Fight Depression with this Food

Fight Depression with this Food

Written by Alex Reid
Posted January 4, 2013

While tomatoes seem to be suffering from an identity crisis as they straddle the line between fruit and vegetable, they may actually have the power to make you feel better. According to a study led by Dr. Kaijun Niu from China's Tianjin Medical University, eating tomatoes every day cut the risk of depression by 52 percent.

Niu's study, involving a team of researchers from China and Japan, consisted of just under 1,000 men and women over the age of 70. Researchers analysed the mental health records and dietary habits of participants and found that those who ate tomatoes 2 to 6 times a week were 46 percent less likely to suffer depression than those eating them less than once a week.

The study comes in response to preliminary reports that lycopene might promote psychological as well as physical health by reducing oxidative stress, or damage to healthy brain cells. Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene, an antioxidant which has already been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer and heart attacks. Depression affects up to 20 percent of people at some point in their lives, with the elderly at an increased risk because of factors like declining health, bereavements, and loneliness.

In a report on the findings, researchers said: “These results suggest that a tomato-rich diet may have a beneficial effect on the prevention of depressive symptoms. In contrast, no relationship was observed with intake of other kinds of vegetables.” Other healthy foods like cabbage, carrots, onions and pumpkins did not appear to have any significant effect on the psychological well-being of participants.

Scientists are not sure whether the lycopene in tomatoes directly affects the mind, or simply protects against the depression associated with developing potentially fatal diseases like cancer.

To incorporate the health benefits of tomatoes into your diet try adding them to your salad and slicing them onto a sandwich. Turn them into a delicious main course by stuffing large tomatoes with a mixture of couscous or rice and chopped olives, artichokes, feta cheese, parsley, and mint, then baking. Check out this and several other great tomato recipes here.