What Is Lycopene Good For? The Benefits Of Lycopene Foods
Lycopene is one of the most well-known phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables. Lycopene and prostate cancer are often mentioned together, as one of the benefits of lycopene is cancer prevention.
What else is lycopene good for? The health benefits of lycopene-rich foods and supplements are many and varied.
Phytochemicals or phytonutrients basically are substances that can help to prevent disease and protect our bodies, but are not essential nutrients for living. These include carotenoids such as lycopene. Carotenoids are responsible for the yellow, orange and red pigment in fruits and vegetables.
Although lycopene is responsible for the red color in tomatoes, a different form of this phytochemical has been identified in yellow tomatoes.
List of lycopene foods, including fruits and vegetables
The fact that a fruit or veggie is red, doesn't mean that it comes packed with lycopene. For instance, blood oranges are red, but this coloring isn't coming from lycopene. Let's look at the lycopene foods list to get to know some of the best sources of lycopene:
As mentioned above, studies have shown that there is a different form of lycopene in yellow/orange tomatoes. This is what is called tetra-cis-lycopene. This form of lycopene appears to be more easily absorbed by the body, so you would do well to include yellow tomatoes in your diet as well!
- Red tomatoes
- Yellow tomatoes
- Red watermelon
- Yellow watermelon (lower in lycopene)
- Persimmon (lower in lycopene)
- Apricot (lower in lycopene)
- Red grapefruit
- Pink grapefruit
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Gac or gourd (a less common Southeast Asian fruit)
- Dried parsley
- Red carrots
What is lycopene good for? The health benefits of lycopene
- Lycopene and cancer prevention - The most crucial role lycopene plays in your body, is its antioxidant role. This means that it can help to reduce the cell or DNA damage caused by free radicals. Lycopene also helps to keep cell membranes healthy and strong, keeping the 'bad guys' out! This is why it is seen as your ally when it comes to cancer protection. Lycopene and prostate cancer protection have become almost synonymous. However, many other forms of cancer may also be kept at bay with a high enough intake of lycopene, among other phytonutrients.
- Lycopene cnd cardiovascular health - The effect of lycopene on free radicals not only offers cancer protection, but may also contribute to heart health. Lycopene can help to prevent LDL Cholesterol from being oxidized by free radicals, reducing the formation of plaque in your arteries.
- Lycopene can contribute to your bone health
- You may be able to protect eye health by increasing your intake of lycopene
- Lycopene could help to keep your skin looking younger for longer!
Making the most of your lycopene intake
Remember that lycopene is a fat-soluble phytochemical. This means that you will absorb it better if you add a bit of healthy fat when eating lycopene-rich foods or drinking juices with lycopene. This can mean combining tomato paste with oil in a dish such as spaghetti or simply having some coconut, nuts, celery with peanut butter or a piece of cheese with your vegetable juice.
Lycopene-For-Life Juice Recipe
3 Red tomatoes
2 Thick slices watermelon (wash before cutting)
1/2 Red grapefruit (never juice with skin)
4 Red carrots
2 Red apples
Shredded coconut, according to taste
- Discard carrot greens
- Wash all your ingredients (watermelon to be washed before cutting)
- Quarter tomatoes
- Cut watermelon slices into strips for juicing. If you wish and your juicer can handle it, you can juice these with the peel
- Halve or quarter guavas
- Peel grapefruit thinly, discarding skin. Retain white pith as far as possible
- Trim carrot ends
- Quarter apples. Don't peel, but discard seeds
- Juice all the ingredients, except coconut
- Pour over crushed ice and stir in some coconut for added sweetness
3 to 4 Medium
By now you will know exactly what lycopene is good for. Ready to do some shopping for the list of lycopene foods? I hope you will enjoy preparing more juices rich in lycopene!