Can the Mediterranean Diet make you happy?

Physical growth and rapid development are two of the main characteristics of adolescence. During this period the #wellbeing, quality of life, and #health of the adolescents are affected by the changes in cognitive, psychological, and emotional domains. Therefore, eating habits and nutritional knowledge during the adolescence impact positively the eating habits in adulthood as well as their health. Moreover, a healthy diet during adolescence can positively affect psychological well-being and brain maturation.

Specifically, the Mediterranean diet pattern (MD) has shown to positively impact health and psychological outcomes during #adolescence.


A high intake of:

  • seasonal fruit and vegetables,

  • legumes,

  • nuts,

  • olive oil,

  • bread,

  • cereals, as well as

  • moderate consumption of:

  • fish, and eggs.

  • dairy products, especially:

  • yoghurt and cheese.

  • occasional consumption of:

  • meat and animal fats,

are the main elements of this diet. Therefore this diet offers an adequate amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which avoid possible nutritional deficiencies, associated health problems, the prevalence of chronic degenerative diseases and psychological well-being.


Better academic performance and positive effects on several health problems, including asthma and allergies, are the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in children and adolescents. Eating breakfast, as well as the number of consumed fruits and vegetables, have been linked to higher levels of happiness.

According to recent research by Rosario Ferrer-Cascales, 2019, high adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with better health-related quality of life and higher subjective happiness in adolescents. Mediterranean diet and health-related quality of life predict 40% of the variance in subjective wellness. Psychological well-being, mood, emotions, financial resources and social acceptance mediate positively in the effects of Mediterranean diet adherence on subjective happiness. Higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is related to the development of a healthy lifestyle which could promote a positive perception of one’s own life, and therefore, more subjective happiness.


Greater happiness, lower incidence of depression, more life satisfaction and psychological well-being were proven to be positively associated with fruit and vegetable consumption as well as the Mediterranean Diet. Fruit and vegetables contain high levels of carbohydrates, nutrients associated with a high concentration of brain serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter closely related to happiness, positive mood and motivation.


Fruit and vegetables, through antioxidants nutrients, protect the brain from the negative effects of oxidative stress. In line with this, high levels of blood antioxidants have been associated with optimism.


As a result, we can prevent several types of health problems, and at the same time promote a satisfactory lifestyle and high levels of health-related quality of life through nutritional health programmes based on the Mediterranean Diet.

Source: Higher Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet is Related to More Subjective Happiness in Adolescents: The Role of Health-Related Quality of Life.
Rosario Ferrer-Cascales 2019
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