Studies have suggested that consumption of diets containing fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and whole grain reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Some diets like the Mediterranean or the DASH diets, which consist of many of these healthy food components, substantially improves several risk factors such as insulin resistance, blood lipid profile and blood pressure. However it is not always easy to implement the Mediterranean diet in populations elsewhere due to regional or cultural differences.
The Nordic Diet
The Healthy Nordic Diet (HND) consists of berries, fish, root vegetables, and rapeseed oil is known to benefit different aspects of health, such as weight loss, blood pressure, inflammation and blood lipid profiles. Also, some studies have pointed to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes as well as of lower mortality.
A group of Scandinavia researchers have recently published a study in which they evaluated the use of the HND and its metabolic effects on glucose metabolism, blood lipid profiles, and inflammatory markers using data from a previous trial from 2013.
The study included a total of 200 participants that were overweight and also had metabolic syndrome, with an average age of 55 years.
The team first let the participants consume their regular diets for 4 weeks followed by a random selection into 2 groups, one that consumed the HND and a control group.
The volunteers in the HND group were recommended to increase their intake of products high in whole grain, berries, fruit and vegetables, whereas the participants in the CD received advice to eat common low-fiber wheat cereal products like refined wheat bread and pasta, rice and butter and not to moderate their intake of fruit and vegetables.
Both diets contained similar amounts of calories to keep the participants with a stable weight. Both groups were followed-up for up to 24 weeks.
The researchers found that those in the study group had different fat-soluble metabolites in their blood than others, which were linked to better glucose regulation, improved cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease. The results were independent of body weight of the participants.
The team believes that the results are mainly due to the high content of healthy fats in fish, flaxseed, sunflower and rapeseed. All of the previously mentioned foods are rich in omega-3 and omega-6 unsaturated fats.
Gözde Gürdeniz, et al. Analysis of the SYSDIET Healthy Nordic Diet randomized trial based on metabolic profiling reveal beneficial effects on glucose metabolism and blood lipids. Clinical Nutrition. 2022. Vol 41, Iss 2 Pag 441-451. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2021.12.031