Nordic diet linked to lower stroke risk

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Following a Nordic diet — which features fish, whole grains, plus fruits and vegetables popular in Scandinavian countries — may help lower the risk of stroke, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the February 2017 issue of Stroke, included more than 55,000 Danish people from a national health registry, all of whom filled out questionnaires about their diets and other lifestyle habits. Researchers looked at how closely the participants followed the Healthy Nordic Food Index, which includes six food categories: fish, apples and pears, root vegetables (such as carrots and celery root), cabbages (which also include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts), rye bread, and oatmeal.

People who ate more of those foods were 14% less likely to experience a stroke during the following decade or so than those who didn't follow the diet as closely. While the results don't prove that diet explains the difference, they add to earlier research showing similar health benefits from Nordic cuisine. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are good sources of potassium, fiber, and other substances that appear to improve high blood pressure and other risk factors associated with stroke.