Everything You Need To Know About The Nordic Diet

When the New Year rears its head, pantry doors are thrown open and fridges excavated. Any food with a semblance of unnatural sugar, processed carbohydrates, or any other so-called nasties are tossed into the trash can, or alternatively consumed in a frenzy in a hope to remove them from sight quickly. When our attention turns towards getting fit and creating a healthy lifestyle, it’s easy to embrace the latest diet trend. But these fads last about as long as the relationships on Married at First Sight, and deciphering just which diet plan is not only the best for your health, but promises to be a sustainable option, can be fraught with difficulty. 

One diet that has become increasingly popular in recent months is that of the Nordic diet, which hails from countries like Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. 

What is the Nordic Diet?

If the name piqued your interest, but you didn’t know exactly what was involved, the bottom line is that this diet is based on plants. While it’s not vegan or vegetarian, the majority of it is fruit and vegetables, making it packed with essential micronutrients and disease-fighting antioxidants. 

What does the diet include?

Key staples in the diet include berries like blueberries and lingonberries, as well as cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale. Root vegetables like potato and legumes like beans, peas and lentils are also widely consumed. Another feature of the Nordic diet includes whole grains like rye, barley, and oats. 

Another key element of the Nordic diet is the consumption of fatty fish, nuts and seeds as these are all considered good-for-you fats. Canola oil is the primary fat used in cooking, which also marks the biggest difference between the Nordic and Mediterranean diets. Canola oil is recommended by the Heart Foundation as one of the healthiest oils thanks to its high percentage of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. 

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What’s off the cards on the Nordic diet?

The good news is that unlike some diets that prove highly restrictive, the Nordic diet doesn’t actually set anything as off limits. Instead, you simply limit some foods and these pertain to those that are highly processed, sweet treats, and red meat. When red meat is consumed, it’s in small portions and it tends to be game meat, like venison. 

What does the science say?

As of yet, there’s yet to be a lot of scientific studies diving deep into the benefits of the Nordic diet. However, you can’t go wrong when your diet is based on lots of plants and whole grains. Basically, it’s just taking intuitive eating that one step further. And aside from being good for you, the diet is also beneficial for the environment as it focuses on seasonal, regional, sustainably-sourced produce. 

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