London, Dec 5 If you have been feeling downcast and gloomy, then the best thing to do overcome this state of mind is to eat tomatoes a few times a week, say researchers.
Researchers analysed the mental health records and diet habits of just under 1,000 men and women aged 70 years or over.
They found those eating tomatoes two to six times a week were 46 percent less likely to suffer the blues than those eating the red fruit less than once a week.
A team from China and Japan, led by Kaijun Niu from China’s Tianjin Medical University, wanted to investigate preliminary reports that lycopene might also promote psychological and well as physical health by reducing oxidative stress, or damage to healthy brain cells, the Journal of Affective Disorders reported.
But other fruits and vegetables do not have the same benefits, the study found.
Eating cabbage, carrots, onions and pumpkins appeared to have little or no effect on psychological well-being, according to the Daily Mail.
Up to 20 percent of people suffer depression at some point in their lives, with women affected more than men. The elderly are at high risk because of the effect on mood from declining health, bereavements and loneliness.
Tomatoes are rich in anti-oxidants, particularly lycopene, that gives them their deep red colour and has been linked with reducing the risk of prostate cancer and heart attacks.
British consumers get through half-a-million tonnes of tomatoes every year – the equivalent of 19 pounds per person a year. However, this is still much less than in some Mediterranean countries.