The new Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) promote a diet combining health and sustainability. The environmental and climate perspectives are now more prominent in the recommendations. The recently published recommendations represent the most comprehensive update to the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations thus far, involving the examination of the health effects of 36 nutrients and 15 food groups.
The recommendations increasingly steer towards a plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, berries, legumes, potatoes, and whole grains. The recommended daily intake of vegetables is 500-800 grams or more. The most significant change compared to previous guidelines is the maximum amount of meat and meat products, which has been reduced to 350 grams per week due to their associated health risks. The current Finnish recommendation, which is still valid, advises consuming cooked red meat and meat products up to 500 grams per week. However, in the new Nordic recommendations, the maximum amount has been lowered because a strong connection has been observed between meat consumption and the risk of colorectal cancer. Meat consumption is also linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, the recommendations suggest including some amount of meat in the diet, partly because red meat still is an important source of iron and zinc.
As an essential part of the plant-based diet, the importance of nutrient-rich seeds is emphasized, although no specific quantitative recommendation has been determined. The consumption of seeds and nuts has been found to have a beneficial effect on reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Incorporating them into the diet is also recommended for the sake of environmental friendliness. The production of nuts and seeds generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to animal-based food production. The environmental impacts of nut and seed cultivation vary depending on the plant species, but hemp stands out among others, particularly due to its remarkable carbon sequestration capacity. Hemp cultivation also contributes to the preservation of biodiversity, as it serves as a food source for bees and supports the vitality of pollinator populations.
One can benefit from the health effects of hemp by consuming the seeds themselves, processed protein derived from them, or cold-pressed oil extracted from the seeds. Due to its gluten-free and allergen-free nature, hemp is suitable for every diet. Hemp seeds are rich in essential alpha-linolenic acid, all twenty amino acids, and a variety of minerals. Thanks to its unique fatty acid composition, hemp seed oil also alleviates the symptoms of atopic dermatitis when used internally or externally.