It seems as if we’re constantly being bombarded with new diets that promise to be the key to improving our health and keeping us slim. Some of the best and most effective diets of 2017 seem to have a few things in common: They’re all rich in produce, protein, and healthy fats.
And there’s one diet in particular that seems to fly under the radar, but still has many of the remarkable health benefits of some of the most highly rated eating plans on the planet. In fact, it has been called the next Mediterranean diet, which is quite a compliment.
The elements of a healthy diet
Since every body is different, it makes sense that different diets will work for different people. But it seems that the most highly rated eating plans are quite similar: They involve getting adequate calories from fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and limited amounts of dairy, refined carbs, and treats. This seems pretty specific, but in fact, many diet plans meet these regulations.
The New Nordic diet
If you’ve never heard of the Nordic Diet, you’re not alone. It gained popularity in 2015 when people noticed that the obesity rates in Nordic countries are much lower than in America, but it hasn’t created as much of a buzz as the Mediterranean diet. The results of several studies on the diet show that it not only helps people lose weight, but it could also improve their moods.
The Nordic diet focuses on whole, natural foods traditionally eaten by residents of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland. This includes a lot of root vegetables, cabbage, dark greens, apples, pears and berries, whole grains, fish, and wild game. You can also indulge freely in mushrooms, nettles, garlic, and fresh herbs like dill and chives. This is pretty similar to the Mediterranean diet, only canola oil (instead of olive oil) is the most popular choice on this plan.
Foods to avoid
If you decide to go Nordic, you’ll want to avoid fast food, refined foods, sugary drinks, and excess sugar. Fast food, processed meats like bacon and hot dogs, and foods with additives or chemicals are also not recommended. Red meat is a rare treat, and all dairy products consumed should be low in fat.
Health benefits of the Nordic diet
Since obesity rates in Nordic countries are much lower than ours, it’s clear that this is a diet that works. The results of a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a healthy Nordic diet seemed to have an impact on genes in abdominal fat, turning off genes that cause inflammation. The diet also lowers you risk of Type 2 diabetes and helps prevent chronic diseases.
The positive ecological impact
There’s also another positive aspect of the Nordic diet: It has ecological and socioeconomic benefits. The diet recommends limiting meat consumption, which is good for the environment. Also, since eating local is emphasized, it cuts way down on long-distance imported foods.
This healthy and delicious way of eating is called the New Nordic diet, but obviously people in Nordic countries have been eating for centuries. The new version of the diet was developed in 2004, when professionals and chefs from all five Nordic countries met in Copenhagen to help create a new regional cuisine. They wanted to create a diet that is simple, affordable, sustainable, and healthy. Clearly, they succeeded.
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