As if the Mediterranean Diet wasn’t already perfect enough! Not only is this popular eating lifestyle considered the best diet for weight loss, but according to a new study published by the University of Edinburgh, the Mediterranean diet is also linked to better thinking skills later in life. If you follow this specific eating plan, you’ll be mentally sharper in your later years. Here’s why this one major side effect of the Mediterranean Diet is important for you to know, and for even more healthy dieting tips, be sure to check out our list of 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

The Mediterranean diet can keep you mentally sharp.

According to this new study, eating a diet “rich in green leafy vegetables and low in meat” can keep you mentally sharp later in life. In this study, the University of Edinburg tested over 500 people all at the age of 79, and without any dementia. The participants completed numerous tests to evaluate their problem solving, thinking speed, memory, and word knowledge. With a quick MRI scan, the team working on this study was able to evaluate the person’s thinking skills and how that closely correlated with the diet that these people regularly consume.

The results of this study showed that people who adhered closer to a Mediterranean diet had higher cognitive function scores. In particular, the individual diet components that stood out to researchers were higher consumption of leafy green vegetables and lower consumption of red meat.

While the study is clear that the Mediterranean diet is liked to better thinking skills, they also state that “the study found no link, however, between the Mediterranean-style diet and better brain health.” This means that the diet cannot account for a healthier overall brain structure, but simply for the functioning of the brain with one that follows this diet.

This one major side effect isn’t the only benefit.

While having a sharper brain is an incredible benefit of following the Mediterranean diet, according to the MayoClinic, the Mediterranean diet has a lot more to offer. In fact, the Mediterranean diet is also incredibly healthy for your heart!

It also has to do with the types of foods that are consumed while following the Mediterranean diet. The diet is mostly plant-based—with a concentrated daily consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole giants, and healthy fats. Fish, poultry, beans, and eggs are consumed on a weekly basis, a moderate amount of dairy products, and a limited intake of red meat. Following this type of diet means less saturated fats are consumed, which leads to lower cholesterol levels and healthier hearts. Plus, between the monounsaturated fats and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, there is a decreased risk of blood clotting, stroke, and heart failure.

The Mediterranean diet has also been proven to help you live a longer life! While concentrating on a diet that is higher in carbohydrates sounds counterintuitive compared to the popular low-carb, keto diets of today, the Mediterranean diet has actually been linked to a longer life. This is correlated to the research currently happening in areas of the Mediterranean today where scientists are noticing high-carb diets (and lower consumption of red meats) to also be linked to longer life spans.

Between having a sharper brain, a healthier heart, and a few added years to your life, what’s not to love about the Mediterranean diet?

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