Lycopene is a robust carotenoid and phytonutrient that does not get much attention, but it should. Lycopene contains powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties offering significant health benefits to people who consume it.
Most orange, red, and pink fruits and vegetables contain this carotenoid, such as red tomatoes and pink grapefruits. Although you can consume canned fruits and vegetables for their lycopene, it is better to consume fresh produce because the skins and seeds contain the highest levels of lycopene.
Alternatively, you can find premium quality lycopene supplements in nutrition, vitamin stores and on Amazon.
Health Advantages of Consuming Lycopene
Lycopene offers numerous health advantages for your body’s physiological systems, including the skin, eyes, and heart. Let us explore the top six health advantages below:
1) A Powerful Antioxidant
Lycopene is a robust plant-based antioxidant that stimulates the health and vitality of cells and helps prevent the oxidation of lipids, DNA, and proteins in the body. It reduces oxidative stress by eradicating free radicals and promoting cellular harmony to sustain the body’s health and wellness.
2) Improves Heart Health
Research studies have found evidence linking lycopene consumption to better heart health. The participants of these studies saw an increase in cardioprotective health benefits after consuming tomatoes and other tomato-based products. These benefits included better LDL-cholesterol levels, blood flow, and cytokine levels. In addition, the participants that consumed lycopene supplements had better systolic blood pressure.
3) Better Skin Health
Many skin care products contain lycopene as a primary carotenoid ingredient because the antioxidant naturally exists in plasma and skin. Research studies suggest that consuming lycopene as you age can help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of natural aging.
Another benefit of lycopene consumption is that it helps protect the skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun. Of course, you should still add sunscreen to your skin before exposing yourself to excessive sunlight, but consuming regular doses of lycopene can add even more protection.
4) Improved Eye Health
The beta-carotene in carrots is not the only beneficial carotenoid for good eye health. Lycopene is another beneficial carotenoid for eye health because of its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to reduce oxidative stress. These benefits both support healthy eye function.
5) Boost Brain Health
Research studies found evidence linking several carotenoids, including lycopene, to neuroprotection and brain health. The antioxidant properties in lycopene can stimulate memory and cognition in the brain and reduce oxidative stress on brain tissue.
6) Better Bone Health
We have all been told that calcium and vitamin D are essential for strengthening bones and skeletal health. But you may not realize that lycopene helps stimulate bone health as well. Vitamin D is also very helpful for fighting HPV infections.
Several nutritional studies revealed that consuming high amounts of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can increase bone mineral density and mineral content levels over time. These bone health benefits are significant for aging people to keep their bones strong.
How Much Lycopene to Consume
The best dietary sources of lycopene include virtually all red or pink-skinned vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, blood oranges, red carrots, red peppers, red cabbage, and pink grapefruits. You can also choose standalone lycopene supplements or specific multivitamins for daily lycopene intake.
Health experts recommend consuming between 8 to 21 milligrams of lycopene daily. No adverse side effects have been discovered from daily lycopene consumption. But you should consult your primary care physician if you are taking any medications because lycopene may interfere with the effectiveness of some medications.
Overall, adding antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables comes with several other health benefits. Lycopene is just one of the many health benefits associated with them.