I Say Tomato

The antioxidant-rich, mood boosting, dementia-fighting tomato gets the spotlight this month, and with tomato season on its way, now’s the time to consider growing your own bounty of this terrific brainfood.

Tomatoes are high in a lycopene and carotenoids that protect your brain fat, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. If you want to grow your own, there are many great organic heirloom varieties to choose from. The smaller varieties are best because they are easier to grow and contain more nutrient-rich tomato skin per cup. The darker varieties are also worth considering because along with lycopene they have other valuable brain protecting molecules, such as anthocyanins.

It doesn’t take that much to grow tomatoes. A sunny plot in the yard or even a terra cotta pot in a southern facing window can do the trick. On the farm we put in a crop of 200 plants and in NYC, I grow about 15 plants on the back porch. I even tried the Topsy Turvy system one season, which yielded a delicious bounty of small yellow pear and super sweet cherry tomatoes.

Drew Ramsey, MD

Drew Ramsey, M.D. is a psychiatrist, author, and farmer. He is a clear voice in the mental health conversation and one of psychiatry’s leading proponents of using nutritional interventions. He is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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