Tomato for Lycopene


Lycopene is a naturally occurring compound found in certain fruits and vegetables, particularly in red-colored varieties such as; tomatoes, watermelon, pink guavas, pink grapefruit and papaya. It belongs to a group of pigments called carotenoids, which are responsible for the vibrant red, orange and yellow colors in many plants.

Lycopene has been proven to provide many health benefits. Tomatoes and tomato products contain the highest dietary content of lycopene of about 85%.

How The Body Absorbs Lycopene

Lycopene is best absorbed by the body when consumed along with fats, such as those found in olive oil or avocados. Cooking tomatoes or processing them into sauces, pastes or juices can also increase the bio-availability of lycopene. Including lycopene-rich foods as part of a balanced diet may contribute to overall health and well-being.

Lycopene Health Benefits

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant with potential health benefits. Some of the noted benefits of taking lycopene are; to prevent heart disease, atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, along with breast, prostate, lung, ovary, bladder, pancreas and colon cancers.

Some people with cataracts and asthma use lycopene as a treatment option. The supplement has been known to treat human papillomavirus or HPV infection. HPV can lead to uterine cancer.

In addition to most cancers, lycopene is also helpful in treating other conditions and illnesses such as; preventing high LDL cholesterol and lowering triglycerides, helping with infertility, boosting sperm counts in men, plus the prevention of diabetes, aging of the skin and osteoporosis. It may even be effective in protecting the skin from sunburns.

Below we will explore some of these health benefits in more detail:

Lycopene as a Source of Antioxidants

In its natural state, lycopene is a fantastic source of antioxidants which brings many health benefits. It has been discovered that lycopene possesses twice the antioxidants that are found in beta-carotene. The antioxidants in Lcyopene help to neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals can cause oxidative damage to cells, leading to various diseases and aging-related conditions. They also help to maintain the thickness, strength and fluidity of your cell membranes, which are the protectors of other cells in your body.

The cell membranes monitor everything that goes in and out of your cells. Allowing good nutrients in and deterring toxins can provide for stronger cell membranes that are important in preventing diseases. Lycopene also protects other structures in the body from oxygen damage.

Lycopene to Increase Sperm Count

Some research suggests that lycopene, a potent antioxidant found in certain fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, may have potential benefits for male fertility, including sperm health, sperm count and enhanced sperm motility, which refers to the ability of sperm to move effectively. Improved sperm motility can increase the likelihood of sperm reaching and fertilizing an egg.

Here’s how lycopene may impact sperm count:

Antioxidant properties: Lycopene is known for its antioxidant properties, which help protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Sperm cells are susceptible to oxidative stress, which can impair their function and decrease sperm count. By neutralizing free radicals, lycopene may help maintain sperm health and improve sperm count.

DNA protection: Oxidative stress can damage sperm DNA, leading to genetic abnormalities and reduced fertility. Lycopene’s antioxidant activity may help protect sperm DNA from oxidative damage, preserving its integrity and improving overall sperm quality.

Hormonal regulation: Lycopene may also play a role in regulating hormone levels, including testosterone, which is crucial for sperm production. By promoting hormonal balance, lycopene could indirectly support healthy sperm production and improve sperm count.

Lycopene for Heart Health

Some research suggests that diets rich in lycopene may be associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Lycopene may help lower levels of LDL cholesterol (often referred to as “bad” cholesterol) and reduce inflammation in the arteries, which can contribute to heart disease.

Lycopene for Cancer Prevention

Studies have investigated the potential role of lycopene in reducing the risk of certain cancers, particularly prostate cancer. Although more research is needed, some evidence suggests that lycopene may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and protect against DNA damage caused by carcinogens.

Lycopene for Skin Health

Lycopene may offer benefits for skin health by helping to protect against UV radiation from the sun, which can cause skin damage and premature aging. Some topical skincare products contain lycopene for its potential protective effects against sun damage (sunburn) and to promote healthy skin.

Lycopene for Eye Health

Lycopene is believed to have protective effects on eye health due to its antioxidant properties. It may help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye conditions by neutralizing oxidative stress in the eye tissues.

How To Eat Tomatoes for Lycopene – Raw or Cooked?

The tomato is the edible fruit from the plant (Solanum lycopersicum) commonly known as a tomato plant and is one of the most popular fruits in the world. Although most people consider it to be a vegetable, it is actually a citrus fruit. Americans alone eat about 80 pounds of tomatoes yearly. California is the largest grower of tomatoes but China is also considered one of the biggest importers. It did not become an important part of our daily diets until about the 1800s and since have been proven to provide many health benefits for our lives.

Raw tomatoes contain more than enough lycopene to reach your daily requirement. Surprisingly, processed forms of tomatoes such as ketchup, tomato soup and cooked tomatoes, enhance the effect of the lycopene making it easier for the body to absorb and use. The darker and redder the tomato is, the more lycopene it contains.

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Lycopene Notes / Side Effects

Lycopene is considered safe for most individuals when consumed in normal dietary amounts found in foods. However, as with any supplement, it’s essential to use lycopene supplements cautiously and under the guidance of a healthcare professional, especially at high doses or in individuals with underlying medical conditions, as some individuals may experience certain side effects.

Here are some potential side effects associated with lycopene supplementation:

Gastrointestinal issues: In some cases, high doses of lycopene supplements may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, including nausea, diarrhea, or indigestion. These symptoms are typically mild and transient but may occur in sensitive individuals.

Allergic reactions: Although rare, some people may be allergic to lycopene or other components present in lycopene supplements. Allergic reactions can vary in severity and may include symptoms such as itching, rash, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Individuals with known allergies to tomatoes or other related foods should exercise caution when using lycopene supplements.

Skin discoloration: Excessive consumption of lycopene-rich foods or supplements may cause a condition called lycopenodermia, characterized by orange or yellow discoloration of the skin. This discoloration is harmless and usually resolves once lycopene intake is reduced or discontinued.

Interactions with medications: Lycopene supplements may interact with certain medications or medical conditions. For example, lycopene may interfere with the absorption of certain medications, such as those used to lower cholesterol (statins) or treat thyroid disorders. Individuals taking prescription medications should consult with their healthcare provider before starting lycopene supplementation to avoid potential interactions.

Effects on blood pressure: Some research suggests that lycopene may have a modest effect on blood pressure, potentially lowering it in individuals with hypertension. While this effect may be beneficial for some people, individuals with low blood pressure or those taking blood pressure-lowering medications should monitor their blood pressure levels closely when using lycopene supplements.

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