Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Health Benefits of Lycopene

Lycopene is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment. This particular phytochemical is most commonly consumed by eating tomatoes or tomato-based products such as ketchup, tomato paste, sauces, etc. Lycopene is also found in a few other foods; I'll list those in a moment... Lycopene is chemically labeled a carotene, but it has no Vitamin A activity.

Once Lycopene is absorbed into the body, it accumulates in the liver, adrenal glands, and testes; it is also present in human serum, skin, lungs, prostate, and colon.

Possible Health Benefits of Lycopene:

It can help prevent cardiovascular disease, various types of cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, and can possibly improve male fertility.
It is a powerful antioxidant and is being studied for its potential anti-cancer properties.
When concerning cancer, the stronger forms of evidence are linked towards its ability to help prevent lung, stomach, and prostate cancer.
Some studies have suggested that Lycopene may also help prevent certain types of eye disorders (cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, etc.)

However, there are a few factors that make it hard to find clear-cut evidence for some of these claims. For one, synthetic versions of the substance is often used (the ones typically found in supplements) as opposed to natural sources, during clinical studies. Secondly, when using natural sources, the foods that contain a significant amount of Lycopene, also contain a lot of other beneficial phytochemicals/phytonutrients and this makes it hard to determine how much impact a single phytochemical, such as Lycopene, has on the body when compared to other substances within the actual food source.

Natural Dietary Sources of Lycopene:
Below, I'll provide the Source and the amount of Lycopene via μg/g wet weight......

[Data gathered from ]

Gac (A rare Southeast Asian fruit found throughout the region from Southern China to Northeastern Australia): 2,000 - 2,300

Tomato sauce: 63 - 131

Tomato ketchup: 124

Tomato juice: 86 - 100

Watermelon: 23 - 72

Pink Guava: 54
Papaya: 20 - 53

Tomato (raw): 8.8 - 42

Rose hip puree: 7.8

Pink Grapefruit: 3.6 - 34

Apricot: ...less than 0.1

If you'd like to read about all the "inconclusive" evidence along with loads of statements saying that familiar trite phrase, "they don't have enough scientific evidence," go here: [link has become inactive]

Tomato Juice prevents emphysema in animal models: "Drinking tomato juice completely prevented emphysema in mice exposed to tobacco smoke, report researchers from Japan." Read more...

I don't know about you, but I have no problem adding Ketchup and/or Lycopene into my diet......
---End of Post "Health Benefits of Lycopene"

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