Comparing The Mediterranean And Nordic Diets
Have you heard the news? The vastly popular Mediterranean Diet is facing some stiff competition from a Scandinavian competitor. But what is the Nordic Diet and can you include Olive Oil in your eating plan? The Mediterranean Diet, rich in olive oil, has long been a favourite eating plan for those looking to improve their health and reduce the risk of conditions such as heart disease, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, and some cancers. But the more recent emergence of The Nordic Diet – focussing on foods which are grown locally and organically – is putting up some fierce competition.
What Do The Mediterranean Diet and The Nordic Diet Have in Common?
One of the key commonalities of the Mediterranean Diet and the Nordic Diet is their dependence on unsaturated (“good”) fats, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which primarily come from the fatty fish oil. With the Mediterranean Diet, this oil is likely to be a quality extra virgin olive oil and with the Nordic Diet, it tends to be Canola oil. In addition, both diets emphasise whole grains (e.g. barley, rye, and oats), fruits, vegetables, legumes (aka beans and peas) as well as a healthy dose of berries and root vegetables.
As explained by Yahoo Lifestyle, the Nordic diet may offer similar benefits to plant-based eating styles such as vegan and vegetarian diets. Eating more plants (and less meat) is associated with a lower risk of chronic conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, according to the American Heart Association.
The Nordic diet may also help followers to manage high cholesterol, one of the primary risk factors for heart disease.
This is due to the high volume of Omega-3s – also present in quality olive oil – which can help lower your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides — which can increase your risk of heart disease.
Also similarly to The Mediterranean Diet, The Nordic Diet might also reduce the risk of low-grade inflammation or chronic inflammation. Inflammation can be a key factor in the development of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Can You Eat Olive Oil On The Nordic Diet?
While most guidance around The Nordic Diet suggests that, unlike the The Mediterranean Diet which relies on Olive Oil, the primary fat source is Canola (Rapeseed) Oil. Both Olive Oil and Canola Oil are plant-based and contain high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids. However, it is reported that canola oil has more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids.
As reported in a 2018 article, while Omega-6s are also beneficial for the heart, the ratio of omega-6s to omega-3s is crucial factor. A high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio can increase inflammation, while a high omega-3 to omega-6 ratio reduces it.
Don’t Forget: Olive Oil Has The High Polyphenol Factor!
If you are still undecided on your fat of choice, we have one key factor that we think gives a premium quality extra virgin olive oil the edge over all others. It is the exceptional high quantities of very powerful antioxidants called Polyphenols in oils such as Morocco Gold which can boost your health in so many wonderful ways.
The polyphenol content of extra virgin olive oil is dependent on three factors. Firstly is the variety of the olive. Secondly, the climate and terroire of the growing region. Thirdly, the harvest time.
At Morocco Gold, we press our olives from the Picholine Marocaine. This is the only type of olive to go into Morocco Gold. It has a high polyphenol count. As well as oxidative stability and longevity.
Our olives are grown in a valley within the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. That is about 2,000 feet (600M) above sea level. That does have the additional climatic challenges that encourage polyphenol generation. It is also an area with naturally occurring high phenols in the soil itself. So all in all it is a pretty unique source.
Thirdly, our olives are picked when the fruit is young and green. As the olives age on the tree, the colour of the olive changes to red and then black. The size of the olive increases thus producing more oil, but the polyphenol level decreases. In Morocco there is a great deal of expertise within the farming community. We pick our olives to maximise their polyphenol level.