There are many benefits of the Nordic diet, which is a healthy and balanced diet quite similar to the Mediterranean diet.
The Nordic diet involves eating less processed foods, and instead eating more locally sourced food that is sustainably farmed from Nordic countries - or food inspired by Nordic countries.
The food eaten on a Nordic diet includes healthy plant-based foods and foods that are high in protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
The Nordic diet emphasizes healthy eating habits as a lifestyle choice, such as the importance of eating mindfully and regularly. It’s a diet that is much less restrictive than many other fad diets, and its healthy attitude towards eating to nourish your body when you’re hungry is what makes the Nordic diet so popular among dieters as well as healthcare practitioners. Of the 40 best diets overall in 2022, the Nordic diet was rated #10 on the U.S. News and World Report, and this study suggested that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, such as the Nordic diet, could help manage symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Benefits of the Nordic Diet
There are many popular diet plans out there, with new ones being created all the time. Many of them claim to be the best way to lose weight and stay healthy, but with so much conflicting information, it can be hard to sort out which ones are worth paying attention to.
Some diets, for instance, eliminate certain foods based on the calorie content but disregard the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients contained within that food. You could just take vitamins and minerals to make up for those losses, but doctors recommend getting nutrients through foods, over taking supplements.
Thankfully, many newer diets such as the Nordic Diet are starting to focus more on better food quality over restricting food quantity. The Nordic diet’s inclusion of many diverse whole foods makes it a great choice for anyone wanting to eat well and get healthy without having to sacrifice delicious, satisfying meals. While it’s still important to be mindful not to eat excess calories, this diet emphasizes the importance of the quality of food you’re eating. Better overall food quality is one of the key benefits of the Nordic diet.
The Nordic diet is a very balanced, healthy diet that includes good portions of the 5 main food groups, with a focus on locally-sourced, lean protein instead of processed meats or fatty meats such as sausage. This diet also doesn’t involve much sugar or simple carbs, but rather encourages more whole grains and natural sugars from fruits.
Below are some specific health benefits of the nordic diet:
1. Achieve a Healthier Weight with the Nordic Diet
The Nordic diet contains less sugar and fat than you’d likely regularly eat, and it also contains twice the fiber and seafood compared to the average Western diet. One of the benefits of the Nordic diet is that it can help promote weight loss. This study compared dieters following the Nordic diet to those following a typical Danish diet and found that those following the Nordic diet lost around 3x as much weight as those who made no dietary changes. However, it’s important to remember that if you don’t maintain the healthy Nordic diet habits of less fatty meats, less simple carbs, etc - you could very likely re-gain any weight you lost following this diet.
It’s also important to note that the health benefits of the nordic diet aren’t just about weight loss. It’s about more than the number on your scale. Eating this healthy and balanced diet that’s similar to the Mediterranean diet is about improving your overall wellness. Following a healthy diet like this one can reduce your chances of developing serious diseases, and can improve other aspects of your health along the way, which leads us to our next benefit of the Nordic diet:
2. Lower Blood Pressure
The Nordic diet can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Within this research study, researchers noted a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in participants following the Nordic diet.
3. Reduced Inflammation
The same research study mentioned above that compared the Nordic diet to a typical Danish diet found reduced levels of CRP (a protein marker produced by the liver in response to inflammation) in subjects adhering to the Nordic diet. The results of the study suggest that following the Nordic diet may lead to a reduction in inflammation, which is important since inflammation in the body is often a precursor to many illnesses and health conditions.
Chronic inflammation can be a symptom of several health problems. Many doctors will recommend switching to a healthy diet like the Nordic diet if chronic inflammation is a problem for you.
4. Reduced Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
Studies have suggested that adhering to the Nordic diet may reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. This might be because the Nordic diet leads to a reduction in triglycerides and cholesterol, but the findings in this area have been inconsistent.
However, in general, healthcare practitioners always seem to be telling their patients that eating a healthy diet low in unhealthy saturated fats (such as the Nordic diet) is better for your heart health.
5. Lower Risk of Diabetes
A study published in Nutrients found that participants which followed a Nordic diet of fish, cabbage, rye bread, oatmeal, apples, pears, and root vegetables had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes in a follow up study 15 years later. This suggests that a Nordic diet could potentially lower the risks of diabetes.
Whole grains, for example, are a staple in the Nordic diet. Whole grains are packed with nutrients such as protein, fiber, antioxidants and trace minerals. Whole grains are shown to have several health benefits such as reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Other Benefits of Following the Nordic Diet
The benefits of the Nordic diet extend way beyond weight loss and cardiovascular health. There are plenty of other reasons to consider the Nordic diet.
For one thing, the Nordic diet is very flexible and can easily accommodate other dietary restrictions such as dairy or gluten-free. Because the diet is inclusive of all kinds of naturally derived protein and fats, such as nuts and tofu, the Nordic diet can also be very easily adapted into a vegetarian diet.
It’s also more affordable than the Mediterranean diet. The Nordic diet originated in countries that have a much cooler climate, specifically Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Locally sourced vegetables of the area include cruciferous vegetables like cabbages, as well as root vegetables, potatoes, and fatty fish like mackerel and herring, all of which are fairly reasonably priced and easier to find compared to some foods suggested by the Mediterranean diet like cheeses, olive oil, nuts and some fruit.
Finally, the Nordic diet suggests avoiding food that has been heavily processed, opting instead for locally sourced, whole foods grown in season, making it a more environmentally-conscious dietary choice for those of us trying to reduce our waste and carbon footprint.
Benefits of the Nordic Diet: The Bottom Line
The Nordic diet is a well-rounded, wholesome diet plan that can help you lose weight, improve the health of your cardiovascular system, is easy to follow and does not place any overly restrictive limits on what you can eat. It is relatively easy to start implementing the Nordic diet alongside any other dietary restrictions you may have.
On that note, the Nordic diet may be more beneficial to some rather than others. People who are genetically more sensitive to carbohydrates may not be well-suited to follow the Nordic diet. You can find out more about what kind of diet may best benefit you by taking a DNA test through CircleDNA. As always, check with your doctor before starting or stopping any particular diet plan. If your genetic diet and nutrition reports from CircleDNA state that you’re best-suited for a Mediterranean diet, this means you’d also be well-suited to the Nordic diet.