Nordic diet or Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet is always mentioned as THE ideal diet, not least because it can be implemented quite easily – also by people who have so far “well-bourgeois”, say “normal Central European”.
However, the Mediterranean diet is not the only one that is healthy and lively. The Nordic diet is in no way inferior to it.
It is also intended to alleviate or prevent the underlying diseases of the metabolic syndrome: obesity, diabetes, hypertension and high blood fats.
Overweight is often the first stage of the metabolic syndrome. Immediately afterwards diabetes, as its risk for overweight increases by a fifth.
At the same time, the risk for hypertension and high blood fat levels and thus for cardiovascular disease is doubled.
Finnish scientists showed in a recent study that the so-called “Nordic diet” could create the metabolic syndrome out of the world.
Nordic diet as nutritional therapy
Marjukka Kolehmainen and her team at the Finnish University of Itä-Suomen Yliopisto conducted a study with overweight participants who, besides their overweight, also suffered from the remaining complaints of the metabolic syndrome.
The participants were now given a nutritional therapy (consisting of the traditional Nordic diet) developed by the scientists, which was intended to combat the metabolic syndrome.
For four and a half to six months the subjects took either the Nordic diet or a typical western diet.
The typical Western and Central European diet consisted of white flour products, abundant saturated fats, sausage, cheese, meat and only a few fish and vegetables, while the Nordic diet consisted of whole grain products, leaf and root vegetables, berry fruits, rapeseed oil and at least three weekly fish portions.
The study participants were asked to keep their weight as far as possible during the course of the study. Since a loss of weight always entails health benefits, the latter could otherwise have distorted the results of the study.
Nordic diet reduces inflammation level in the body
Before and after the study, the researchers took samples from the test person’s adipose tissue samples, which they then tested for the activity of different genes.
It showed that the Nordic diet was able to reduce the activity of a total of 128 so-called “inflammatory genes”.
It has been known for a long time that subtle inflammation in the subcutaneous fat tissue, which is not perceptible to the person concerned, can interfere, inter alia, with changes in fat and sugar metabolism and thus, for a short time or longer, the metabolic syndrome and arteriosclerosis.
Reduction of such chronic inflammatory processes also leads to a decline in the metabolic syndrome and all its risks for future diseases.
Nordic diet also makes sense without losing weight
As no weight loss was found in the study, the Nordic diet can even inhibit inflammation and counteract the metabolic syndrome if the overweight persists.
Fish as a part of the Nordic diet is by the way not compulsory. The anti-inflammatory effect of fish is largely due to the high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 fatty acids).
However, vegetarians and vegans can also take omega-3 fatty acids in the form of linseed oil, hemp oil, linseed, hemp seed, chiasamen or corresponding dietary supplements (DHA algae oil).