It seems like a new “fad diet” comes around every year, making thousands of people change the way they approach food. Some are better than others, but many of them completely cut out certain food groups or focus on ingredients that might make you lose weight but aren’t necessarily good for your body. Find out why more people should be eating the Nordic diet.
The goal of any diet plan should be health. If you want to lose weight, it’s about eating fewer calories. But, you shouldn’t focus on weight loss at the expense of your overall wellness.
That’s why it’s always better to make a dietary lifestyle change, rather than jump on fad diet bandwagons. The Nordic diet is a perfect example of that. The countries of Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and Greenland follow a delicious diet that doesn’t deprive you of things you’ll love to eat.
Related: 5 Reasons Why Scandinavia Is One Of The Healthiest Regions In The World
If you want to take charge of your health, it starts with your diet. Instead of cutting out food groups or doing something extreme, let’s take a look at the Nordic diet and how it can help you reach your health goals.
What Does the Nordic Diet Look Like?
When most people hear the word “diet” they automatically think of cutting things out. That isn’t necessarily true. Your diet is simply what you eat every day. For Scandinavians, that consists of a variety of healthy, nutrient-dense staples like:
Berries and other fruits
More important than the specific ingredients is the approach to eating. The Nordic diet is based on whatever is seasonal in Scandinavia, so what is available changes regularly. It’s a great way to keep the diet “fresh” and to keep it from getting boring.
It’s less about cutting things out and more about making smarter choices
There are some foods that you’ll eat often on this diet, like the ones listed above. Others are to be eaten in moderation, and some are to be eaten rarely. Because the Nordic diet focuses mostly on seafood and legumes as sources of protein, red meat is rarely eaten. Does that mean you’ll never be able to enjoy a steak again? No. It does mean, however, that it shouldn’t be a staple in your diet if you go this route.
Related: 6 Scandinavian Health Philosophies We Should All Embrace
Things like eggs, yogurt, and cheese can all be eaten in moderation on a Nordic diet. So, as you can see, it’s less about cutting things out and more about making smarter choices for your body.
What Are the Benefits?
One of the biggest benefits of the Nordic diet is that it provides your body with the nutrients it needs. It’s estimated that 92% of the population has at least one vitamin deficiency. While taking supplements can help, it’s recommended that most nutrients come from the food you eat.
The Nordic diet is rich in vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin E. It can help to reduce your risk of infection, improve your skin health, and protect most of the cells in your body. High levels of Vitamin E are found in foods like spinach and greens, as well as many fruits.
Other researched benefits of this diet include a reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Because of the focus on fruits, vegetables, and herbs, it can even improve your vein health and lessen the risk or discomfort of varicose veins.
Foods rich in vitamins and minerals
When you’re eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals, you’re likely to feel better physically and mentally. Making the switch to a Scandinavian-based diet can improve your overall health and well-being, and you can experience everything from more energy to a better mood.
How to Make More Scandinavian Swaps
It can be difficult to give up your current diet and make a complete switch to something new. Doing so might discourage you from sticking with the newer diet. So, don’t feel as though you have to dive head-first into the Nordic diet while giving up everything you already love.
Instead, try to incorporate more Scandinavian ways of cooking and eating into your regular diet. Swap out things slowly, and you’ll quickly find out what your new favorite dishes are, which ingredients you favor, and what’s easiest to cook. With a slower transition, you’re more likely to make lasting healthy habits instead of falling victim to a fad diet.
Not sure how to get started? Try preparing some Scandanavian vegetables with your meals and using them to swap out other sides. Some of the most common veggies eaten in Scandinavia include:
If your traditional sides include things like french fries and potato chips, making swaps for these (or other) vegetables can make a big difference. Eventually, you might crave those unhealthy foods less as your body gets used to foods that are richer in nutrients.
The Nordic diet is a way of changing your eating habits to look and feel your best. With so many health benefits, it’s a great way to improve your overall well-being without having to go to extremes.
Why More People Should Be Eating the Nordic Diet written exclusively for Daily Scandinavian by Ainsley Lawrence. Ainsley is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She is interested in better living through technology and education. She is frequently lost in a good book.
Feature image (on top) Photo by Cecilia Par / Unsplash