Whole grain food is healthy, especially rye. “Combined with physical activity, a Nordic diet rich in whole grain food lowers metabolism, reduces blood sugar levels and causes weight reduction,” said professor Anne Tjønneland, speaking at the Euroscience Open Forum, ESOF, in Dublin yesterday.
Tjønneland is heading a Nordic Centre of Excellence Programme on Food, Nutrition and Health. The purpose of the programme, launched by NordForsk, is to enhance the scientific quality and visibility of Nordic research within this field.
At ESOF, Tjønneland was interviewed by BBC journalist Quentin Cooper, who compared the traditional Nordic diet to the Mediterranean diet.
“There is evidence that the Nordic diet reduces the risk of colorectal (bowel) cancer, and that it helps slow down or stop the growth of prostate cancer,” she said.
Professor Tjønneland further pointed out several other health benefits from eating a Nordic diet, with a recommended daily intake of 75 grams of whole grain food.
Tjønneland has coordinated a five year, comprehensive study in the five Nordic countries, funded by NordForsk and the National Research Councils.
“We have heard much about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet. But could the Nordic diet be healthier,” asked Quentin Cooper.
The answer was “yes”. Research studies conclude that a traditional Nordic diet, consisting of food items like fish, root vegetables, cabbage, rye, oats, and fruit, improves health and reduces mortality rates.
“Based on this knowledge, we now recommend people to eat more rye bread and other whole grain food. It is not easy to convince young people to follow this advice. So, we need campaigns to raise their awareness, and we need to make sure that healthy Nordic food is available in the supermarkets,” said Anne Tjønneland.
Anne Tjønneland is one of several leading Nordic scientists invited by NordForsk to speak at the Euroscience Open Forum, ESOF, in Dublin, this week.
(text: Dag Inge Danielsen)