Digging into food of salubrious origins is one of the most important aspects of living a healthy life. And diets around the world seem to be shifting their focus beyond the waistline to overall nutrition. The Scandinavians are the latest to come out with the Nordic Diet, where the key is only eating foods that are grown in the region you stay in and are seasonal.
"Problems like low blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol have increased due to unhealthy eating habits like the use of preservatives, over dependence on outside food with less nutritive value, and a sedentary lifestyle. The Nordic diet has become a rage internationally because it promotes good eating habits and also keeps the heart healthy," says city-based nutritionist, Shalini Bhargava.
However, you don't have to be in Europe to make the most of this diet, we tell you how you can adapt it here in India.
The health expert informs that the diet, which according to reports is a favourite of Hollywood actors like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Penelope Cruz, keeps several lifestyle issues at bay.
"Eating seasonal produce, for example cucumber in summer and corn in winter, helps keep blood pressure level low. It also improves insulin sensitivity (important to regulate the metabolic rate)," she says, adding that an important aspect of the Nordic Diet is that it promotes low-temperature cooking, such as baking and boiling, which keeps the nutritional value of the food intact.
Strong in nutrition
Nutritionist Rashi Chowdhary explains how the diet works in terms of nutritional value, and following it ensures that one gets more nutrients from each food in season.
"You'll get more vitamin A and C from a mango during summer than in the month of December. Eating local, and what's in season is the best way to beat the harmful effects of new farming methods like overuse of pesticides and antibiotics," she says. In fact, studies have shown that there is a direct co-relation between eating seasonal foods, and improvements in the immune system.
Also read: Brain gain: Diet plan to avoid Alzheimer's
Dos and Donts
* Eat more fruits and vegetables like cabbage, legumes, potatoes, berries and herbs.
* Meat should be incorporated, but overindulgence should be avoided to keep protein intake in check.
* Organic fruits and veggies are recommended.
Avoid processed food.
* Eat more meals that are based on seasonal produce.
* Home-cooked meals are always a plus.
Other famous diets
The Atkins Diet
This is a low-carb diet, which aims at controlling the levels of insulin in our body as an increase causes the body to store extra energy from whatever one eats.
The Zone Diet
It recommends breaking meals into approximately 30 % protein, 30 % fat and 40 % carbohydrates. It is reported that this creates a balance between the intake of carbs and proteins that is beneficial to losing weight, and maintaining a good rate of metabolism.
The Raw Food Diet
It is said that cooking food lowers its nutritional benefits. This diet allows eating as much as one wants, as long as it is not processed, and is vegetarian.
A diet plan to your rescue
Also known as the Paleolithic Diet, this allows one to consume fish, lean meats, fruit, non-starchy vegetables and nuts -everything that humans apparently consumed when they were cavemen. Eating high-calorie processed food should be avoided. The focus is on nutrient-rich produce and exercise.
What's in season
* October veggies: Brinjal (aubergine), spring onion, spinach and dill
* October fruits: Guava, passion fruit and pomegranate
* November veggies: Brinjal, spring onions, dill and French beans
* November fruits: Orange, dates, pomegranate and custard apple
* December veggies: Radish, beetroot and sweet potato
* December fruits: Papaya, figs and strawberries