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Eating healthy in a country where heavily processed snack foods are sold as breakfast and fried foods are cheaper than fresh produce is no easy task. Finding the right eating plan gets even harder when medical experts can’t seem to agree on what we should consume for optimal health. But as it turns out, there may be one superior way to eat.

Evidence is building in support of the Mediterranean diet, a meal plan that emphasizes vegetables, healthy fats, and protein while limiting processed foods like granola bars and white bread.

Although the plan comes in many different forms, most of its iterations have been linked with key benefits for losing weight, protecting your heart as you age, and keeping your mind sharp.

New research suggests the diet may also be a powerful component of a larger strategy for reducing the symptoms of depression. And it may be cost-effective, too. Participants in a study published on Tuesday saved roughly $26 per week — or $1,344 per year —on the Mediterranean meal plan compared to people who stuck to a traditional diet.

“I think everybody has this idea that eating healthy is expensive, but we found that maybe that doesn’t have to be the case,” Mary Lou Chatterton, a professor at Deakin University in Australia and one of the lead authors on the paper, told Business Insider.

Eating like a Mediterranean to feel better and save money

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