Tomato U turn to relish

By Don Farmer

Expect demand for tomatoes this summer to go through the roof - that's if you believe everything you read.

The reason is not the obvious one, which of course is that demand for tomatoes always "goes through the roof" in summer salad days, unless you wisely grow your own.

No, the new reason for believing demand is to escalate is because yet another health flip-flop has come along to drastically change the food-buying habits of all hypochondriacs.

They're saying eating tomatoes can cut your risk of suffering from depression in half, if you eat enough of them.

I love tomatoes, but I can recall a time when health "experts" believed you should go easy on them. They were apparently full of acid and would play havoc with your guts, not to mention bringing you out in all kinds of rashes and zits.

Well, the humble tomato has now been credited with making you feel well.

Trouble is the research only looked at the diets of over-70s, finding those who ate tomatoes two to six times a week were 64 per cent less likely to get depression than those who ate them once a week.

Let's analyse the research a little. The results can't claim anyone under 70 would be less at risk from depression by eating dollops of tomatoes, because none were asked.

Did they consider those over 70 are more likely to live and be damned, treating life less seriously anyway than their younger counterparts who worry about mortgages, money, jobs, boyfriends, girlfriends or what they look like?

How do you determine that any perceived benefit for mental health comes from tomatoes - maybe those who were part of the research also ate bananas two to six times a week, or ice cream or huhu grubs. Who knows?

From those comments, you've probably gleaned that when it comes to food research findings, I am a total cynic.

Just enjoy your food and get an early night occasionally and your mental health will be at least as good as a plateful of tomatoes can make it.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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