Nordic Diet Explained: Health Benefits, Foods

James Eaton

If someone were to ask you what the healthiest region on earth was, what would you choose? Japan, where the Blue Zone of Okinawa is located and people regularly live to be over 100 in good health? The Mediterranean? While there are many places around the world one could point to, the Nordic region in Northern Europe is often overlooked. But it shouldn’t be—all Nordic countries exceed the global life expectancy.

In the U.S., the average life expectancy is 76 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Nordic countries (which include Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, Aland and the Faroe Islands), all countries but Greenland have had a consistent life expectancy over the 80-year threshold. There are several reasons why people in Nordic countries can expect to live longer than people in the U.S. For example, they are known for having high-quality healthcare available to more people. But one reason is most certainly their diet. This has led to the increasing popularity of the Nordic diet, modeled after the way people eat in this part of the world.

Never heard of it? Keep reading to find out what it is and how it can benefit health.

Related: The Happiest People in the World Swear By These 30 Habits

What Is the Nordic Diet?

Simply put, the Nordic diet is a way of eating modeled after how people eat in Nordic countries. Registered dietitian and recipe developer Julie Andrews, MS, RDN, FAND, says this includes a diet high in the following foods:

  • Vegetables, including root vegetables like turnips, beets and carrots
  • Fruit, especially berries
  • Seafood, especially fatty fish including salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel
  • Fermented foods
  • Dairy, including skyr
  • Legumes
  • Whole grains

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