild’ countryside. Now, this may seem to be unattainable for those living in a city, but this is not really the case. Nordic Diet is actually simply referring to foods such as berries and wild mushrooms – options that can be found easily in your local grocery store.
Comparing the Nordic Diet with the Ever-Popular Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has been around for many years now and is also very popular amongst people. The Nordic diet is actually very similar to the Mediterranean diet in that both of them include lots of root vegetables, fruits, whole grains, such as barley and oats, and freshwater fish while limiting the consumption of sugars, processed foods, dairy and red meat. There is a lot of focus on regional plant foods in this diet.
One of the primary differences between the two diets lies in the choice of oily fats. While the Nordic diet advocates the use of rapeseed oil or canola oil, the Mediterranean diet suggests the use of olive oil. Even though both the diets advocate different types of oil, the fact remains that both canola and olive oil are good for boosting your heart health by promoting the production of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body and reducing the level of bad cholesterol (LDL). The Nordic diet suggests canola oil over olive oil because canola has a lower content of saturated fat when compared to olive oil and is, therefore, considered to be healthier. Another difference is that canola oil can withstand more heat thus making it ideal for baking and cooking at higher temperatures, while olive oil is higher in antioxidants and is more flavorful as well.
What are the Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet?
Nutritionists and dietitians have become fond of the Nordic diet because the diet offers many health benefits, all backed by solid research. According to research by the World Health Organization (WHO), both the Nordic and Mediterranean diets help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and also cancer. Other research studies have also shown that the Nordic diet helps lower the diastolic and systolic blood pressure levels while normalizing the levels of cholesterol in the body. The Nordic diet is also ideal for people who want to maintain a healthy body weight or for people who are looking to lose some extra kilos.
Furthermore, the Nordic diet is known to be similar to other anti-inflammatory diets. Anti-inflammatory diets also comprise of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and lean proteins, which help in reducing inflammation in the fatty tissues. This, consequently, helps lowers health risks that are related to obesity. Yet another benefit of the Nordic diet is that it boosts the chances of conception in women who are trying to get pregnant. This is because it is a diet that is low on refined carbohydrates and processed foods while consuming majorly either seafood-based proteins or plant-based proteins coupled with a high intake of fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in these factors has been proven to increase the chances of pregnancy and also boost a woman’s fertility.
The Nordic diet is also known to be good for the environment as it stresses the consumption of fresh and local ingredients, as a result of which, lesser levels of greenhouse gases are emitted. Plant-based diet programs are known to cause less pollution since they make use of fewer natural resources as compared to diets that focus on meat intake. This also reduces the energy consumption and food waste.
One of the biggest advantages of the Nordic diet is that it shifts the focus away from calorie intake and puts it on the intake of quality food instead.
So after reading all this, we can safely say that the Nordic diet is definitely worth a try; not only if you want to lose weight, but also for the benefit of your overall health. The growing interest in the Nordic diet is ensuring that more research goes into the diet and its benefits. As of now though, the Nordic diet is being hailed as being even healthier than the Mediterranean diet, as it focuses on consuming seasonal foods, due to which it fits well within the budget of the normal person as well.
So, if you are looking to start a healthy diet and want a change from the Mediterranean diet, then the Nordic diet is definitely worth a try. Not only does the diet pack in a ton of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, but it is also a wholesome diet that is environmentally sustainable as well.