A healthy, Nordic diet will decrease cardiovascular diseases and the risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a study that the Nordiska ministerrådet (the Nordic Council of Ministers) has initiated in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. The study, in which 200 people participated, shows that the diet as a whole is important, just like the well known Mediterranean diet, rather than individual foods.
The Nordic diet is about locally produced food. Animal and butter fats are exchanged for vegetable oils and margarine based on vegetable oils. Nordic food has been shown to reduce inflammation in conjunction with cardiovascular diseases. The levels of harmful cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, decrease while the levels of good cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, increase so the proportions between the two fat types improve. Meanwhile the amount of harmful fat particles in the blood vessels also decreased with the diet.

With these types of improvements, researchers involved in the Nordic project Sysdiet, calculate that the risk of cardiovascular diseases will decrease by 10 to 15 percent during a five to 10 year period. Thanks to the diet, the body’s absorption of minerals and vitamins also increased.
The Sysdiet project began in 2007 with a diet based on foods originating from the Nordic countries, a diet which improves the blood lipid profile and the insulin sensitivity, and which lowers blood pressure and body weight in hypercholesterolemic people. It means a higher intake of plant foods, fish, eggs and vegetable fats, and a lower intake of meat products, dairy products, sweets, desserts and alcoholic beverages.
Nordiska ministerrådet’s homepage explains how to best prepare the Nordic diet: Rape seed oil and plant oil-based margarines are substituting animal and butter fats, fat-free dairy foods are also recommended. Domestic seasonal fruits such as apples, pears, plums and berries are good as are vegetables and root crops. Whole grains of rye, barley or oats should be consumed daily. For protein, they recommend lean and fatty fish two to three times a week, as well as game and poultry. Red meat and sausage, on the other hand, should be eaten in moderation.


For more info, see Nordisk kost kan reducera hjärt-kärlsjukdomar och diabetes (In Swedish) or: New study on a healthy Nordic diet (English summary at Nordforsk)