Lycopene is a natural pigment, that is found abundantly in some red-colored fruits and vegetables. Read on for more information about lycopene benefits.
Lycopene is the red-colored carotenoid pigment found in some fruits and vegetables. In fact, it is responsible for the red color of tomatoes, watermelon, grapes, guava, carrots, papayas, etc. Once ingested from food, lycopene is absorbed by the body and is deposited on different sites, like, liver, testes, adrenal glands, etc. Even though, it is not considered as an essential nutrient for humans, it is found to be beneficial for health in many different ways. Let us take a look at the various lycopene benefits.
More About Lycopene
Even though, lycopene deficiency is not defined conclusively and such conditions are not found to be harmful for humans, it is always recommended to include foods rich in lycopene in the diet. It is due to the health benefits offered by this compound, which is a carotenoid. While, some of the red-colored fruits and vegetables are found to be rich in this compound, it is gac fruit, that has the credit of having high levels of lycopene. However, gac fruit is not commonly available and hence, tomato is widely considered as the richest source of lycopene. Others include watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava, papaya, red bell pepper, rose hips, seabuckthorn, wolf berry, etc. Unlike, some other vitamins, cooking or processing does not diminish the quantity of lycopene. It has been observed that cooked tomatoes, tomato, sauce, jam, etc., contain lycopene in high levels, as compared to fresh ones. Now, you know more about lycopene sources. The following paragraphs deal with the lycopene benefits for men and women.
Benefits of Lycopene
Lycopene is a carotenoid with strong antioxidant properties. So, it has been a subject of health research for a very long time. It has been suggested that lycopene is beneficial for human health in various ways. Initial studies suggested that a diet rich in lycopene is good for preventing cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc. Lycopene is said to be very much effective in preventing cancer, especially, that of the lungs, stomach, and prostate gland. However, there is no conclusive evidence to prove the same and researches are still underway. It is also said to be good in reducing the incidence of macular degeneration and cataract. Another lycopene benefit suggested by researchers is its use in reducing fertility problems in men. Lycopene benefits for women include its effect in reducing the risk of osteoporosis in those, who are in post menopausal stage. Reducing risks of prostate cancer and infertility are among the lycopene benefits for men. Lycopene is said to be an effective as an anti-aging agent too. Studies show that lycopene inhibits the formation of singlet oxygen (produced during exposure to UV radiation), that is one of the primary causes of aging of skin. Lycopene benefits for skin include its role in preventing skin cancer too.
In short, lycopene is said to be good for preventing various health problems and also promotes vision and skin health. However, researches are still going on regarding the role of lycopene in human health, as there is no conclusive evidence to prove its health benefits. It is also contended that lycopene derived from supplements are not as beneficial, as those derived from the diet. It is also suggested that it may not be the lycopene content in tomatoes that offers the health benefits, as there are various other compounds in tomatoes and other foods, that are rich in lycopene. So, it will be better to go for fresh tomatoes and other fruits, so as to reap various lycopene benefits. If you want to take supplements, contact your doctor and act as per his instructions.
By Sonia Nair