While it's been well-established that the Mediterranean diet is good for the heart and body, a new study has found it's also good for the soul.
Published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and released May 29, the study found that a diet based on fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, pulses and nuts is positively linked to mental health and quality of life.
For their research, Spanish scientists tracked the lives of more than 11,000 university students over four years. Dietary intake of the participants was taken at the beginning of the study and self-perceived quality of life was measured after the four-year monitoring period.
The results showed that those who stuck to a more Mediterranean diet scored higher on the quality of life questionnaire in categories of physical and mental well-being, compared to those who followed non-Mediterranean diets.
Meanwhile, a Swedish review of four studies last year concluded that a diet rich in vegetables and fish can also lengthen a person's lifespan by two to three years.
Want to include more Mediterranean elements to your diet? Follow the Mediterranean pyramid based on cereals, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products. Fish, lean meats and eggs should be the main source of protein, while olive oil should be the principal fat used in cooking.
Followers should drink 1.5 to 2 liters of water daily, and moderate consumption of wine or other fermented beverages.
At the top of the pyramid are sugar, sweets, cakes, pastries and sweetened beverages, which should be kept to a minimum.