I Tried Nordic Food – Here’s What Happened

No World happy story recently released a list of the world’s happiest countries, with Finland claiming the top spot for the sixth year in a row. As someone who always strives to live a healthy life and happy life, I’m interested in what Finns do that Americans don’t (the United States is ranked 15th on the list), so I decided to do a little digging into the interests of Finland and eat like children the happiest woman in the world for a week. Read on to learn about Nordic cuisine and what happened when I tried it for a week, as well as other reasons for Finland’s place as the happiest country in the world.

The link between diet and mental health

Although diet is not one of the factors examined in the report, experts agree that what and how you eat greatly affects your mental health. “Food contains 95% of the body’s serotonin, so feeding ourselves wholesome, natural foods that support digestion is essential to our mental health,” explained the author and founder of the health brand Bonberi. Nicole Berry. “When the gut and digestive system are working properly, the body can get serotonin.”

Many studies have also made it clear the role of nutrition in mental health. In fact, an entire emerging field (called nutritional psychiatry) is devoted to the relationship between mood and food. Research shows A strict diet that focuses on whole foods is associated with better mental health than the American diet. Furthermore, one study discovered that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can improve and prevent depression due to their anti-inflammatory effects on the brain.

Nordic food

Nordic food originates from the eating habits of Nordic countries such as Finland. This type of eating emphasizes local, nutritious foods, such as fruits (especially tomatoes), vegetables (especially vegetables like beets, turnips, and carrots), whole grains ( especially rye, barley and oats), legumes, nuts. , and seeds. The main pillars that distinguish the Nordic diet is that it is rich in fermented foods, such as pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, and yogurt, which provide your body with healthy probiotics. When similar Mediterranean food, the Nordic diet includes many cold-water fish high in omega-3, such as salmon and cod. I couldn’t find any studies linking the Nordic diet to their place as the happiest country in the world, but it’s not surprising that their diet is full of probiotics and omega-3, knowing how many of these things have been shown to -Support status.

Nordic food is not restricted. You don’t have to count calories or track macros, and you probably won’t find too much processed food, added sugar, and high-fat red meat.

My experience

I was surprised how I could eat like a Finnish for a week. Pursuing Nordic food challenged me to be more creative with my food and spend more time shopping at my local farmer’s market. By taking home-cooked meals with locally sourced ingredients, I feel more connected to what I eat. This helped me to stay with me during meals and eat every meal.

I also like that this style of eating doesn’t force me to track what I eat, allowing me to be proactive about my food. This made it easier to follow and enjoy the diet because I could eat the foods I love that are supported by the Nordic diet (think: plant foods, fermented veggies/yogurt, and omega-3 rich fish ) instead of mentally exercising and pulling up MyFitnessPal every time I need a snack. Some of my favorite meals of the week included smoked salmon toast with goat cheese, lentil and rice vegetable soup, and tomatoes with yogurt and honey.

Other practices I introduced during the week

It’s clear that there is much more to Finland than just food. Many experts point to it less crime and better social workor social support and financial equality. As for the behavior that I can change in a week, I discovered three main habits that Finnish citizens always do that I tried to imitate as well.

I moved again

Because I felt so energized from all the nutrients, protein, and carbs I was eating, I put in another movement, using my dog ​​to pound that path every day. Research shows and regular exercise has a positive effect on mental health by reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, improving mood, and improving cognitive function. So it’s no surprise that the happiest people in the world are also some of the happiest people. 56% of Finnish adults receive at least one hour of moderate activity per day.

I spent more time outside

Finns also prioritize their time outside, which is one of the reasons why experts believe that Finland ranks high on the list of the world’s happiest countries. Of course, 87% of Finns reported that nature is important to them because of its mental health benefits. Since I started walking more, I spend more time outside. This gave me a great boost every day that I don’t always get from my indoor gym. Research shows and spending time in nature helps reduce stress and anxiety by promoting relaxation and reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

I focus on quality time with my loved ones

My husband and I usually stick to the order of parking on the couch for a good Netflix binge. So even though we are in the same room together, we don’t spend quality time together. And as I follow the Nordic diet, I take the time to carefully select ingredients and cook our meals with love. This made us more interested in eating dinner at the table than sitting on the couch with the TV on. By doing this, we were able to connect well at the end of the day, which also gave me great pleasure.

Experts agree that the feeling of connection with others has the potential to improve mental health. Having a strong sense of community gives people social support, a sense of belonging, and opportunities for meaningful engagement. Finland is known for its strong sense of community, with a culture that values ​​cooperation, cooperation, and equality, which contributes to the country’s high status.

The Last Judgement

So, eating like the happiest women in the world really does What influence more happiness? Honestly, yes. Creating meals based around whole foods that I love gives me more energy throughout the day, which has led to a domino effect of healthy decisions that have improved my mood. My digestion also feels amazing with all the gut-friendly foods (fiber and probiotics provide the best combination), and my life is easier to focus on all that I have.

Although I really enjoyed following the Nordic diet for a week, it’s not a magic pill for happiness. Food can have a huge impact on our mental well-being, but it’s only one part of what gives us joy. Instead, take a holistic approach to happiness that emphasizes nourishing the body with nutritious foods, moving more, and fostering meaningful relationships with others.

All 5 qualities of happy women are combined