Nordic foods are trending everywhere. Celebrities are beginning to add them to their diet because they are not just trendy. They are healthy too.
In fact, a recent study in The Journal of Nutrition found that a Nordic diet — rich in foods like whole grain rye, unsweetened yogurt, wild berries, root vegetables, herbs and fatty fish — can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and even lead to weight loss.
Grandma, I am home and ready to learn about pickling! This old technique has come back with more strength than ever before. In fact, we need not look far for proof as a jar of pickled veggies costs a whopping $14 dollars! Their appearance is not only in home cooked meals either. Many restaurants have started adding pickled foods and using them to enhance many different dishes. A favorite veggie to pickle for those using the Nordic diet are cukes and cabbages. The benefits of pickling you may ask? Well these veggies are strong probiotics. Because of the fermentation process, they are a great source of bacteria and can help balance and maintain beneficial gut health.
Canned or Jarred Fish
Pickled herring anyone? While not typical for us North Americans, a Swedish party would not be complete without it. In the Nordic Diet, people eat two to three servings weekly of fish. In fact, they are full in Omega-3 fatty acids which are proven to help lower your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and improve other cardiovascular risk factors.
The only recommendation? Make sure you check where your fish is coming from and ideally buy it fresh. Many fishes are filled with salt and chemicals before being frozen.
Herrings are always a great choice. They are mild tasting fish that are often pickled in a vinegary onion and black pepper brine, and are addictive on dark rye crackers.
Another great alternative if fresh fish is not available? Canned fish! The Nordic diet suggests canned sardines, which are harvested in the frigid waters of the Norwegian fjords are the best choice. These trendy tins are packed with natural immune busters that will improve your health dramatically.
Cloud berries are tiny, native Scandinavian berries that grow wild and have become known for their powerful antioxidant properties. They are incredibly pricey due to their rareness and can fetch a pretty penny in the world market. A close second? Antioxidant-rich domestic wild berries are great. Anything from huckleberries, tiny wild blackberries, or even wild blueberries will do the trick.
Frozen red raspberries are thought to contain the highest antioxidant amounts among domesticated berries as well! Fortunately, these can be found easily in most supermarkets. We recommend adding these little guys to your daily diet. You can snack on the whole berries, or blend them up in a quick smoothie.
Icelandic Unsweetened Yogurt
If you’ve never tasted the Icelandic yogurt known as skyr, get ready to find out what real yogurt tastes like. With minimal sugar, the true tangy taste of cultured dairy comes through easily. Skyr is made by culturing non-fat milk and then straining the liquid, which leads to extra creamy cups.
Probiotics in yogurt play a key role in heart health. Skyr can be substituted for Greek Yogurt in most recipes and will provide similar although not as many health benefits.
Dark Rye/ Barley Breads
The open-faced sandwich, or Danish smorrebroad is usually anchored by dark rye or barley bread. These whole grains contain healthy fats. In the Nordic diet, researchers noted that diets high in whole grains like rye, barley and oats can increase a person’s blood level of good fatty acids, like plasmalogen, which helps decrease their risk for inflammation-based diseases, like type-2 diabetes. Although we realize many people have gone gluten free. There are great benefits to these types of breads that must be considered.
With so much going on in the news it is hard to stay on top of food trends. We understand the Nordic Diet might not be for everyone; however, it is certainly interesting to witness just how many benefits it can provide the body. If you are looking for something new to try we recommend giving this lifestyle a check. Prior to entering we recommend doing your own research and insuring it is something that fits into your budget and personal lifestyle.