Effects of an isocaloric healthy Nordic diet on ambulatory blood pressure in metabolic syndrome: a randomized SYSDIET sub-study

Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jan;68(1):57-63. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.192. Epub 2013 Oct 16.


Background/objectives: Dietary pattern is central in the prevention of hypertension and blood pressure (BP)-related diseases. A diet based on healthy Nordic foods may have a favourable impact on BP. The objective was to clarify whether a Nordic alternative for a healthy food pattern would have beneficial effects on ambulatory BP in subjects with metabolic syndrome (MetS).

Subjects/methods: In total, 37 subjects were randomized to either a healthy Nordic diet or a control diet. A healthy Nordic diet embraced whole grains, rapeseed oil, berries, fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts and low-fat dairy products of Nordic origin. The mean nutrient intake in the Nordic countries formed the control diet, embracing wheat products, dairy fat-based spread and a lower intake of fruits, vegetables and fish. Diets were isoenergetic. Ambulatory BP was monitored and 24-h urine was collected before and after 12 weeks of intervention.

Results: After 12 weeks, ambulatory diastolic BP (-4.4 mm Hg; P=0.001) and mean arterial pressure (-4.2 mm Hg; P=0.006) were lowered by the healthy Nordic diet compared with the control diet, whereas changes in ambulatory systolic BP did not differ significantly between diets (-3.5 mm Hg; P=0.122). Heart rate tended to be lower in those on the healthy Nordic diet (P=0.057). Urinary sodium and potassium excretions were unaffected by diets and consequently not associated with the healthy Nordic diet-induced lowering of BP.

Conclusions: Consumption of Nordic varieties of health-enhancing foods for 12 weeks decreased diastolic ambulatory BP and mean arterial pressure in subjects with features of MetS during weight-stable condition, suggesting beneficial effects of a healthy Nordic dietary pattern on ambulatory BP.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Dairy Products
  • Diet Records
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / diet therapy*
  • Hypertension / prevention & control*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nuts
  • Vegetables