Eating tomatoes could ward off depression

London, Dec 5 (IANS) Eating tomatoes a few times a week could halve the chances of suffering depression, a study claims.

Researchers analysed the mental health records and diet habits of just under 1,000 men and women aged 70 or over.

The results found those eating tomatoes two to six times a week were 46 percent less likely to suffer the blues than those eating them less than once a week, the Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

But other fruits and vegetables do not have the same benefits, the study found.

Up to 20 percent of people suffer depression at some point in their lives, with women affected more than men.

Tomatoes are rich in antioxidant chemicals that are thought to protect against some diseases.

They are a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that gives them their deep red colour and has been linked with reducing the risk of prostate cancer and heart attacks.

A team of researchers 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 as well as physical health by reducing oxidative stress.

They analysed the mental health records and dietary habits of just under 1,000 elderly Japanese men and women aged 70 or over.

The results, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, found those eating tomatoes two to six times a week were 46 percent less likely to suffer depression than those eating them less than once a week, the Mail said.

Most Popular in Europe