JUN 12, 2018 6:50 AM PDT

What is the Nordic Diet and Can It Work Long-Term?

There are a lot of popular diets out there that promise weight loss, better health and even protection against heart disease, dementia and other conditions. But can they really deliver on these promises? Keto, paleo, gluten-free, low-carb, Atkins and so many others that claim benefits, but how realistic are they?

Can you really find success in eating bacon, eggs and cheese at every meal? Are carbs dangerous to blood sugar levels and overall health? It’s a maze of facts and figures, and there’s another diet on the scene that some say can result in permanent weight loss. It’s the Nordic diet and nutritionists are praising it for being healthy as well as efficient for losing weight and keeping it off.

What’s the Nordic diet? Mostly it’s about eating the foods that people in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark eat. It involves lots of lean fish, berries, fresh vegetables, and legumes. It includes healthy fats, fiber, whole grains and antioxidants, but some might find it hard to adapt to since many of the components are not readily available outside of the countries where it’s popular. According to an article in Business Insider, not just any berries are acceptable on the Nordic diet. In countries in the north Atlantic region, nutritionally dense fruits that are native to the area include lingonberries, gooseberries, and cloudberries. These all are rich in antioxidants. Also, fiber-rich legumes and whole grains are a big part of the Nordic diet.

Board-certified cardiologist, Dr. Luiza Petre told Business Insider magazine that the Nordic diet is good for lowering blood pressure as well as inflammation levels in the body. It’s a long-term solution to cholesterol issues and weight-loss because it does not include a lot of processed food or refined sugar. Dr. Petre told the magazine that it was also good for the environment, stating,“One of the main benefits of the Nordic diet is its impact on the environment. It's very plant-based and creates little pollution."

So if you serve up some lutefisk and lingonberries, is that all it will take? No, not really. One of the main components of the diet is a lot of exercise. Winters are long in Nordic countries, but they don’t sit around binge-watching Netflix and downing Swiss cocoa. In addition to outdoor activities like skiing, skating, and even dog sledding, people in Nordic countries like to hit the gym. It staves off winter depression and keeps endorphins flowing. Could the Nordic diet be just another fad that will fade away? Perhaps it won’t really catch on since some of the foods are not readily available in other areas, but the basics of lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and exercise are a good idea even if you are not a Viking.

Sources: Business Insider, Health.com

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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