Mediterranean Diet Benefits Mind and Body, Study Finds
Credit: Asha ten Broeke | Stock Xchng

Eating a plant-rich Mediterranean diet might not only be good for losing weight, it may have positive effects on general mental health and physical well-being as well, according to a new study from Spain.

Researchers tracked more than 11,000 university students and found that those who adhered more closely to a Mediterranean diet scored higher on tests of mental and physical well-being. The correlation was highest between the diet and physical well-being, the researchers said.

"The progressive aging of the population in developed countries makes it even more interesting to find out those factors that can increase quality of life and the health of the population," said study author Patricia Henríquez Sánchez, a researcher at the centre [TK-need name of institution] in the Canary Islands.

Following a Mediterranean diet has previously been associated with a lower mortality rateover a given time, and a reduced chance of chronic illness.

The diet is largely plant-based, and involves eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil and fish. Sweets, dairy and meat are limited, along with alcohol, although red wine in moderation is a traditional part of the Mediterranean diet.

The study was published today (May 29) in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Pass it on: Eating a Mediterranean diet may improve physical and mental health, as well as increase longevity.

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