Health-promoting effects of the Mediterranean diet have been in focus for decades, whereas less interest has been given to existing healthy dietary habits within other Western cultures. The aim of the study was to develop a food index based on traditional Nordic food items with expected health-promoting effects and relate this to all-cause mortality in a cohort of Danes. Detailed information about diet, lifestyle, and anthropometry was provided by 57,053 Danes aged 50-64 y. During 12 y of follow-up, 4126 of the cohort participants died. A healthy Nordic food index, consisting of traditional Nordic food items with expected health-promoting effects (fish, cabbages, rye bread, oatmeal, apples and pears, and root vegetables), was extracted and associated with mortality by Cox proportional hazard models. Mortality rate ratios (MRR) with 95% CI were used to associate the index to mortality. In an adjusted model, a 1-point higher index score was associated with a significantly lower MRR for both men [0.96 (0.92-0.99)] and women [0.96 (0.92-1.00)] (P = 0.03). When the index components were evaluated separately, whole grain rye bread intake was the factor most consistently associated with lower mortality in men. In conclusion, an index based on traditional healthy Nordic foods was found to be related to lower mortality among middle-aged Danes, in particular among men. This study indicates that traditional, healthy food items should be considered before public recommendations for major dietary changes are made.