If tomatoes were a superhero they would definitely be Superman because, like this spandex-wearing superhero, tomatoes have more than one superpower. A recent study conducted by the Tianjin Medical University found that people who ate tomatoes two to six times a week were 46 per cent less likely to suffer from depression than those participants who only ate tomatoes once a week.
The researchers believe that the antioxidant called lypocene, which is found in tomatoes, might be the ingredient that helps protect against depression. However, the researchers also found that tomatoes could reduce people’s risk of developing heart attacks and prostate cancer. Therefore they could not conclude whether participants were less depressed as a result of the lypocene, or whether they were less depressed because they were not developing these fatal diseases.
How to eat: Add some fresh tomatoes to a stew, to your sandwiches or to a salad.
If you want to find a food with superpowers then look no further than spinach. This green stuff is low in calories but rich in nutrients and has a wealth of benefits for you and your body. Not only does spinach contain heaps of vitamin A and K, it also keeps you young. The green leaves contain iron and vitamin C and both of these nutrients encourage collagen production, which keeps your skin looking youthful.
Apparently spinach can also protect your brain from the ageing process because it stops the oxidation process, which can lead to age-related problems such as dementia.
How to eat: Swap the lettuce you normally add to your salads for spinach, or whip up a tasty spinach curry.
When you hear that a food is full of antioxidants and phytoflavinoids you know that it is going to be a food with real life superpowers. Although small, blueberries are packed full of antioxidants and phytoflavinoids, which means they have many health benefits. One big health benefit you get from eating blueberries is that they can lower your risk of heart disease.
Blueberries can help to protect your heart because they help to reduce inflammation, which can cause many serious chronic illnesses, such as heart disease. Research into the health benefits of blueberries lends support to this theory. Researchers found that women who ate more than one and a half cups (or three servings) of blueberries or strawberries were at a lower risk of a heart attack. It is thought that the berries improve ‘good’ cholesterol and reduce inflammation, which both help to reduce your risk of heart disease.
How to eat: Make a blueberry smoothie or eat blueberries for breakfast with some nuts, natural yoghurt and honey.
If you want to lose weight, you should think about tucking into some salmon. Salmon contains high levels of protein (in every 4oz serving you can get 58 per cent of your recommended daily intake of protein) and this protein helps the body to maintain the metabolism levels it needs to encourage weight loss. Also salmon helps you to shed the pounds because the high levels of protein keep you fuller for longer, which means you won’t feel the need to eat as much.
How to eat: Serve salmon with a squeeze of lemon, green beans and new potatoes. Or you can add salmon to a salad along with sweetcorn and new potatoes.
Pumpkin seeds taste amazing and are full to the brim of useful nutrients such as: phosphorous, iron, copper, zinc, protein, vitamin K and magnesium. Fantastically each of these nutrients is useful for something. Zinc, for example, improves your thinking skills and it is also great for your memory. The magnesium and phosphorous present in pumpkin seeds can help to keep your bones strong, whilst the protein present in pumpkin seeds has antimicrobial benefits, which means that it can destroy or limit the effects of those microorganisms that can cause disease.
How to eat: Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to your muesli or eat pumpkin seeds as a snack.