A recent study from the University of Eastern Finland has demonstrated evidence linking a Nordic diet, aka a Viking diet, to better health. The researchers found that a Viking diet reduces certain types of inflammation found in adipose tissue (i.e. fat) and that this reduction of inflammation is associated with a lessening of the harmful effects of being overweight.
In laymen’s terms, eating like a Viking is good for you, especially if you’re overweight.
The findings also concluded that participants did not need to loose any weight in order to see the benefits of the anti-inflammatory effects of a Viking diet. While eating said diet, inflammation in adipose tissue dropped across the board. This is good news if you’re a big eater like me.
I have long espoused the benefits of eating a Viking diet. From large quantities of fish packed with Omega 3’s, to high protein content, to diverse anti-oxidants from berries and wild plants, the Viking diet is everything a fitness addict (or, in most cases, enthusiast) could want, and more.
What does a Viking diet look like? Here’s what you’ll need to eat in order to eat like a Viking:
The 5 Components of a Viking Diet
1. Eat fish, and lots of it.
A staple of the Viking diet was herring. The waters of the Baltic Sea and North Atlantic were full of it, and the Vikings used it for all manner of dishes. While you need not go out and buy a truckload of herring to make this work, the lesson here is that fish is a fantastic superfood that is high in protein, low in bad fats, and high in good fats. So, to eat like a Viking, eat more fish.
2. Eat game meat.
Not a hunter? Too bad, because game meat is actually really good for you. It’s packed with protein and low in fat compared to farm raised animals.
3. Eliminate processed carbohydrates.
Pastries and sugary treats are generally off the table here. Sadly, it’s not part of a healthy nordic diet. But it doesn’t stop there, either. While the Vikings ate breads, they were nothing like the sugar-infused kinds we buy in stores today. Rye bread, wheat bread, these are allowed as part of a Viking diet, but watch out for sneaky additives like sugar and molasses, which most certainly were not part of Viking bread.
4. Berries are on the menu!
Wild berries such as raspberries and blackcurrant were a part of the Viking diet when they were in season. If you miss your sugary treat for desert, turn to healthy berries, which are also packed full of anti-oxidants.
5. Go back to your roots.
Eating plenty of veggies was certainly part of the Viking diet, but they did not eat many of the veggies we enjoy today. Most of what they ate would have been root-based, such as beets, radishes, carrots, among others. A common mistake here is to think potatoes fall under this category. Well, they don’t. Yes, they’re root-based, but Vikings didn’t have access to them because South America had not been discovered by Europeans yet.
Other things you can eat on a Viking diet
The above 5 things do not include everything that is allowed in a Viking diet. Crustaceans, such as shrimp, crab, mollusks, and other seafood are all allowed and encouraged. Also allowed and encouraged are collared greens for salads, but avoid sugary dressings. Spices are more than welcome to give flavor to the fish and meat, and it’s ok to get creative on those as they do not contribute negatively to the diet. Lastly, what about alcohol? Here are my thoughts on alcohol.