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Nordic Diet: Benefits and Risks

nordic foods list
Last Updated on July 2, 2022

New diet trends and fads quickly come and go. How do you know which diets are healthy or fit for your body and lifestyle? Continue reading to decipher whether the Nordic diet is a good fit for you.

What Is a Nordic Diet?

nordic diet list

The Nordic diet is a low-fat diet created by dieticians, scientists, and chefs from Copenhagen, Denmark. It focuses on whole grains, fruit, berries, fresh vegetables, low-fat dairy, and fish. The fruits, vegetables, and grains are preferably locally sourced, making the Nordic diet better for the environment and your body. Those on the Nordic diet eliminate most added sugars and processed foods. 

What Can You Eat on a Nordic Diet?

You can still enjoy most of your favorite dishes while on the Nordic diet. The Nordic diet encourages you to buy whole and fresh ingredients instead of prepackaged and processed ingredients. Preparing meals without processed foods is essential while on the Nordic diet.

The Nordic diet includes low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, healthy fats, poultry, and game. Lean meats such as fish, turkey, chicken, or venison are also in the Nordic diet. If you choose to eat high-fat fish, you may have it two or three times a week. Low-fat fish should suffice the rest of your protein needs. 

Like the Mediterranean diet, which uses olive oil instead of canola oil, the Nordic diet primarily uses rapeseed oil.

What Can’t You Eat on a Nordic Diet?

You can eat most things while on the Nordic diet. However, you must cut out processed foods, added sugars, saturated fats, and red meat. Although some venison and lamb are allowed in small portions, the Nordic diet discourages eating most beef. 

What Are the Health Benefits of a Nordic Diet?

Eliminating processed foods and added sugars from anyone’s diet will skyrocket their health. The Nordic diet is much like the Mediterranean diet, Swedish diet, Norwegian diet, and any other country in that area. These diets focus on fresh, whole ingredients allowing your body to heal from the harm of processed foods.

The Nordic diet is beneficial because it helps reduce:

  • Inflammation
  • Risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Risk of cancer
  • Risk of heart disease

The Nordic diet also lowers cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure causes weight loss, and promotes maintaining a healthy weight.

What Are the Health Risks of a Nordic Diet?

Some people on the Nordic diet do not get the necessary nutrients to maintain the healthiest version of themselves. Remember, your lowest-weighing self does not always mean your healthiest self. It is best to eat nutrient-dense foods and have a well-balanced diet.

Because the Nordic diet cuts out red meat, people who are on it may be low in both protein and iron. If you go on the Nordic diet, make sure to get both of these essential nutrients through other sources. It can be harder to get enough iron and protein without red meat, so iron and protein supplements might need to be taken to be the healthiest you can be.

How To Start the Nordic Diet?

boiled egg with vegetables

So you think you want to go on the Nordic diet. How should you begin? There are a few simple steps to begin your journey.

  1. 1
    Go through your pantry and refrigerator and throw out all prepared and processed foods. 
  2. 2
    Throw out your sugars and honey. Most prepared foods have high amounts of sugar, so check your labels and throw them out.
  3. 3
    Do your research and find out where you can buy locally sourced foods. 
  4. 4
    Create a shopping list and focus on low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, healthy fats, poultry, and game.

What Is a Sample Daily Nordic Diet Menu?

A typical day on the Nordic diet might look something like this:

  • Breakfast: Two hard-boiled eggs, turkey bacon, and avocados on top of a piece of whole-grain toast. Served with a glass of low-fat milk. 
  • Lunch: Nordic Nicoise Salad. A bed of fresh organic watercress topped with boiled eggs, snap peas, sliced cucumbers, shaved fennel bulb, radishes, smoked trout, capers, and Nordic Nicoise dressing. The olive oil dressing with lemon juice, whole-grain mustard, shallot, dill, salt, white pepper, and freshly grated horseradish.
  • Dinner: Roasted salmon seasoned with lemon pepper, with sides of a baked sweet potato and roasted brussels sprouts.

Does the Nordic Diet Work?

It is hard to say whether a diet works because everybody is different. When deciding on a diet, you need to ask yourself some questions to narrow it down. What are your goals? Do you want to improve your health in general? Do you want to feel more energized throughout the day? Are these foods accessible and affordable in your area?

Everybody is different, so the only way to know for sure if a diet works is to set a goal for the diet and test it out yourself.

Most people have found the Nordic diet helpful for losing weight, feeling more energized, and having fewer health problems.

Does the Nordic Diet Help You Lose Weight?

In most cases, the Nordic diet does help people lose weight because it cuts out added sugars and processed foods. However, there is no guarantee that any diet will help everyone lose weight. 

Is the Nordic Diet Considered a Healthy Diet?

Since the Nordic diet cuts out processed foods and added sugars with whole ingredient meals, it's considered a healthy diet. However, it also eliminates most red meat so you may have to find other sources, such as supplements, to fulfill your iron and protein needs. 

Is the Nordic Diet Expensive?

On average, the Nordic Diet does cost more to eat than a typical Western diet. However, these expenses can be overruled because of savings in medical bills later in life. 

What Are Other Diets Similar to the Nordic Diet?

The Mediterranean, Swedish, and Norwegian diets are similar to the Nordic Diet. They all cut out processed foods and added sugars and focus on fresh, local ingredients.

References

Julie Corliss, The Nordic diet: Healthy eating with an eco-friendly bent retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-nordic-diet-healthy-fare-with-an-eco-friendly-bent-201511198673

Diet Review: Mediterranean Diet retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/mediterranean-diet/

Health Sssentials, Nordic Diet: What Is It and What Can You Eat? retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/nordic-diet/

Maria Hornbek-Copenhagen, Nordic Diet Health Benefits Go Beyond Weight Loss retrieved from https://www.futurity.org/nordic-diet-weight-loss-health-benefits-2708342/

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