Nordic Diet: Eat This Way to Prevent Chronic Disease

smelling flowers

If you lived in northern Europe 500 years ago, your diet would probably look a lot different than it does now. In the United States, fast food, burgers, fries, and pizza are practically a good group. Most people don’t eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables as recommended. Soda and sugary drinks are frequently a first pick over water. And there’s a price to pay for it.

  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and claims the lives of an estimated 633,000 people a year.
  • About 100 million people have type 2 diabetes, or are at risk for developing the disease.
  • One in three adults are overweight or obese.
  • Cancer represents nearly 23 percent of all deaths.

But if you lived in Nordic countries like Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway or Sweden a half-century ago, hypothermia and shipping accidents were a more likely cause of death than chronic disease. And it’s one reason the Nordic Diet has been recognized by the World Health Organization as smart way of eating, similar to the Mediterranean Diet. Nordic Diet food list includes:

  • Fish
  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • Berries
  • Canola oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Legumes
  • Poultry and game meats

Even though Nordic cultures have been eating this way for centuries, the Nordic Diet wasn’t really recognized as a healthy way of eating until chefs RenĂ© Redzepi and Claus Meyer opened the restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2003.

But earlier this year, the World Health Organization published the Health Evidence Network Synthesis Report that identifies the Nordic Diet as an effective way to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Do you need to take a trip to northern Europe to eat like the Nordic’s centuries ago? No. Take a look at our selection of meals made from fresh ingredients, and you’ll find many options that include Nordic favorites like fish, whole grains, vegetables, legumes, and poultry.