The Scandinavian diet is gaining popularity among people. Even those far from the Scandinavian Peninsula. What is this?
Who is thin and healthy? Researchers from Scandinavia found out. Proper nutrition is more important for health than being underweight. Their study focused on the so-called Scandinavian diet. What does her diet include?
See also: Natural remedies and expert advice: how to lose belly fat?
Human health is often equated with body mass index (BMI). However, a person’s weight is not always the most important factor in assessing physical health. Research on the so-called Scandinavian diet shows that healthy food choices are much more important for blood sugar, cholesterol levels and inflammation.
The most widely known recommendation is the Mediterranean diet. Recommended for cardiovascular diseases.
Also, according to the German Dietetic Association (DGE), it is beneficial for diabetes. The Mediterranean diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, legumes and cereals.
In addition, fish plays an important role, but red meat should be avoided. This is reported by the news portal RND.
Alternative to the Mediterranean Diet
The problem is that some of the foods suggested in the Mediterranean diet do not match the fruits and vegetables that come from Northern Europe. Rational nutrition with local products is difficult to achieve. Especially in autumn and winter. In addition, the eating habits of the populations of the North and the South are different.
Therefore, the Scandinavian diet is considered an alternative to the Mediterranean diet. It is based on products from the Scandinavian countries. That is, Denmark, Sweden, Norway or Finland.
However, it is not just smoked salmon, Köttbullar, etc. In contrast, the Scandinavian diet focuses on plant foods that are considered healthy and are available seasonally and regionally in the Nordic countries.
First of all, it must also be said that this diet does not necessarily correspond to the daily diet of many people in the area. After all, dietary mistakes are widespread in Scandinavia.
Scandinavian diet: See what the diet includes
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the portal of the famous Harvard Medical School, the basic elements of the Scandinavian diet include whole grains. For example, such as rye, barley and oats.
Wholemeal bread as well as cereals (such as muesli) can be a great source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Complex whole grain carbohydrates also have a better effect on blood sugar levels than white flour products.
The Scandinavian diet also includes local fruits. According to Harvard Health Publishing, the consumption of berries in particular is associated with positive health effects. In this case, the blueberries come from Scandinavia, as do the strawberries.
The secondary plant compounds and antioxidants found in berries are believed to help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, they have a beneficial effect on blood vessels and blood pressure.
When it comes to vegetables, the focus is on root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. But cabbage, as well as legumes, are also often found on the table.
Canola oil instead of olive oil
Like the Mediterranean diet, the Scandinavian diet recommends eating very little red meat. Highly processed foods such as sweets, soft foods or chips are strictly limited to both diets.
The Scandinavian diet is supplemented with a moderate amount of fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel or herring. As well as eggs and dairy products.
Probably the most important difference from the Mediterranean diet is that the Scandinavian diet favors canola oil over olive oil. Both oils have in common that they are a healthy source of monounsaturated fatty acids.
In addition, rapeseed oil contains alpha-linolenic acid, a vegetable omega-3 fatty acid. By the way, other valuable omega-3 fatty acids are also found in fatty marine fish. Therefore, the Scandinavian diet recommends eating fish two to three times a week.
The Scandinavian diet is not a diet for weight loss
It is important to know that the Scandinavian diet is not a weight loss diet. This is a diet that should have a positive effect on health. Scandinavian scientists in a study conducted at the University of Copenhagen found that this is possible without weight loss.
In this study, two groups of 200 volunteers were compared. Half ate according to their previous habits. The other half were given food similar to the Scandinavian diet. Both groups of volunteers ate in such a way that their weight did not change.
The mean age of all participants in the University of Copenhagen study was 55 years and the average body mass index was 31.6. That is, the volunteers were considered obese.
All study participants had symptoms of metabolic syndrome. They suffered from various diseases such as hypertension, diabetes or high cholesterol. As part of the study, blood and urine samples were regularly tested by volunteers.
“After six months, the Scandinavian diet team was significantly healthier,” nutritionist Lars Ove Dragsted told Sciencealert. He is a spokesman for the University of Copenhagen.
This group had a significant reduction in cholesterol levels and levels of saturated and unsaturated fats in the blood. Participants in the Scandinavian diet also had better blood sugar control than the control group.
Positive health effects without weight loss
It is important to note that people who followed the Scandinavian diet did not lose weight. Although the positive aspects of health have increased.
“We can confirm that the absence of highly processed foods and the lower amount of saturated fats in animal products have a positive effect on us,” concluded nutritionist Dragstead.
Thus, contrary to the conventional wisdom that you must be lean to be healthy, diet probably plays a much more important role in overall health. This is confirmed by other studies related to the Mediterranean diet. In the case of the Scandinavian diet, the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in oil and fish are believed to have a particularly positive effect on health.
Best: long-term dietary changes and exercise
So to live healthier, it is not necessary to resort to fast diets or fasting. Instead, divert your thinking to good foods and healthy fats. The German Dietetic Association (DGE) also warns of the beginning of the “bikini diet”.
“Short-term diets have no long-term effects and endanger a balanced intake of nutrients,” says Antje Gahl. He is the press secretary of the German Nutrition Company. (DGE).
“The rapid loss of many pounds and then the recovery of the initial weight or even more is typical for such diets and can lead to the so-called yo-yo phenomenon,” he added.
Experts, on the other hand, recommend long-term changes in diet and exercise. They are needed to do something useful for the body.
And as the Scandinavian diet shows, for those who prefer high-quality foods and, of course, avoid highly processed foods, as well as sugar and red meat, it is not necessary to have a supposedly ideal body mass index to be healthy.
Read also on the subject:
Subscribe to our Telegram
Receive 1 emergency message per day, every night of the week.