The Health Benefits of Lycopene
Are you familiar with lycopene? You may already know that it is present in tomatoes, but are you aware of the many health related lycopene benefits?
Technically lycopene is a phytochemical compound and a member of the carotenoid family, and is found in fruits and vegetables such as red peppers, tomatoes, guava and pink grapefruit. Lycopene is responsible for giving these foods their red color. It contains powerful antioxidant properties that fight free radicals (which can damage cells) and can assist in preventing degenerative diseases, a known enemy of a healthy body. It is also a powerful protector against heart disease and can help keep cholesterol levels in check.
Numerous studies, including: Effect of lycopene on cell viability and cell cycle progression in human cancer cell lines, have shown lycopene to be effective against cancer cells in prostate and also skin and lung cancer.
Lycopene boasts beauty benefits as well; it can promote skin that is smooth and supple and can help prevent sunburn, through the neutralization of the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. Protection from pollutants is yet another health and beauty related benefit of lycopene. You can purchase skin care products that contain lycopene while also consuming it through your daily diet.
Getting lycopene into your diet is easy. You can start by incorporating tomatoes into all your salads and making a quick and simple fresh salsa with tomatoes, red peppers and fresh herbs, to eat with chips, crackers or added to salads or soups. It turns out that when tomatoes that are cooked or pureed it becomes easier for the body to absorb the lycopene. Adding fat such as olive oil also aids in absorption, as lycopene is fat soluble, perfect for when you are whipping up a big batch of homemade tomato sauce. Drinking juices, such as watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava and tomato, is an ideal way to consume lycopene and enjoy its many health related benefits. Try adding fruit wedges to your green salad or your morning cold cereal or hot oatmeal.
The next time you are enjoying pizza or pasta you can know you are doing good things for your health by ingesting lycopene. Lycopene loaded fresh fruit and fruit drinks will also take on new meaning in your diet now that you know the health benefits of lycopene and the many ways lycopene benefits you both inside and out. Put lycopene at the top of your grocery list today!