As with the rest of the Western countries; many Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian citizens are eating too much processed food, too much fatty food, French fries, pizza, pasta, and sugary foods. As a result of this “westernization” of their diet; they now suffer from high rates of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
In the February 23, 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, a report was published about the lifestyles and dietary habits of over 57,000 Danes, between the ages of 50 to 64 years old. Multiple lifestyle factors were examined. The lifestyle factors included: exercise, body mass /weight, smoking, alcohol, and education. After accounting for these lifestyle differentiations; the researchers, collecting and analyzing the data, found a strong correlation between eating traditional Nordic foods, and how long the subjects lived.
Over the 12-year study and follow-up period, the men who most closely followed this traditional Nordic diet had a 36% lower risk of dying during that 12 year follow-up period. The women participants showed a 25% reduction in their risk for dying during that same 12 year follow-up period.
Whole-grain rye bread was consumed daily by most of the study participants. They consumed two and a half slices of the whole-rye bread on average. The consumption of the whole-grain rye bread appeared to have the strongest positive effect, particularly with the male participants.
Cabbage is also a commonly consumed staple of the Nordic diet. Cabbage, both red and green, has been shown to enhance health and nutritional status, along with reducing disease statistics. Cabbage has high levels of dietary fiber and also contains a sulphur-containing compound, isothiocyanates, which have been shown to reduce cancer and heart disease.
Root vegetables, which contain highly levels of phytochemicals, have been shown to neutralize free radicals that damage cells and can cause cancer and other diseases. Carrot, turnips, and parsnips are all excellent root vegetables to incorporate into your diet.
Wild berries, pears, and apples are also readily available in Scandinavia. These delicious foods are rich in omega-3 fatty-acids, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens, all of which have been shown to lower risks of cancer. Even cultivated berries, found in U.S. grocery stores, are a good source of these excellent nutrient disease preventers.
This highly plant based diet has showed positive results in reducing weight and extending life-span, and you may wish to consider giving it a try and seeing how you feel. It may be that eating like a Viking is the way to go, dietary!
- Dr. Georgianna Donadio