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My main research interest is temporal changes in Arctic lifestyle factors from a food security perspective and as triggers of low-grade inflammation and common uncommunicable diseases.
Sami peoples have a similar life expectancy as the majority of Arctic Fennoscandia. From a global perspective this lack of health gap is unique. The obvious question is: Why? Are there hidden health factors imbedded in the old Sami culture?
Significant for a traditional Sami lifestyle is carbohydrate restricted diets, rich in animal food sources, wild berries and plant food, consumption of boiled, unfiltered coffee, extensive physical activity and a daily spirituality. I study temporal changes in these lifestyle factors from a food security perspective and as triggers of low-grade inflammation and related uncommunicable diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, and auto-immune diseases.
The dietary database of the Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study (NSHDS) is the base for a major part of the research described above. Within this cohort, data on individual anthropometrics, diet and lifestyle are available from more than 100 000 unique individuals from this Arctic population.
Since it is well recognized that dietary patterns in Sweden differs by latitude, Sweden is represented by both the NSHDS cohort and a cohort from southern Sweden (Malmö) in a large European collaboration (EPIC), which I am involved in.
In the Nordic Helga consortium, a Traditional Sami Diet Score, a low-carbohydrate and high-protein (LCHP) diet and a Healthy Nordic Diet (HND) has been examined in a similar way as the Mediterranean diet. Only the HND has shown to be a valid model for healthy eating.
Cancer risk patterns differ for drip-filtered coffee and traditional boiled un-filtered coffee. This can be due to chemical differences, but may also be an effect of hidden life-style elements.
A recently developed Dietary Inflammation Index, adapted to the population of Arctic Sweden, will soon be examined in relation to myocardial infarction and colorectal cancer, in a PhD project, which I am involved in.
Food security I study together with researchers connected to the Arctic Counsel and together with an international research team coordinated by the Arctic research centre in Rovaniemi.