7 Nordic food staples you should eat to boost your health

Fri 07 2017  |  admin

There are many aspects of a Nordic lifestyle that elicit admiration: their design ethic, their chic clothing brands and, not least, their ability to weather harsh winters.

But now, there is another element to covet and adopt. Scientists have found that eating a Nordic diet – rich in poulty, fish and particular fruits- can help stave off brain decline in old age.

Root vegetables, apples, pears and refined grains among other foods, were shown to help eaters preserve their mental faculties, which can in turn help fight dementia.

The research was presented in London at a conference on Alzheimer’s earlier this week.

If you’re looking to adopt a more Nordic diet but don’t know where to start, Frida Harju, the nutritionist for Swedish health app Lifesum shares some essential food staples and their health benefits.

Naturally flavoured quark
Quark is a type of fresh dairy product that has a similar creamy texture to sour cream and a mild tangy taste. Swedes often look for protein rich snacks to fuel their day, and this has become a particularly popular option, as it is low fat and low sugar. Another popular choice for a dairy product is Skyr – just like quark, it is high in protein, and has the benefit of being easily accessibly in the UK from a variety of supermarkets.

Dairy products: milk, cottage cheese & yoghurt
Dairy products as essential for a Nordic diet, as they’re full of protein, containing both whey and casein protein. The calcium found in dairy products is also good for your bones. If you wish to eat less lactose, cottage cheese or natural Greek yoghurt are good options, and it also has good probiotic bacteria that helps with the digestive system. Sprinkle some chia seeds on your yoghurt for an extra protein boost.

Opt for soya yoghurt if you are dairy intolerant. Soya protein is low in fat and can be good for your heart health.

Oat drinks
Although Swedes do consume a lot of dairy products, they also like to drink some more health-conscious alternatives such as oat milk. Oat milk is high in natural fibre and iron and also low in fat and calories, which makes it a great option if you are trying to lose some weight. Just like Skyr, oat drinks are available in a number of UK supermarkets.

Björksav (Birch sap)
Drinking birch water is a Swedish trend that’s slowly making its way to the UK. The tradition of drinking birch products dates back to as early as the 1700s for Swedes. Birch tree water is thought to help treat everything from flu, to headaches, eczema and even cellulite, as well as improving the immune system. Birch sap is also a good slimming product, as it eliminates toxins like saturated fats and preservatives (which are usually processed by the liver), making it easier to lose weight. If birch drinks aren’t for you, then birch leaves could be a good alternative, as they are widely used in cooking for pestos, salads and even some smoothies.

Root vegetables: carrots, turnip, kohlrabi, radishes
The Nordic diet has a lot of root vegetables in it, primarily because they are exceptionally high in vitamins and minerals that they take from the ground. The majority are high in vitamins C, B and A. Swedes also prefer to eat local and organic produce, but if this isn’t an option – make sure the veg you choose are firm and have fresh and green leaves.

Oily fish: salmon, mackerel, herring
Fish is a regular staple on a Nordic table, from grabbing a light lunch, to a mid-week dinner, through to celebrations like Christmas and Easter. A lot of fish is a good source of protein and it also provides iron and vitamin B12, which keeps your energy levels high. Mackerel is low in calories and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is needed for example for a healthy brain and heart function.

Coffee
Swedes are the second biggest coffee consumers in the world and it isn’t just because they love the caffeine. Coffee, if drunk in moderation, boosts blood circulation and its flow to the brain, because of the high caffeine content. It makes you more alert and helps your brain to better store short term memories. Black coffee is also a great choice for weight loss, due to its low calorie count and ability to speed up your metabolism.

Via Evening Standard