Nordic diet FAQs

We've all heard about the Mediterranean diet and the linked health benefits from following it, but a new international trend has recently taken the stage for nutritious eating. Not only is it the chosen cuisine of San Pellegrino's best restaurant in the world, Noma, but Nordic cooking may be proving to be one of the world's healthiest way to eat.

If you're keen to switch up your diet for the way of the Danes, head to the shops with your produce bag and you might find yourself filling the kitchen with some new inspiration. 

Where did it come from?

According to a recent piece in the UK's Independent, typically the Danish diet consists of starch and carbo-loaded rice and dairy products, also including potatoes, pasta, bread and pizza.

However, the new Nordic diet which also hails from Denmark, originally developed after Danes voiced concerns about not being able to obtain some of the Mediterranean, 'healthy' food items to integrate into their daily meals. So the focus turned to incorporating seasonal, local ingredients into the diet. 

Its origins date back only about 10 years, when the chefs behind award-winning Danish restaurant Noma held a get together with fellow chefs to discuss the future of Danish eating, and how to address the prevalence of highly processed, decidedly unhealthy food. This movement resulted in renewed inspiration and dedication to bringing back the simplicity and freshness they wanted to be associated with their national cuisine. 

What is the Nordic diet?

If you were to venture into Noma, you're likely to find evidence of the new Nordic movement in their wild and foraged ingredients such as reindeer moss, mushrooms, berries, rose petals, quail egg and duck as well as a variety of seafood like lobster, sea urchin and squid with vegetable accompaniments. 

The Danish chefs' mission statement was picked up by the Nordic Council of Ministers a year later in 2005, using it to create guidelines for the public. These recommend an increase in plant and seafood consumption, while backing off on the meat, as well as eating unlimited (within reason, of course) amounts of seasonal nuts, berries, leafy greens and whole grains. 

What are the benefits of a Nordic diet? 

Ongoing studies undertaken by the University of Copenhagen aim to compare the average, westernised Danish diet to the new Nordic diet consisting of local ingredients such as nuts and grains, berries and fish. Recent results found that those participants following the new Nordic diet lost up to three times more weight than the other diet group.

According to Dr Thomas Meinert Larsen, the leader of the study, the seasonal and locally sourced foods lessened Danes' dependence on food transportation.

"There's particular emphasis on foraged foods," says Dr Larsen, "because they taste better, and usually contain greater amounts of vitamins and minerals than conventionally grown plants."