Lycopene is a natural carotenoid responsible for the dark red color in many different foods, most famously in tomatoes. It is one of the primary nutrients found in tomatoes that make them a favored super food amongst many doctors, nutritionists, and health enthusiasts. Here are 8 health benefits of lycopene:
Lycopene has been linked to studies involving lower risks of lung cancer and prostate cancer. Research shows that lycopene helps to prevent free radical damage to the cells and DNA, high risk factors known to contribute to the development of many types of cancer.
Lycopene is considered to be one of the most powerful antioxidants available, more effective than any other carotenoid, including beta-carotene. The antioxidant capacity of lycopene not only protects cells from oxidative stress, but actually strengthens cell membranes, which themselves guard cells from a variety of dangers.
Lycopene prevents oxidative stress to LDL cholesterol, which in turn helps to prevent hardening of the arteries, clogged arteries and other types of cardiovascular disease.
Lycopene may be essential to bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis. One study found that dietary lycopene helped to reduce oxidative stress to the bones and thereby reduced the risk of developing osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Preventing oxidative stress to the cells is essential in slowing the effects of aging and preventing wrinkles. Lycopene may also function as an internal sun block, protecting the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays.
Lycopene has been linked with the prevention of age-related damage to the eyes and conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Research has associated lycopene with an increased sperm count in men with low fertility rates.
Though studies are conflicting, lycopene has been associated with the prevention of diabetes. Research shows that it has also been helpful in treating the symptoms of type-2 diabetes. Lycopene is likely helpful to diabetics because they often experience increased oxidative stress and lycopene helps to combat that condition.