When it comes to dieting, there has been no shortage of trending diets that seem to come and go with great frequency. From the Mediterranean diet to the Paleo craze, they have all had their time in the spotlight.
While some of these diets are still highly effective, they are no longer enjoying the exposure they once enjoyed, as they all have been replaced by the latest dieting trend.
The diet that seems to be getting a significant amount of exposure now is the Viking diet (also known as the Nordic diet). The initial reports that are coming are presenting a very positive impression of a diet that is lauded as being extremely healthy and easy to follow.
The Simplicity of the Viking Diet
One element that can cause a diet to produce more failures than successes is its complexity. In a world in which people are constantly on the move, and time is a premium commodity, highly complex diets are a burden that most people simply cannot shoulder. The Viking diet does not present this challenge, because by most accounts, it is extremely simplistic and easy to follow.
Although Vikings have enjoyed an almost mythological popularity, their diet has remained somewhat of a mystery to most. The truth is that the Vikings had a rather healthy diet that consisted of a substantial amount of protein in the form of meats, especially pork, and fresh vegetables. Actually, even Vikings who were poor enjoyed a healthy diet based on the food that was available to them and the manner in which they consumed it.
What differs between the contemporary Viking diet and the original Viking diet is variety. There was not a great deal of variety during the era of the Vikings, whereas the contemporary diet makes room for an expanded variety based on the food that is available. For instance, the primary source of protein for the Vikings was pork and fish; however, contemporary consumers have access to poultry, beef, lamp, goat and more.
As much as choosing the right foods is immensely important to the success of any diet, how the food is prepared is just as important. Historical and archeological evidence suggests that roasting and frying were not primary methods of preparation for the Vikings. In fact, most Vikings boiled their meat, with the most popular meat dish being a stew called skause.
Also, as meat and vegetables were taken out of the pot, more was added, causing the broth to become more concentrated over several days of cooking. A stew that is properly prepared is still a good way to prepare a healthy meal that contains all of the healthy elements of the Viking diet.
The vegetables and fruits that the Vikings consumed were considerably wilder than any versions that are currently available today. The key to choosing vegetables and fruits that will produce healthy results is to make sure that they are organic and free of chemicals and pesticides. The presence of toxins can completely offset the health benefits of any food.
The diet requires avoiding any type of processed food as well.
Some vegetables that are common are carrots (the Vikings consumed white carrots, because that was all that was available), cabbage, endives, peas, apples and berries.
Impact On the Mind & Body
When people consider diets, they give a great deal of gravity to the impact that diet has on their physiological health, but rarely do they consider the mental benefits or risks involved.
The Viking diet has exceptional benefits on a physiological and psychological level. It includes a healthy amount of fish, which means that there will be a substantial source of omega-3 in the diet, which is great for brain and heart health.
Another benefit is its ability to reduce inflammation in the body. This is important because inflammation is directly associated with a number of serious conditions, including most obesity related conditions.
The reduction of inflammation will lower the risk of health complications considerably. For instance, it is inflammation of the fatty tissue beneath the skin that is reported to be responsible for conditions such as type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure. In fact, there are many homeopathic and holistic medicine practitioners that claim that they have successfully reversed these conditions through a change in diet alone.
It is also suggested that the Viking diet has the ability to help prevent and fight atherosclerosis, which is the clogging of arteries with fatty substances called plaque.
There are a number of studies that strongly suggest that the presence of high levels of omega-3 and a number of antioxidants present in the food associated with this diet can have an immense impact on the cognitive function of the brain — meaning that overall brain health is also a benefit of this diet.
Some other notable benefits of the diet include:
- The consumption of at least 600g of fruit and vegetables each day will help to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol levels.
- The whole grains associated with this diet can help reduce the risk of cancer, uncontrolled weight gain type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
There is not a significant number of risks involved with this diet. In fact, the only notable concern at this point is that it does not provide a source of healthy fats, which can easily be rectified by adding the consumption of avocados and coconut oil to the diet.
Clarifying the Diet
Because of the variety of the foods that are available, the Viking diet is not as simple as it was for the people who originally lived by it, but it is still highly simplistic when compared to other diet plans.
For the sake of lucidity, the basics of the diet are heavy portions of proteins, such as pork, beef, poultry and fish, and it is also important to include healthy portions of fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grain foods.
The method of preparation is also immensely important. Avoid frying as a method of preparation and keep in mind that the more heat is applied to food, the more it reduces the health benefits of the food. One of the reasons that the stew is considered such a healthy meal is that although considerable heat is applied, all of the antioxidants and nutrients that are released from the food is still contained in the broth.
This diet has the potential to improve overall health significantly, and those who practice the diet should be able to experience noticeable results almost immediately.