TOP 5 Healthy Eating Diets ALL Include Whole Grain Bulgur Wheat
35 diets have been reviewed by U.S. News’ team of expert panelists. LEARN MORE
#1 Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet may offer a host of health benefits, including weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. By following the Mediterranean Diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic disease.
The Mediterranean diet pyramid emphasizes eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices; fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, while saving sweets and red meat for special occasions. Top it off with a splash of red wine (if you want), remember to stay physically active and you’re set.
#1 Dash Diet (Tie)
The DASH Diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to do exactly that: stop (or prevent) hypertension, aka high blood pressure. It emphasizes the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy), which are high in blood pressure-deflating nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and fiber. DASH also discourages foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy foods and tropical oils, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets. Following DASH also means capping sodium at 2,300 milligrams a day, which followers will eventually lower to about 1,500 milligrams. DASH Diet is balanced and can be followed long term, which is a key reason nutrition experts rank it as U.S. News’ Best Overall Diet, tied with the Mediterranean Diet.
#3 Flexitarian Diet
Flexitarian is a marriage of two words: flexible and vegetarian. The term was coined more than a decade ago, and in her 2009 book, “The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life,” registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner says you don’t have to eliminate meat completely to reap the health benefits associated with vegetarianism – you can be a vegetarian most of the time, but still chow down on a burger or steak when the urge hits. By eating more plants like bulgur wheat and less meat, it’s suggested that adherents to the diet will not only lose weight but can improve their overall health, lowering their rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and live longer as a result.
Becoming a flexitarian is about adding five food groups to your diet – not taking any away. These are: the “new meat” (non-meat proteins like beans, peas or eggs); fruits and veggies; whole grains; dairy; and sugar and spice These diets fall within accepted ranges for the amount of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients they provide.
#4 MIND Diet
The MIND diet takes two proven diets – DASH and Mediterranean which both include whole grains – and zeroes in on the foods in each that specifically affect brain health, which may lower your risk of mental decline, according to initial research. And though there’s no surefire way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, eating healthful mainstays such as leafy greens, nuts and berries may lower a person’s risk of developing the progressive brain disorder. The MIND diet, which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, was developed by Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, through a study funded by the National Institute on Aging and published online February 2015. The study found the MIND diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35% for people who followed it moderately well and up to 53% for those who adhered to it rigorously. And while more study is still needed to better understand the long-term impact of the diet, her team’s second paper on the MIND diet notes that it’s superior to the DASH and Mediterranean diets for preventing cognitive decline.
Every day, you eat at least three servings of whole grains, a salad and another vegetable, along with drinking a glass of wine. (While a little alcohol consumption seems to be better for the brain than none at all, you could skip the wine since it’s not necessary to follow the guidelines to the letter to benefit.) On most days you snack on nuts, and every other day you eat half a cup of beans. At least twice a week you have poultry and a half-cup serving of berries (blueberries are best), and you dine on fish at least weekly. Olive oil is what you primarily use at home.
#5 Nordic Diet
These concepts underlie the Nordic diet: Eat more fruits and vegetables every day. Eat more whole grains.
The Nordic diet calls for a lifestyle that embraces a return to relaxed meals with friends and family, centered on seasonal, locally sourced foods, combined with concern for protecting the environment.
Mayo Clinic Diet
Weight loss and a healthier lifestyle go hand in hand on the Mayo Clinic Diet. You re calibrate your eating habits, breaking bad ones and replacing them with good ones with the help of the Mayo Clinic‘s unique food pyramid.
The pyramid emphasizes fruits, veggies and whole grains. In general, these foods have low energy density, meaning you can eat more but take in fewer calories. Think of it this way: For about the same amount of calories you could have a quarter of a Snickers bar or about 2 cups of broccoli. By sticking with the Mayo Clinic Diet, you’re expected to shed 6 to 10 pounds in two weeks and continue losing 1 to 2 pounds weekly until you’ve hit your goal weight.
In 2013, Mayo Clinic published “The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet,” which our experts did not evaluate. A new edition of this book was published in early 2019. This spin on the standard eating plan is designed for people with prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, and its advice is specific to lowering blood sugar and keeping levels stable.
F.Y.I See how some of the latest fad diets rank by expert panelist:
Paleo Diet which does not include whole grains ranked #29 in Best Diets Overall
Keto Diet which does not include whole grains ranked #34 in Best Diets Overall