Autumnal blues: The feeling of sadness which affects many people at the onset of autumn can easily be relieved with a balanced diet. The 'good-mood hormone' serotonin, as found in bananas, is especially commendable, according to health expert Professor Hademar Bankhofer. The trace element zinc, found in fish and oat flakes, also helps improve mood. Zinc and other trace elements such as potassium, magnesium and iron can also be obtained from pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Noodles contain carbohydrates which increase blood-sugar levels which in turn creates a feeling of well-being. A real 'tonic' during grey winter and autumn months is a bowl of yoghurt with eight chopped walnuts and two teaspoons of honey. Meat consumption, on the other hand, should be cut down at this time of the year as too much of it inhibits the production of serotonin, Bankhofer notes in Reader's Digest. Double shot to go: This month's issue of a Hamburg men's magazine has some shocking food for thought: it claims certain foods and beverages which have been considered unhealthy are anything but. The German-language Men's Health, citing a survey by Dusseldorf University, reports that ketchup guards against some diseases better than large amounts of tomatoes. The sauce, it appears, makes 'free radicals' harmless and thus keeps heart problems, prostate cancer and premature ageing at bay. Swiss researchers, meanwhile, have found chocolate does not necessarily lead to weight problems. If it's eaten between five and 30 minutes before a meal it raises blood-sugar levels which in turn signals satiation to the brain. The consequence is that less is eaten. Like tomato sauce, chocolate also takes on free radicals and the darker the chocolate variety, the better. Alcohol also has its benefits, according to the magazine. One or two glasses of wine a day can reduce the risk of a heart attack by around 50 per cent. Beer has a similar effect. Conversely, abstinence can raise the risks, according to research by Boston University, in Massachusetts. Coffee is said to possess a whole range of benefits, as a number of studies have proved. The main points are that coffee makes you more creative, intelligent and helps stamina. It makes weight reduction easier and sharpens the senses. But rest is also a good thing, says the magazine. People who sleep long produce 'rejuvenating' hormones such as melatonin and growth hormones. Sport appears to help health less in this respect than a good dose of lazing around, though a half-hour walk can halve the risk of heart problems.