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Viking Diet Helps Lower Cholesterol, Heart Disease Risk

Update Date: May 29, 2013 02:25 PM EDT

Eating like a Viking may help lower cholesterol levels, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that a well-balanced Nordic diet lowers cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.

The latest study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine also found that a health Scandinavian diet decreased inflammation associated with pre-diabetes.

Researchers conducted a randomized dietary study that lasted for 18 to 24 weeks. Researchers said that 309 individuals were screened, 200 started the intervention after a four-week, run-in period and 166 individuals completed the study.  For the study 96 participants were in the healthy Nordic diet group and 70 participants were in the control diet group. 

The healthy Scandinavian diet included whole-grain products, berries, fruits, vegetables, rapeseed oil, three fish dishes per week and low-fat diary products.  The control diet was an average Nordic diet, and participants ate butter instead of rapeseed oil, less berries and vegetables and had no rules on red meat or white bread intake.

Researchers monitored participants' adherence to their assigned diets using repeated 4-day food diaries and fatty acid composition of serum phospholipids.

The findings indicate that participants who ate a healthy Nordic diet had lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and higher levels of good HDL cholesterol.  Researchers found that the amount of harmful fat particles in the blood also declined.

Lead research Lieselotte Cloetens said the next step is to see if a healthy Nordic diet can maintain weight loss, adding that one of the biggest problem with most diets is keeping the weight off. 

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