In the past few years, you’ve probably heard of the Mediterranean diet. It is much more likely that you have become fully familiar with this beneficial lifestyle. You might even practice it yourself. But let’s explain in case you haven’t heard about it or need a little refresher.

This diet is based on the traditional eating habits of people across the Mediterranean. In other words, it’s high in lean protein – also known as fish – fruits, vegetables, and olive oil. It has been hailed for its effects on lifespan, brain health, and mood, among other things. It’s still one of the most popular diets in the world, although a different, slightly different version of it is rapidly gaining traction in the wellness community.

Instead of being based on traditional Mediterranean foods, the new Nordic diet is based on the fruits, vegetables, grains and lean meats found in Scandinavia. Think local and wild-caught lean meats, whole grains, and cruciferous vegetables. Apparently our Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, and Icelandic friends have a secret treasure trove of healthy foods that the wellness world, at least until now, didn’t know about. In fact, their modern eating habits rival the Mediterranean diet for improving overall health.

Read on to learn how you can benefit from the new Nordic diet.

What exactly is this Scandinavian style diet?

The new Nordic diet and the Mediterranean diet are similar diets. Both contain lots of fresh, local plant-based foods and moderate amounts of fish and eggs, with small amounts of dairy products and limited amounts of red meat, candy, and processed foods. The main types of fruit, vegetables and grains may differ slightly between the diets, as the local in the Mediterranean region differs from that in the northern Nordic region.

In contrast to the Mediterranean diet, the new Nordic diet advocates eating organic whenever possible and includes whole grain products such as rye and barley as well as mushrooms and loganberries – all foods that you will not find in the Mediterranean region.

But one of the biggest differences is in the oil. As we know, the Mediterranean diet is based on olive oil. The Nordic diet, on the other hand, contains rapeseed oil (better known as rapeseed oil). Again, this is due to geographic restrictions. After all, Nordic regions are not very suitable for the propagation of olive trees.

Is the Nordic Diet Right For You?

For some, following the Nordic diet can be a challenge due to the availability of local products. It takes planning, so the time and commitment could be challenging for some. Since products such as cranberries and cloudberries are not available in Pakistan, you may need to adjust your diet based on availability in your area.

Regardless of whether you focus on the local aspect of your grocery sourcing, the Nordic diet is a good roadmap for developing realistic eating habits. It can even be modified for vegans and vegetarians by adding more plant-based foods to your diet.

The Nordic diet approach is more of a guideline that can be really sustainable for someone. It’s just the basics and doesn’t think too much or complicate what you’re eating.

Food to eat

The diet emphasizes locally harvested foods. This is important because local foods tend to contain more nutrients and fewer pesticides than foods sourced from distant locations. As soon as you harvest fresh foods like fruits and vegetables, the nutrient levels decrease. The closer you can eat the food to harvest, the more nutrients you will get. It is more likely that local food was recently picked compared to food from other countries that will have to travel long distances to get to you. That’s not to say that non-local foods aren’t healthy, but they can contain fewer nutrients.

Check out the foods that are part of the new Nordic diet:

• Cruciferous vegetables (such as cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts)

• Root vegetables (such as carrots, radishes, and beets)

• Dark leafy vegetables

• Berry

• Whole grain products (especially rye and oats)

• Fish

• Lean game

• Mushrooms

• Fresh herbs

• Nuts and legumes

Food to avoid

As with many diets, the Nordic diet has a handful of foods that you should avoid or rarely enjoy.

• Other red meat that is not game

• Food with added sugar

• Processed meat

• Foods with a high salt content such as meat for lunch, dried pasta, and bread

• Fast food

• Sweetened drinks

Anything that is really high in saturated fat and high in sugar is inflammatory for the body. It causes the body to become stressed.

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