Thursday, December 06, 2012

Do  tomatoes ward off depression?

These are results from Japan so may not generalize.  The fact that no other  vegies had the effect suggests that this is simply a data dredging finding anyway

Eating tomatoes just 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 per cent less likely to suffer the blues than those eating them less than once a week.

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

Eating healthy foods like cabbage, carrots, onions and pumpkins appeared to have little or no effect on psychological well-being.

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

They are a particularly 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.

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.

A team of researchers from China and Japan, led by Dr 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.

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 per cent less likely to suffer depression than those eating them less than once a week.

Eating tomatoes every day slashed the risk by 52 per cent.

But there was no obvious advantage to mental health from other vegetables.

The researchers said they cannot be sure if lycopene in tomatoes directly affects the mind, or whether it simply protects against the depression caused when people develop potentially fatal diseases like cancer.

In a report on the findings they 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.’


Why chocolate warnings don't work on women

This is just a subset of the truth that the war on obesity will increase obesity

WARNING women that eating chocolate can make them fat may actually drive some to eat more, research from the University of Western Australia shows.

The joint study with the University of Strathclyde in Scotland found low restraint eaters - those not on a diet - showed a strong impulse to eat chocolate when presented with negative messaging, including warnings that chocolate could lead to obesity.

Women on a diet were also prone to rebel against attempts to scare them off chocolate, particularly by ads featuring thin models.

Researchers found dieters shown ads featuring thin models displayed an increased desire to eat chocolate coupled with greater feelings of wanting to avoid consumption, or indulged in higher consumption - and ultimately felt more guilt.

Lead author Professor Kevin Durkin said the reaction of a warning having a contrary effect was known as "reactance''.

"Reactance could be more marked among the low-restraint participants because they are generally less preoccupied with regulating their food intake and thus find external attempts to intervene in freely determined behaviour more jarring,'' Prof Durkin said.

The study involved 80 female participants between the ages of 17 and 26, categorised into low or high restraint and scored on a specifically designed "chocolate questionnaire'' developed by UWA-based psychologist Professor Werner Stritzke.

The research was published in the journal Appetite, which specialises in behavioural nutrition and the cultural, sensory, and physiological influences on intake of foods and drinks.


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