Nordic diet – the new Mediterranean?

Health  |  By

You’ve heard of the Mediterranean diet being good for health, I’m sure. (That’s the healthy version of Mediterranean eating, not the pizza and ice-cream version….just saying!).

But a recent study has shown that a healthy Nordic diet is also good.

To be honest, it’s not that dissimilar.

Both focus on healthy fats – in the Mediterranean diet it’s often oily fish, olive oil and nuts. In the Nordic diet it’s fish again, but with rapeseed and flaxseed oils instead of olive oil. I guess the Nordic climate isn’t one we’d associate with olive groves!

There’s also an emphasis on veg like peas, beans, cabbage, onions and root vegetables. These are good pre-biotics meaning they are full of the sort of fibre that boosts our healthy gut bacteria and our overall gut health. Increasing research shows that a healthy gut is associated with a healthier mind and weight too! It’s all interlinked.

The Nordic diet has less dairy fat and a significantly smaller proportion of meat than many of us currently eat …. and that has to be better for the planet too.

What’s more, it has a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids. These healthy fats, which we need to get from our diet, have so many benefits – in fact they are a major building block for every cell in our body. In the right ratios, these fats can help your physical and mental health, even without weight loss. Happily, though, studies have shown that a healthy fat balance makes weight loss easier – perhaps due to the positive effects on the brain and reduction in cravings that seems to occur.

But, the standard processed, junk food diet is overloaded with omega 6 compared to omega 3 fatty acids which doesn’t help our health one bit.  That’s why we see such a benefit from having fresh, non-processed food, with an emphasis on oily fish and other balanced sources of healthy fats.

So, whether you choose Mediterranean or go a bit more Nordic seems to be down to your own preference! Either way, your body and mind will thank you for it!

Gözde Gürdeniz, et al. Analysis of the SYSDIET Healthy Nordic Diet randomized trial based on metabolic profiling reveal beneficial effects on glucose metabolism and blood lipids. Clinical Nutrition, 2022; 41 (2): 441

 

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