Scandinavians counterattack our Mediterranean diet

From a time to this part, it seems that the citizens of the countries of northern Europe are better in everything: the lagom Lifestyle guarantees happiness to the swedes, as much as the ' hygge ' to the Danes. Now they take a breast from their own diet, relying that the rate of obesity in sweden, norway, finland, Denmark and Iceland is lower than in other Countries. The World Health Organization (who) compares it with the mediterranean: both "have been identified as healthy diets specific to their region," he estimates. Do we really have to start eating like vikings?

Let's go for parts. of entry, the right thing would be to talk about the new Nordic diet, since it differs from that which the Scandinavians have traditionally consumed. It was born in 2004, when a group of chefs from those countries developed the Manifesto of the Nordic cuisine. Its objective: to lay the foundations of a seasonal diet, sustainable, ethical, healthy and of Quality. "they then begin to adapt the general characteristics of the prudent diet, which are mainly based on the Mediterranean diet, because it is of which there is sufficient scientific evidence, to the gastronomy, the products, the palatability and the habits Food of the nordics, "explains Ángeles Carbajal, Professor of nutrition at the faculty of Pharmacy of the Complutense University of Madrid.

That is one of the legs of the new Nordic diet; The other is the food pyramid of the Baltic sea, developed by the Finnish Association of the heart, Diabetes and the University of Eastern Finland. it prioritizes the consumption of vegetables, the fruits of the forest, the cereals of grain and the fatty Fish. The sum of the healthy and the sustainable gave rise to the new Nordic diet.

Local and seasonal foods

Also the nearby FOODS. Something that, above all, has benefits for the Environment. "the nutritional value is not greater," says Carbajal. "but in that environment it is easier to get them and cheaper, which is in tune with the global commitment to sustainability. moreover, in those countries with low population density, local and seasonal foods are likely to know Better. "

and bet on the seasonal ones. "they are collected in their optimal collection period, when more nutrients have," specifies Esteban picó, dietitian-nutritionist and member of the Health Commission of the College of Dietitians-nutritionists of the Valencian Community. and organic food whenever possible, although in this case, "scientifically there is no evidence that an organic product is more nutritious," adds Professor Carbajal.

More fish and less meat

It defends the consumption of fats from fish and a lower intake of meat (less meat, but more quality). "the recommendation to reduce meat consumption is basic," says Carbajal. "we are eating more than twice as much as is recommended, with all that it implies: usually accompanied by saturated fat, more salt... And so important is what you eat as you stop eating: who bases their diet on meat, will stop drinking vegetables. "

As for the fish, "especially if it is wild, which predominates in its seas and lakes, it has a large amount of Polinsaturada fat, the famous Omega 3, which consumed in moderate amounts have a beneficial effect on cardiovascular disease and other Chronic Diseases. Replacing one fat with another would have that beneficial effect. "

A diet very similar to the Mediterranean

A study published in 2014 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ensures that the new Nordic diet produces weight loss and lowers blood pressure in obese individuals. "this Diet is based, like the mediterranean, on the consumption of vegetable foods (green leaf, cabbage, broccoli...), wild red fruits, whole grains and some legumes. These foods have very little sodium, more potassium, and that sodium/potassium ratio is very beneficial to reduce blood pressure, as well as the antioxidants of red berries. And by the time they start to control the quantities and food, there is already a weight reduction, which is achieved the same with the Mediterranean diet, "says Carbajal.

Another study, of 2013, in the Journal of Internal Medicine, maintains that it improves the lipid profile and has a beneficial effect on Inflammation. "this is mainly due to the Omega 3 and omega 6 fats of the Fish. One of its effects is to improve the lipid profile, which decreases the number of triglycerides in the blood, the bad cholesterol and, therefore, The markers of inflammation, indicators of cardiovascular risk, "says Esteban Picon.

Olive oil or rapeseed?

A priori, it may seem that the most striking difference with the Mediterranean diet is that it is based on olive oil and the Nordic in rapeseed Oil. but, Deep down, It's consistent with his spirit of Proximity. "in Northern Europe there was a large epidemic of cardiovascular disease in the 1970s. An intervention project was carried out in an area of finland, North Karelia, to see if it could be reduced. And a diet similar to the Mediterranean was designed, and one of the interventions was to reduce the consumption of butter. By way of alternative, it was thought of rapeseed oil. And began to cultivate this plant, "says the professor at the Complutense University.

To the question of which of the two oils is better, Ángeles Carbajal states that "rapeseed oil is perhaps one of the most similar to Olives. It is true that it has less monounsaturated fat (oleic acid), but polinsaturada fat as a whole is very similar to that of olive oil. Nutritionally There's not much difference. probably, One important difference is that the minority components (polyphenols, anti-oxidants...) are in a lesser amount in rapeseed oil. But possibly all those components that they do not eat through the oil and that we do, they are consuming and perhaps in greater quantity with the red fruits and other Vegetables. "

In short, the new Nordic diet is neither better nor worse in general lines than the Mediterranean. It's just that in those countries ' environment, "it's easier to have more adherence to your diet because you are working with foods from your environment, available, to those who are accustomed and like them more. the Mediterranean diet there would fail because they are not accustomed to our food, just as it costs to implant tofu, "says Carbajal. In other words, the Mediterranean diet is better for the mediterranean, and Nordic for the Scandinavians.