Key points: Participants with a higher adherence to a Nordic diet were less likely to have a stroke. A recent study published in Stroke examined the effect that a typical Nordic diet had on stroke incidence. The study used previous cohort participants and medical records to examine over 50000 Danish participants dietary habits for over 13 years.

Adherence was measured using the Healthy Nordic Food Index, which asks about the consumption of six Nordic diet food staples including fish, apples and pears, cabbages, root vegetables, rye bread, and oatmeal. The cabbage category also includes other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and brussel sprouts. Mechanisms for the reduction of stroke and the Nordic diet may include improved blood pressure and blood lipids.

The diet also includes anti-inflammatory food consumption, which may help with stroke risk reduction. Further research is needed to fully understand the physiology of the Nordic diet and health outcomes.

Why is this clinically relevant?

  • A Nordic diet has some similarities to the Mediterranean diet, as it focuses on fish and whole grain, fruit and vegetable consumption
  • The Mediterranean diet has been recommended to increase heart health, but some cultures struggle with adherence to the Mediterranean diet
  • Since both of these diets focus on the consumption of whole foods, healthy protein and fats, a personalized diet approach for patients, factoring their cultural preferences may be beneficial in preventing stroke and combating CVD

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