Lycopene is a natural plant compound that is found in bright red fruits and veggies like tomatoes, watermelon, and grapefruit. It is a carotenoid, which are yellow, orange, or red pigments that render signature shade to its plants. It is known as phytochemicals that deliver umpteen number of health benefiting properties. Lycopene is a strong antioxidant that holds a key role in supporting the human body against free radicals, reduce oxidative stress and lowers the risk of chronic diseases.
Potential Health Benefits Of Lycopene
A diet high in lycopene can help in preventing oxidative stress by maintaining equilibrium between antioxidants and free radicals in the system. Thus, adding lycopene-rich foods to the diet offers the body protection against chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
Lycopene is beneficial in slowing down the progression of certain types of cancer like prostate, lungs, breasts, and kidneys. This phytochemical is attributed to slow down the growth and formation of tumour cells.
Lycopene may support to lower risk of prematurely dying from heart-related ailments. It augments heart health by lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good (HDL) cholesterol levels. While a high level of lycopene improves the health status of people with metabolic syndrome.
Lycopene works well to protect the skin against the harmful effects of UV rays and sunburn. Adding lycopene-rich foods is best known to lower the risk of skin cancer and rejuvenates skin health.
Lycopene is helpful to delay the formation of cataracts and lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Additionally, the antioxidant properties of lycopene may prevent seizures and memory loss in patient’s suffering from Alzheimer’s and also slow down the death of bone cells and keeps bones strong.
Tomatoes and its product have the highest amounts of lycopene. Tomato products such as ketchup, juice, and sauce account for 80% of dietary lycopene intake. There is no established dietary allowance (RDA) of this fat-soluble nutrient. However, studies have revealed that daily intakes are within the range of 8-21 mg per day, and this intake is linked with many health benefits. Some of the other food sources rich in lycopene include watermelon, papaya, red peppers, persimmon, red cabbage, mango, asparagus, and guava.
There are no known symptoms of lycopene deficiency. However, consuming excess amounts of lycopene can lead to skin discolouration known as lycopenodermia. This condition is harmless and settles on its own when lycopene intake is reduced.
Foray this infographic to know about the top 5 dietary sources of lycopene.