Lycopene is a carotenoid compound an organic pigment best known for giving certain fruits and vegetables their striking yellow, orange or red color. It is lycopene, for instance, which supplies the red pigment you see in tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit.
More important to our health, however, is lycopene's strong antioxidant qualities which help protect cells from damage from free radicals.
Lycopene has a unique molecular structure featuring multiple double bonds, which may help explain its special ability to neutralize free radicals. Lycopene is effective in attacking single-oxygen free radicals, and recent findings indicate it is an important part of our natural defense system.
Lycopene tends to concentrate in our bodies at higher levels than other carotenoids, especially in the testes and adrenal glands.
- Lycopene helps maintain good health.
- Lycopene, a carotenoid, possesses antioxidant properties which help neutralize harmful free radicals in cells.
- Lycopene promotes immune system health.
- Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant for promoting heart health.
- Lycopene supports prostate health.
- Lycopene supports a healthy pancreas.
- Lycopene supports colon health.
- Lycopene is a natural pigment made by plants and microorganisms.
- Lycopene is one of the major carotenoids in the prostate gland.
- Lycopene is primarily found in tomatoes, but amounts can be found in watermelon, pink grapefruit and guava as well.
- Free radicals are basically molecules with at least one unpaired electron, which makes them unstable. Lycopene donates electrons to oxygen-free radicals, thereby neutralizing them before they can damage cells.
- A major health benefit of lycopene is its ability to protect cells against oxidative damage. It extinguishes single-oxygen free radicals, traps peroxyl radicals, inhibits the oxidation of DNA, and in some cases obstructs the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
- Lycopene may support skin health. Skin aging is due partly to the creation of oxygen-free radicals and lycopene has the potential to neutralize them.
Diets high in lycopene have been proposed as a way to support the health of many organs, including the prostate and colon. More research is needed to uncover all of lycopene's benefits.
The name lycopene is derived from lycopersicon esculentum the species classification for tomatoes. But interestingly, the highest natural concentrations of lycopene are found not in tomatoes, but rather in watermelon.
Even so, the largest amount of dietary lycopene comes from tomato products. The best sources of lycopene in food are:
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