Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Towards health-promoting and environmentally friendly regional diets – a Nordic example

Elling Berea1 c1 and Johannes Bruga2

a1 Faculty of Health and Sport, University of Agder, Serviceboks 422, 4604 Kristiansand, Norway

a2 EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Background Because most of the top determinants of the worldwide burden of disease are diet-related, the promotion of healthful diets is important for population health across the world. Furthermore, changes in eating habits may contribute to preservation of the environment.

Objective In the present paper it is argued that the translation of health-promoting dietary recommendations into practical recommendations for healthful eating should be more tailored to regional circumstances. This will promote population health as well as help preserve cultural diversity in eating habits and contribute to more environmentally friendly eating. A regional Nordic diet, mimicking the Mediterranean diet to some extent, is presented as an example.

Conclusion A theoretically health-enhancing Nordic diet is possible including six evidence-based ingredients: (i) native berries; (ii) cabbage; (iii) native fish and other seafood; (iv) wild (and pasture-fed) land-based animals; (v) rapeseed oil; and (vi) oat/barley/rye.

(Received August 22 2007)

(Accepted January 20 2008)


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