Rapeseed oil, fish, veggies, whole grains, and berries are the primary ingredients of the Nordic diet that has been recognized as incredibly healthy, sustainable, and tasty. The diet can help in preventing obesity and reducing the risk of high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure.
Research on the Nordic diet has until now mainly been associated with the positive health effect of the diet after losing weight. But an analysis provides evidence that a Nordic diet provides positive health benefits irrespective of whether weight is lost or not. The study reveals that the positive effects on cholesterol and blood sugar are not just because of the weight loss. (Journal reference)
Urine and blood samples were examined from 200 individuals older than 50, all of who had elevated BMI and an increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The individuals were split up into 2 groups, one group consumed foods based on the Nordic dietary recommendations and a control group consumed their normal diet.
The Nordic diet group became significantly healthier after 6 months, with reduced cholesterol levels, reduced levels of both unsaturated and saturated fat in the blood, and better glucose regulation, in comparison to the control group. The Nordic diet group was asked to keep their weight stable, and to eat more if they were losing weight. Health improvements were experienced even without having lost weight.
A possible reason for these health benefits could be the unique fat composition found in a Nordic diet instead of just from weight loss.
It was found that individuals who experienced the most benefits from the Nordic diet had different fat-soluble substances in their blood compared to the control group, which seems to be associated with unsaturated fatty acids from the Nordic diet’s oils. This indicates that Nordic dietary fats are probably the most important reason for the health benefits.
The Nordic diet’s fats come from sunflower, rapeseed, flax seeds, and fish as well as other things. Although these fats provide health benefits for the body, it’s not exactly known why they appear to reduce both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The fat composition probably played a significant part in the Nordic diet’s health effects even when the study participants’ weight remained constant as it’s higher in omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fats.
The recommended foods of the Nordic diet include veggies such as root vegetables, onions, cabbage, beans, and peas, as well as fruits such as berries, plums pears, and apples. Seeds, nuts, whole grains, shellfish, and fish, as well as vegetable oils made from flax seed, sunflower, or rapeseed are recommended as well. Also recommended are low-fat dairy products, as well as considerably less consumption of meat.
The Nordic diet provides important vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that have a beneficial effect on health which include reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, blood clots, cholesterol, and high blood pressure levels, and also cardiovascular disease in general.
Originally published on: AHealthBlog