Nordic Diet and Its Benefits

Nutrition experts are buzzing about the Nordic diet. As the name suggests, the Nordic diet consists of foods that are locally sourced and traditionally eaten in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

Typically, the Nordic diet includes whole-grain cereals such as rye, barley, and oats; berries and other fruits; vegetables especially cabbage and root vegetables like potatoes and carrots; fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring; and legumes (beans and peas).

Many call it the New Nordic Diet, which has become a new food culture developed in 2009-13 with key emphasis on gastronomy, health, and environment. The New Nordic Diet is based on Nordic ingredients but is adaptable all over the world.

Contrary to the Mediterranean diet, which includes olive oil, it favors rapeseed oil (canola oil), which is high in healthy mono-unsaturated fat. And it also contains some alpha-linolenic acid, a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid similar to the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.

Canola oil can help to reduce bad LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s possible that canola oil may be better at reducing bad cholesterol and improving heart health. The diet emphasizes cutting out processed foods and most high-fat meats like sausage or bacon.

Health benefits of the Nordic diet –

Its health related benefits are enumerated below:

• A major review by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that both Mediterranean and Nordic diets reduce risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

• The diet could also contribute to weight loss. A University of Eastern Finland study also found that the diet down regulates the expression of genes associated with inflammation, which is thought to contribute to many chronic health problems and play a role in obesity.

• Processed foods are more palatable, which results in overeating and weight gain. Since the Nordic diet de-emphasizes consumption of processed foods, it prevents over-eating and resultant weight gain.

• Eating more of a plant-based diet is better for the environment as there are far less greenhouse gas emissions. About 14.5% of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock production. It has been reported that factory farming for meat production contributes more to global warming than all planes, trains, buses and cars combined.

The Crux –

The Mediterranean diet has been considered to be the best so far as health benefits it is believed to offer. Now there is another diet making its mark in the culinary world so far as its health benefits are concerned. This is the Nordic diet.

In many ways, it is very similar to the Mediterranean diet but relies on rapeseed (canola) oil instead of olive oil. It also differs in its selection of types of produce, which are cultivated locally, depending on the region’s climate, soil and water.

The Alkaline Anti-Inflammatory Diet

One of the best ways to be healthy, relieve chronic pain, attain a desirable weight and promote longevity is through our diet. Unfortunately, many of us have been given the wrong information on what, how and when to eat. This article will describe an alkaline anti-inflammatory diet, why it is so good for our health and how to utilize this natural nutritional approach.

To begin a little human history is in order. For most of the history of humans on this planet we were nomadic. We traveled around the globe in search of large mammals that could be killed and eaten. Alternatively, humans herded mammals such as goats, sheep, reindeer and other cattle that required traveling to abundant pasture lands. Our ancestors ate a lot of meat and fat. They did not stay in one place for very long, therefore they were not able to farm. They did collect vegetables, a small amount of fruit and a very small amount of grains. There were very few starchy carbs such as cereal, bread, pasta and other grains in their diet. It wasn’t until about 5000 years ago when the Egyptians began to farm that humans began to have a large amount of starchy carbohydrates to eat.

Now, let’s introduce some very simple and easy to understand biochemistry. We have all heard of fish oil and its main component of omega-3 fatty acids, sometimes called omega-3 oils. Most know that these omega-3 oils are good for us. Another, sometimes overlooked, oil is omega 6 fatty acid. When our ancestors were nomadic and ate few starchy, carbohydrates their diet consisted of an approximately 1:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega six fatty acids. This ratio is very healthy for the body. It makes the body more alkaline versus acidic. The more alkaline we are the healthier we will be.

However, if we become imbalanced in our omega-3 and omega 6 fatty acids we become more acidic and have more inflammation in the body. More inflammation leads to chronic pain, weight gain and lifestyle related diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, arthritis and other disease processes that affect us today. When we eat high amounts of carbohydrates such as wheat, corn and rice we are ingesting foods with more omega 6 fatty acids. These may create a ratio imbalance of 1:10 omega-3 versus omega 6 fatty acids or more. Potato chips, for instance, have a 1:60 ratio of omega-3 versus omega 6 fatty acids.

Inflammation created by in improper balance of omega oils from too many carbohydrates creates a systemic, general inflammation in the body. Conversely a diet lower in carbohydrates, promoting a ratio more in line with 1:1 fatty acids allows the body to heal and function more optimally.

A very simple way to achieve an alkaline anti-inflammatory diet is to simply eat fewer starchy carbs. If one were to consume 100-200 grams per day of products containing grains this would lead to a healthier lifestyle. Certainly, this diet would include high amounts of vegetables and a reasonable amount of foods containing proteins and fats like eggs, meats, fish and nuts. It is also recommended that this diet be low in sweets and sugar, like candy, cookies, soda, sports drinks and cakes and pies.

This diet does not have to be excessively stringent. Most people who do not have serious metabolic diseases could certainly afford to have a “cheat day” or two each week when they could exceed the 100-200 grams of starchy carbohydrates and some sweets.

Not all healthcare practitioners or nutritionists will necessarily subscribe to what has been detailed here. However, there are many books and healthcare practitioners who align themselves with this plan. Some of these would include The South Beach Diet, The Paleolithic Diet, The Keto Diet and The Mediterranean Diet.

People interested in this dietary approach can certainly find an expert who can give them more guidance.

Most people utilizing an alkaline anti-inflammatory diet will find they have improved health in a reasonable period of time. Many of us who initially utilized this approach found that within a year we reached a desirable weight, eliminated chronic pains, had increased energy and better sleep. While an alkaline anti-inflammatory diet may not be mainstream there is certainly enough scientific and anecdotal evidence for one to investigate this lifestyle.

What Vegans Should Know About B12

Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

Clinical deficiency can cause anemia or nervous system damage. Most vegans consume enough B12 to avoid clinical deficiency. Two subgroups of vegans are at particular risk of B12 deficiency: long-term vegans who avoid common fortified foods (such as raw food vegans or macrobiotic vegans) and breastfed infants of vegan mothers whose own intake of B12 is low.

In adults typical deficiency symptoms include loss of energy, tingling, numbness, reduced sensitivity to pain or pressure, blurred vision, abnormal gait, sore tongue, poor memory, confusion, hallucinations and personality changes. Often these symptoms develop gradually over several months to a year before being recognized as being due to B12 deficiency and they are usually reversible on administration of B12. There is however no entirely consistent and reliable set of symptoms and there are cases of permanent damage in adults from B12 deficiency. If you suspect a problem then get a skilled diagnosis from a medical practitioner as each of these symptoms can also be caused by problems other than B12 deficiency.

Infants typically show more rapid onset of symptoms than adults. B12 deficiency may lead to loss of energy and appetite and failure to thrive. If not promptly corrected this can progress to coma or death. Again there is no entirely consistent pattern of symptoms. Infants are more vulnerable to permanent damage than adults. Some make a full recovery, but others show retarded development.

The risk to these groups alone is reason enough to call on all vegans to give a consistent message as to the importance of B12 and to set a positive example. Every case of B12 deficiency in a vegan infant or an ill informed adult is a tragedy and brings veganism into disrepute.

Is There a vegan alternative to B12 fortified foods and supplements?

If for any reason you choose not to use fortified foods or supplements you should recognize that you are carrying out a dangerous experiment – one that many have tried before with consistently low levels of success. If you are an adult who is neither breast-feeding an infant, pregnant nor seeking to become pregnant, and wish to test a potential B12 source that has not already been shown to be inadequate, then this can be a reasonable course of action with appropriate precautions. For your own protection, you should arrange to have your B12 status checked annually. If homocysteine or MMA is even modestly elevated then you are endangering your health if you persist.

If you are breast feeding an infant, pregnant or seeking to become pregnant or are an adult contemplating carrying out such an experiment on a child, then don’t take the risk. It is simply unjustifiable.

Claimed sources of B12 that have been shown through direct studies of vegans to be inadequate include human gut bacteria, spirulina, dried nori, barley grass and most other seaweeds. Several studies of raw food vegans have shown that raw food offers no special protection.

Reports that B12 has been measured in a food are not enough to qualify that food as a reliable B12 source. It is difficult to distinguish true B12 from analogues that can disrupt B12 metabolism. Even if true B12 is present in a food, it may be rendered ineffective if analogues are present in comparable amounts to the true B12. There is only one reliable test for a B12 source – does it consistently prevent and correct deficiency? Anyone proposing a particular food as a B12 source should be challenged to present such evidence.

A natural, healthy and compassionate diet

To be truly healthful, a diet must be best not just for individuals in isolation but must allow all six billion people to thrive and achieve a sustainable coexistence with the many other species that form the “living earth”. From this standpoint the natural adaptation for most (possibly all) humans in the modern world is a vegan diet. There is nothing natural about the abomination of modern factory farming and its attempt to reduce living, feeling beings to machines. In choosing to use fortified foods or B12 supplements, vegans are taking their B12 from the same source as every other animal on the planet – micro-organisms – without causing suffering to any sentient being or causing environmental damage.