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Reindeer and meatballs for dinner: Researchers promote Nordic diet to curb obesity
Updated: 2009-03-18 16:12

Forget the olive oil and sundried tomatoes - and pass the herring and meatballs.

Scandinavian food is being touted as a healthier, more convenient alternative to the much-feted Mediterranean diet.

The scientist behind the advice also believes that reindeer steaks and wild berries might be more to Britons' taste than pasta and pesto.

Professor Arne Astrup, a world authority on obesity, is heading a ?12.2million project to develop a 'Nordic Diet' which caters to the tastes of Northern Europeans and capitalises on foods easily grown and produced in colder climates.

Could reindeer - which features in Scandinavian diets - be a hit with British consumers?

The Danish researcher said: 'The plan is to develop a counterpart to the Mediterranean diet that is superior in terms of health and palatability.'

The researchers point out that Northern European green leafy vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts and cabbages, have some of the highest levels of antioxidants of any vegetable.

And Norwegian studies show that the country's native fruits - such as blueberries, cowberries and cloudberries - are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

They are also bursting with antioxidants, which mop up dangerous molecules that can cause heart disease, stroke and cancer.

The Mediterranean diet has been one of the most lauded eating plans of the past two decades.

Its combination of high levels of fruit, vegetables, olive oil, nuts and cereals - and low amounts of red meat and dairy products - has been shown to combat heart disease, diabetes and obesity. But studies show that Northern Europeans find it hard to stick to this range of foods.

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