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Nordic Diet May Beat Mediterranean Diet for Healthiness

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen, in Denmark, have found that a new "Nordic Diet" may be healthier than the much touted Mediterranean diet.

Based on these new findings, the Denmark researchers are formulating a "New Nordic Diet" with the goal of combating obesity and pushing the public to eat more locally grown foods in northern climates.

The Nordic diet includes a high intake of antioxidant berries as well as cabbage, salmon, herring, elk, rapeseed oil and rye. These foods are all extremely healthy, but are not currently part of most everyday diets.

The Mediterranean diet is built around the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish, and limited dairy, red meat, and saturated fats. It has experienced international popularity due to its health benefits, including lower levels of cardiovascular disease, obesity and certain types of cancer.

The Danish researchers have discovered that a diet based on ingredients local to Nordic countries may be even healthier than the Mediterranean diet, and much more sustainable in Northern climates.

Omega-3 rich fish and rapeseed oil (even higher in omega-3s than olive oil) are a large staple in the Nordic diet. Omega-3s have been shown to improve heart health and cognitive function, lower cholesterol and support healthy eyes.

Other health benefits of the Nordic diet come from the rich source of antioxidants from various wild berries like cowberries and blueberries.
The diet also contains a high level of other essential vitamins like vitamin K (from kale and Brussels sprouts) and Vitamin E (from rapeseed oil).

The researchers will use the diet in an intervention study involving approximately 1,600 school children. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers plan to use their findings to encourage increased consumption of these local foods in the community at large.

According to lead researcher Arne Astrup, foods native to almost every region in the world carry health benefits but have seen a decrease in consumption due to fast food, mass agriculture, and heavy importation of foreign foods. He hopes this study will show people that eating fresh, local foods is almost always the healthier and more economical choice.
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