Lena Maria Nilsson
Research coordinator at Arctic Research Centre at Umeå University
Keywords: aboriginal food; nutrition; carbohydrate restriction; coffee; public Health; epidemiology; genetics; epigenetics; food security; indigenous people; climate change.
Arctic research summary
Sami peoples have a similar life expectancy as their non-Sami neighbours. From a global perspective this lack of health gap is unique.
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.
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.
Food security I study together with researchers connected to the Arctic Counsel.