You’ve most likely heard about (or even started following) the Mediterranean Diet -- it's great for your health! And there are lots of other cultures that offer healthful eating patterns -- it’s not just the warm lands around the Mediterranean Sea. For a change of pace, turn your gaze north to the Nordic countries: Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Greenland, and Finland where the Nordic Diet has made health headlines.
What is the Nordic Diet?
The Nordic Diet is based on foods found in Nordic countries that are part of the local, traditional diet . It includes:
- Fruit: apples, pears, and local berries like lingonberries and blueberries
- Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, beets, kale, sugar snap peas, and Brussels sprouts
- Root vegetables: onion, potato, kohlrabi, turnip, parsnip, and beets
- Legumes: brown beans, yellow peas, green peas
- Low-fat dairy: yogurt and cheese
- Seafood: salmon, herring, whitefish, and mackerel
- Other protein foods: poultry, locally-raised red meat including pork and lamb, eggs, local game such as deer and reindeer
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds
- Whole grains that have been grown in these areas for centuries: oats, barley, rye
- Canola oil
Want to know why this eating pattern is worth following and how to put it into action? Don't miss The Nordic Diet: Health Benefits and Tips!
By Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES, CPT, CHWC
- Adamsson V, Reumark A, Fredriksson IB, Hammarström E, Vessby B, Johansson G, Risérus U. Effects of a healthy Nordic diet on cardiovascular risk factors in hypercholesterolaemic subjects: a randomized controlled trial (NORDIET). J Intern Med. 2011 Feb;269(2):150-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2796.2010.02290.x. Epub 2010 Oct 22. PMID: 20964740.
- Adamsson V, Reumark A, Cederholm T, Vessby B, Risérus U, Johansson G. What is a healthy Nordic diet? Foods and nutrients in the NORDIET study. Food Nutr Res. 2012;56:10.3402/fnr.v56i0.18189. doi:10.3402/fnr.v56i0.18189
- American Heart Association. Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/fish-and-omega-3-fatty-acids accessed 4-28-21; last reviewed 3-23-17
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.