The red pigment that gives tomato its bright red color is known as lycopene. Lycopene is a type of carotenoid. It is a powerful natural antioxidant capable of protecting your body from destructive activities of free radicals. Intake of foods packed with this plant nutrient could restore your optimal health, reducing risk of several illnesses.
Lycopene – benefits
Lycopene is one of the strongest antioxidants of the carotenoid family. Its antioxidant property is more powerful than beta carotene. Foods stuffed with lycopene will prevent oxidative stress, resulting from mounting level of harmful free radicals in the body. Studies have shown that lycopene is capable of preventing DNA damage, one of the most dangerous outcomes of activities of free radicals in the body. Free radicals could even accelerate aging, increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and formation of cataracts.
The walls of the arteries thicken and lose their elasticity to form arteriosclerosis. Studies have shown that lycopene could prevent this condition by obstructing formation of foam cells associated with this condition. Moreover, lycopene could prevent thrombosis or formation of blood clots in the blood vessels by impairing platelet aggregation.
Anti cancer substance
Lycopene could perhaps lessen the risk of developing cancers. The anti cancer feature of this phytonutrient is more effective in minimizing the risk of breast, prostate, skin, stomach, colon and lung cancers. Lycopene has derived its cancer prevention property from its ability to prevent mutation of DNA.
Lycopene is blessed with antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can fight infections. Oral infections including gum inflammation and Candida yeast infection could be treated with lycopene. By strengthening the immune system, lycopene could make you less vulnerable to infections.
Good for diabetics
Although lycopene might not reduce the blood glucose level in diabetics, it is capable of preventing diabetes-related health disorders such as neuropathy, macular degeneration and heart diseases.
Lycopene could be effective in reducing sunburn.
Sources of lycopene
Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene. You can even find large amounts of this powerful antioxidant in watermelon, guava, red oranges, rosehips and pink grapefruits. Few dietary supplements contain lycopene as an essential ingredient.