Lycopene, how to get more
What is lypocene?
Lypocene is one of the most commonly-found carotenoids in the human body and is an antioxidant that gives tomatoes and certain other fruits and vegetables their color. Foods that have particularly high concentrations of lypocene include tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, papaya, and rosehip.
Lypocene is considered to be one of the most powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants block the actions of oxygen molecules, which can damage cells. Lypocene is considered a superior antioxidant because unlike most, it is not converted to Vitamin A after it is digested, which in turn weakens the antioxidant properties.
What is the benefit of lypocene?
Many researchers believe that lycopene has a number of health benefits to humans. Studies have shown that it can lower the risk of heart disease, macular degenerative disease, and lipid oxidation. In addition, it is suggested that it lowers the amount of LPL, or "bad," cholesterol in the body. It is also used to boost the immune system and protect enzymes within the body.
Another benefit of lycopene is that studies have shown it can actually prevent and slow the growth of cancers detected in the prostate, lungs, and stomach. It is also correlated to a lower risk against cervical, breast, mouth, pancreatic, and esophageal cancers. Diets rich in tomato are associated to a lowered risk of these cancers, as a result of the high concentration of lycopene.
How to get more lycopene
If you're looking to get more lycopene in your diet and reduce your risk of certain cancers, there are many fruits and vegetables that have high amounts of lycopene.
Tomatoes are perhaps the best source of lycopene. Interestingly enough, processed tomato products like tomato paste, canned tomatoes, tomato juices, sauces, soups, and ketchup have the highest amounts of lycopene. This is because lycopene is insoluble in water, so it is tightly connected to the vegetable fibers. The oils found in foods like pizza and spaghetti help the body to better absorb lycopene, which is fat-soluble.
Those who love Italian food will be pleased to hear that many Italian foods are high in lycopene. But if you think pizza and spaghetti sound unhealthy, you can still get the benefits of lycopene without sacrificing health. For example, use whole wheat pastas instead of white spaghetti and pastas, and make your own pizzas using whole grain dough. Add extra sauce, which is high in lycopene, and vegetables, and use only a little cheese.
You can get more lycopene by adding cut-up tomatoes to salads. Or, have a bowl of tomato soup with dinner or for lunch. Many good recipes also use canned tomatoes and are very flavorful and another good source of lycopene.
Tomatoes aren't the only sources of lycopene. Watermelon is another excellent source, with 15 to 20 milligrams per 2-cup serving. Take advantage of watermelon season in the summer months by putting it in fruit salads, smoothies, and eating it as a snack.
Pink grapefruit can be found year-round and is also high in lypocene. It is said to have a number of additional weight management benefits as well. You can incorporate more lypocene into your diet by eating a half or whole grapefruit each morning with breakfast. If the taste is too tart, sweeten it with a little Splenda.
Lypocene is a powerful antioxidant, and it just takes a little creativity to add more to your diet.