Special Issue "Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 June 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Inga Thorsdottir
Website
Guest Editor
Unit for Nutrition Research, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland and Landspitali - The National University Hospital of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland
Interests: nutrition, infant, child, birth, elderly, public health, evidence based nutrition, vitamin-D, randomized clinical intervention, obesity, clinical nutrition, diet and health
Prof. Inge Tetens
Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Good Older Lives, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Interests: nutrition, ageing, food and physical activity, dietary guidelines, nutrient recommendations, dietary reference values, public health nutrition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Nutrients, entitled “ Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet” welcomes the submission of manuscripts based on original data from cohort or intervention studies in relation to the potential health benefits of Nordic diets. Nordic diets were recently recognized by WHO as an evidence-based healthy choice of diet that is effective in reducing noncommunicable diseases, including CVDs and T2D. Findings in relation to other NCDs are especially welcome. Studies involving gene expression or metabolic profiling to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in the beneficial effects of Nordic diets are of interest, as are studies on targeted and untargeted metabolomics as tools to reflect the intake of Nordic diets or specific components. Recent studies using metabolomics and gut microbiota profiles to define responders and non-responders to Nordic diets in relation to metabolic risk factors are also welcome. 

While scientific collaboration within and between the Nordic countries has resulted in the present science-based knowledge on the health effects related to Nordic diets, the benefits have also lead to several Nordic public health actions. Scientific effectiveness studies on the health-related impact of these actions with perspectives on the health benefits of Nordic diets from very early in life to the older population are also very welcome. The Nordic diet depends heavily on locally produced foods. Focus on sustainability in the context of the health benefits of Nordic diets is therefore warranted.

Prof. Inga Thorsdottir
Prof. Inge Tetens
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Nordic diet
  • Public health
  • Metabolomics
  • Microbiota
  • Non-communicable diseases
  • Infants
  • Children
  • Older adults
  • Food
  • Nutrients
  • Recommendations

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
An Isocaloric Nordic Diet Modulates RELA and TNFRSF1A Gene Expression in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells in Individuals with Metabolic Syndrome—A SYSDIET Sub-Study
Nutrients 2019, 11(12), 2932; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11122932 - 03 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
A healthy dietary pattern is associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and reduced inflammation. To explore this at the molecular level, we investigated the effect of a Nordic diet (ND) on changes in the gene expression profiles of inflammatory and [...] Read more.
A healthy dietary pattern is associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and reduced inflammation. To explore this at the molecular level, we investigated the effect of a Nordic diet (ND) on changes in the gene expression profiles of inflammatory and lipid-related genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of individuals with MetS. We hypothesized that the intake of an ND compared to a control diet (CD) would alter the expression of inflammatory genes and genes involved in lipid metabolism. The individuals with MetS underwent an 18/24-week randomized intervention to compare a ND with a CD. Eighty-eight participants (66% women) were included in this sub-study of the larger SYSDIET study. Fasting PBMCs were collected before and after the intervention and changes in gene expression levels were measured using TaqMan Array Micro Fluidic Cards. Forty-eight pre-determined inflammatory and lipid related gene transcripts were analyzed. The expression level of the gene tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor superfamily member 1A (TNFRSF1A) was down-regulated (p = 0.004), whereas the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB) subunit, RELA proto-oncogene, was up-regulated (p = 0.016) in the ND group compared to the CD group. In conclusion, intake of an ND in individuals with the MetS may affect immune function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet)
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Open AccessArticle
Infant Feeding, Vitamin D and IgE Sensitization to Food Allergens at 6 Years in a Longitudinal Icelandic Cohort
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1690; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071690 - 23 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) recommend exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months, partial breastfeeding until 1 year or longer and irrespective of breastfeeding, avoiding solid foods before 4 months. Strong evidence was found for benefits of breastfeeding regarding growth and infections but limited/inconclusive evidence regarding [...] Read more.
Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) recommend exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months, partial breastfeeding until 1 year or longer and irrespective of breastfeeding, avoiding solid foods before 4 months. Strong evidence was found for benefits of breastfeeding regarding growth and infections but limited/inconclusive evidence regarding atopic disease and asthma. Vitamin D is of special interest in the Nordic diet. The aim of this prospective study was to compare infant feeding and vitamin D between immunoglobulin E (IgE) sensitized (n = 14) and non-sensitized (n = 130) children at 6 years. Information on diet and vitamin D supplement use were collected with dietary recall (<5 months), 1-d food records (5 and 6 months) and 3-d weighed food records (12 months and 6 years). Serum-specific IgE-antibodies against milk, egg, cod, wheat, soy and peanut (cut-off specific IgE ≥ 0.35 kUA/L) were measured at 6 years and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at 12 months and 6 years. At 4 months, 57% of IgE sensitized vs. 23% of non-sensitized children (p < 0.01) had received solid food. At 12 months, IgE sensitized children had a lower intake of vitamin D (median (25th, 75th percentiles): 3.9 μg/d (3.2, 7.2) vs. 8.1 μg/d (4.4, 12.3), p = 0.03) and at 6 years, fewer used vitamin D supplements regularly (23% vs. 56%, p = 0.03). Introduction of solid foods prior to 4 months increased the odds of IgE-sensitization, OR = 4.9 (95%, CI = 1.4–16.6) and vitamin D supplement at 6 years decreased the odds of IgE-sensitization, OR = 0.2 (95%, CI = 0.1–0.98), adjusting for maternal smoking. These observations support the NNR in their recommendation against introducing complementary solid foods before the age of 4 months. Furthermore, they support encouraging vitamin D intake for young children at northern latitudes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet)
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Open AccessArticle
Nordic Seaweed and Diabetes Prevention: Exploratory Studies in KK-Ay Mice
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1435; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061435 - 25 Jun 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background: The global epidemic of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a challenging health problem. Lifestyle changes, including nutrition therapy, areimportant for the prevention and management of T2D. Seaweeds contain several bioactive substances with potential health properties and may be a low-cost alternative functional [...] Read more.
Background: The global epidemic of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a challenging health problem. Lifestyle changes, including nutrition therapy, areimportant for the prevention and management of T2D. Seaweeds contain several bioactive substances with potential health properties and may be a low-cost alternative functional food in the prevention of T2D. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the preventive effects of dried Nordic seaweed species on diabetes in an animal model of T2D. Method: Fiftymale KK-Ay mice were randomly assigned to one of four diets: control diet (chow) or diets supplemented with Alaria esculenta (AE), Saccharina latissima (SL), or Palmaria palmata (PP). The effect of the interventions on the progression of T2D was monitored over 10 weeks and evaluated by circulating glucose, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), insulin, glucagon, and lipid levels. Results: The SL group had significantly lower bodyweight, lower HbA1c and insulin levels, as well as higher high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels after the 10-week intervention than the control group. At the end of the study, the control group had significantly higher HbA1c (p < 0.001) than all of the seaweed groups. Conclusion: All seaweed groups improved HbA1C compared to control and Saccharinalatissima seaweed had concomitantly beneficial effects on glycemic control and lipid levels in KK-Ay diabetic mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet)
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling the Effect of Compliance with Nordic Nutrition Recommendations on Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer Mortality in the Nordic Countries
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1434; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061434 - 25 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The objective of this study is to estimate the number of deaths attributable to cardiovascular diseases and diet-related cancers that could be prevented or delayed in the Nordic countries, i.e., Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland, if adults adhere to the Nordic Nutrition [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to estimate the number of deaths attributable to cardiovascular diseases and diet-related cancers that could be prevented or delayed in the Nordic countries, i.e., Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland, if adults adhere to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR). A sex- and age-group specific epidemiological macro-simulation model was used to estimate the preventable deaths due to the differences between country specific actual intake and recommended intake of changes in food components. Data included in the model are a baseline scenario (actual dietary intake), a counterfactual scenario (recommended intake), and age-and sex-specific mortality for cardiovascular and diet-related cancer diseases, together with the total population risk of a specific year. Monte Carlo analyses with 5000 iterations were performed to produce the 95% uncertainty intervals. The model predicts that Iceland would benefit the most by adhering to the NNR, followed by Finland. In all the Nordic countries, the highest benefit would be achieved by adhering to the fruits and vegetable intakes, except Denmark, where a lower recommended intake of salt would provide the highest benefit. For men, fruits and vegetables could have saved more lives compared to other dietary components for all the Nordic countries, while for women, dietary fiber was the most prominent factor, except in Iceland. The Nordic Council should consider policies for promoting healthy eating according to the needs of each country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet)
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Open AccessArticle
Protein-Reduced Complementary Foods Based on Nordic Ingredients Combined with Systematic Introduction of Taste Portions Increase Intake of Fruits and Vegetables in 9 Month Old Infants: A Randomised Controlled Trial
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1255; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061255 - 02 Jun 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Fruits and vegetables are healthy foods but under-consumed among infants and children. Approaches to increase their intake are urgently needed. This study investigated the effects of a systematic introduction of taste portions and a novel protein-reduced complementary diet based on Nordic foods on [...] Read more.
Fruits and vegetables are healthy foods but under-consumed among infants and children. Approaches to increase their intake are urgently needed. This study investigated the effects of a systematic introduction of taste portions and a novel protein-reduced complementary diet based on Nordic foods on fruit and vegetable intake, growth and iron status to 9 months of age. Healthy, term infants (n = 250) were recruited and randomly allocated to either a Nordic diet group (NG) or a conventional diet group (CG). Infants were solely breast- or formula-fed at study start. From 4 to 6 months of age, the NG followed a systematic taste portions schedule consisting of home-made purées of Nordic produce for 24 days. Subsequently, the NG was supplied with baby food products and recipes of homemade baby foods based on Nordic ingredients but with reduced protein content compared to the CG. The CG was advised to follow current Swedish recommendations on complementary foods. A total of 232 participants (93%) completed the study. The NG had significantly higher intake of fruits and vegetables than the CG at 9 months of age; 225 ± 109 g/day vs. 156 ± 77 g/day (p < 0.001), respectively. Energy intake was similar, but protein intake was significantly lower in the NG (−26%, p < 0.001) compared to the CG. This lower protein intake was compensated for by higher intake of carbohydrate from fruits and vegetables. No significant group differences in growth or iron status were observed. The intervention resulted in significantly higher consumption of fruits and vegetables in infants introduced to complementary foods based on Nordic ingredients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet)
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Open AccessArticle
High Adherence to the Nordic Diet Is Associated with Lower Levels of Total and Platelet-Derived Circulating Microvesicles in a Norwegian Population
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1114; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11051114 - 18 May 2019
Abstract
Circulating microvesicles (cMV) are small phospholipid-rich blebs shed from the membrane of activated vascular cells that contribute to vascular disease progression. We aimed to investigate whether the quality of the Nordic diet is associated with the degree of blood and vascular cell activation [...] Read more.
Circulating microvesicles (cMV) are small phospholipid-rich blebs shed from the membrane of activated vascular cells that contribute to vascular disease progression. We aimed to investigate whether the quality of the Nordic diet is associated with the degree of blood and vascular cell activation measured by MV shedding in elderly patients after an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). One-hundred and seventy-four patients aged 70–82 years were included in this cross-sectional study. Fasting blood samples were taken within 2 to 8 weeks after an AMI. Annexin V (AV)+ cMV derived from blood and vascular cells were measured through flow cytometry. A patient’s usual diet was recorded with the SmartDiet® questionnaire. Patients with higher adherence to the Nordic diet (highest diet score) had lower levels of total AV+ and platelet-derived (CD61+/AV+ and CD31+/AV+) cMV. Dietary habits influence cellular activation. A high adherence to the Nordic diet (assessed by the SmartDiet® score) in elderly post-AMI patients was associated with lower levels of platelet activation, which was reflected by a lesser release of MV carrying platelet-derived epitopes, potentially contributing to an explanation of the cardioprotective effects of the Nordic diet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Biomarkers of a Healthy Nordic Diet—From Dietary Exposure Biomarkers to Microbiota Signatures in the Metabolome
Nutrients 2020, 12(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010027 - 20 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Whole diets and dietary patterns are increasingly highlighted in modern nutrition and health research instead of single food items or nutrients alone. The Healthy Nordic Diet is a dietary pattern typically associated with beneficial health outcomes in observational studies, but results from randomized [...] Read more.
Whole diets and dietary patterns are increasingly highlighted in modern nutrition and health research instead of single food items or nutrients alone. The Healthy Nordic Diet is a dietary pattern typically associated with beneficial health outcomes in observational studies, but results from randomized controlled trials are mixed. Dietary assessment is one of the greatest challenges in observational studies and compliance is a major challenge in dietary interventions. During the last decade, research has shown the great importance of the gut microbiota in health and disease. Studies have have both shown that the Nordic diet affects the gut microbiota and that the gut microbiota predicts the effects of such a diet. Rapid technique developments in the area of high-throughput mass spectrometry have enabled the large-scale use of metabolomics both as an objective measurement of dietary intake as well as in providing the final readout of the endogenous metabolic processes and the impact of the gut microbiota. In this review, we give an update on the current status on biomarkers that reflect a Healthy Nordic Diet or individual components thereof (food intake biomarkers), biomarkers that show the effects of a Healthy Nordic Diet and biomarkers reflecting the role of a Healthy Nordic Diet on the gut microbiota as well as how the gut microbiota or derived molecules may be used to predict the effects of a Healthy Nordic Diet on different outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet)
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Open AccessReview
Nordic Diet and Inflammation—A Review of Observational and Intervention Studies
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1369; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061369 - 18 Jun 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Low-grade inflammation (LGI) has been suggested to be involved in the development of chronic diseases. Healthy dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet (MD), may decrease the markers of LGI. Healthy Nordic diet (HND) has many similarities with MD, but its effects on [...] Read more.
Low-grade inflammation (LGI) has been suggested to be involved in the development of chronic diseases. Healthy dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet (MD), may decrease the markers of LGI. Healthy Nordic diet (HND) has many similarities with MD, but its effects on LGI are less well known. Both of these dietary patterns emphasize the abundant use of fruits and vegetables (and berries in HND), whole grain products, fish, and vegetable oil (canola oil in HND and olive oil in MD), but restrict the use of saturated fat and red and processed meat. The aim of this narrative review is to summarize the results of studies, which have investigated the associations or effects of HND on the markers of LGI. Altogether, only two publications of observational studies and eight publications of intervention trials were found through the literature search. Both observational studies reported an inverse association between the adherence to HND and concentration of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP). A significant decrease in the concentration of hsCRP was reported in two out of four intervention studies measuring hsCRP. Single intervention studies reported the beneficial effects on interleukin 1Ra and Cathepsin S. Current evidence suggests the beneficial effects on LGI with HND, but more carefully controlled studies are needed to confirm the anti-inflammatory effects of the HND. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet)
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Other

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Open AccessConcept Paper
Environmental Sustainability Perspectives of the Nordic Diet
Nutrients 2019, 11(9), 2248; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11092248 - 18 Sep 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
“The Nordic diet” is an umbrella term that encompasses any interpretation that combines Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDGs) with local Nordic foods. The five Nordic countries have collaborated on Nordic Nutrition Recommendations for forty years, including FBDGs, so their national guidelines are similar. The [...] Read more.
“The Nordic diet” is an umbrella term that encompasses any interpretation that combines Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDGs) with local Nordic foods. The five Nordic countries have collaborated on Nordic Nutrition Recommendations for forty years, including FBDGs, so their national guidelines are similar. The countries also share similar public health issues, including widespread nonconformity to the guidelines, although in different ways. The aim of this concept paper is to discuss environmental sustainability aspects of the Nordic diet, describe the status of and make suggestions for the inclusion of sustainability in future work on the Nordic diet. We exploit the sustainability–health synergy. A food intake more in line with the current FBDGs, which emphasises more plant-based and less animal-based foods, is necessary for high environmental sustainability. In turn, sustainability is an important motivator for health-promoting dietary shifts. Policy development requires long-term efforts. Since the Nordic diet can be considered a further development and improvement of old, traditional diets, there is huge potential to formulate a Nordic diet that benefits both human and planetary health. It is time for concerted engagement and actions—a new Nordic nutrition transition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of the Nordic Diet)
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