Nordic diet – a competitor to the Mediterranean diet?

Nordic diet

We’ve all heard about the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, right? But are you familiar with the advantages of the Nordic diet? Because it’s a real competitor. Here’s what it’s all about.

The Nordic diet refers to the diet that is typical – or at least readily available – to the people living in the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The diet focuses on local seasonal food with a lot of fiber and seafood.

What you should and shouldn’t eat on Nordic diet

Do eat:

  • fruits and berries
  • vegetables and legumes
  • whole grains (especially rye bread)
  • potatoes
  • low fat dairy
  • fish and seafood
  • lean red meat (in moderation)
  • nuts and seeds
  • spices and herbs
  • rapeseed and canola oil

Don’t eat:

  • foods and beverages that contain added sugar
  • processed food
  • additives

Actually, when you look at those lists it really looks like the Nordic diet has a lot in common with the Mediterranean diet:

They both have a strong emphasis on fruits and vegetables, seafood and whole foods in general. Obviously the selection of food is sometimes different: In the Mediterranean you might have swordfish on a skewer with tzatziki, in the Nordic countries you could go for some gravlax (raw salmon) with a dill and mustard sauce instead.

The are also differences for example in the use of oil. The Mediterranean diet encourages to use a lot of olive oil whereas the Nordic diet is lower in fat and recommends rapeseed and canola oil.

The whole grain products in the Nordic diet also contain a lot more fiber than whole grain products in most other parts of the world. People in the Nordic countries eat a lot of rye bread, crisp bread and oat bread that can contain as much as 15 grams of fiber per 100 grams. That’s a lot compared to the typical whole grain toast that probably contains about 3 – 8 grams of fiber (it varies a lot among brands).

The Nordic food

The great thing about the Nordic diet is that you don’t have to count calories while you’re on it – and you can take the opportunity to try some Nordic or Scandinavian food.

The Nordic diet has its own set of super foods like 100 % rye bread and berries such as lingonberries and blueberries. People in the Nordic countries eat a lot of berries. It is very common for people to pick or buy berries in the summer time and freeze boxes and boxes of them for long winters.

The use of low fat dairy products is also huge. Not only milk and yogurts, but also cottage cheese, quark or skyr and low fat cheese products.

Can the Nordic diet help you lose weight?

Of course it can. To be honest, I’m sure that pretty much any diet that contains a lot of vegetables, fruits and berries will help you lose weight.

Research suggests that the Nordic diet is good especially for short term weight loss. I’m sure for long term as well if you can stick to it. And that’s tough with any diet, isn’t it?

The results of research on the health benefits of the Nordic diet are rather inconsistent. However, the studies do suggest that the diet will help lower your blood pressure. It might also improve your cholesterol levels.

If you want to know more about the Nordic diet and Nordic food, take a look at these books:
The New Nordic Diet
The Everything Nordic Cookbook

(If you order through these links above I will get a small percentage of what you pay. The price of products are naturally the same to you.)

Have you tried Nordic diet or Nordic foods?

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