TOMATOES AND OLIVE OIL, IT'S AN ALL-BRAINER

Ti prendi cura del tuo cervello? Think Italian for brain health.

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Carotenoid-rich tomatoes provide all-star brain protection.

Rich in two carotenoidsbeta-carotene and lycopene; tomatoes are powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your body from inflammation caused by free radicals, which your brain, being full of omega 3 fats, is especially prone to.

Tomatometer: 99%, Audience Score: 73%... must try harder.
Tough crowd. 

Ok, these carotenoids up the ante in a host of other ways too. 

Due to its role in regulating genes that control inflammation and cell growth, lycopene aids in the prevention of mild cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s, as well as protecting against several cancers. 

Not to be outdone, beta-carotene helps protect against heart disease - which has a strong connection to our brain and mental health. 

Compromised blood flow from a weak heart is a major player in mental difficulties, and sufferers of heart disease are more prone to clinical depression. So, protecting against one, will protect against the other. 

Ahh, new Audience Score: 91%. Much better. 

No More Rotten Tomatoes  
I bang on a lot about the benefits of olive oil (you may recall me telling you that I go through a full litre every week). 

In this case, it supercharges the tomatoes by dissolving carotenoids to make them more easily absorbed (it has a similar effect with pretty much every other veg, but we’re all about the tomatoes today). 

Try it in this quick-and-delish pasta.

Feelin’ good from my head to - ma - toes
When it comes to choosing tomatoes, the deeper the colour on the skin, the better.

That’s where all the good stuff is, so it’s also better to go with little ones to get the most nutritional value. Organic is a solid investment too, as tomatoes have got themselves a spot on the “dirty dozen” list. 

Or, cut out the middleman and plant some, which (bonus!) is also good for your mental health, and offers optimal smugness when you invite me to your next dinner party, cos, I'll be honest, I'm not going to be planting any myself...

FOR THE NERDYEverybody say tomato. [source: Psychology Today]