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Lycopene – A Popular And Powerful Antioxidant
Lycopene is a member of the carotenoid group of compounds and appears red in color in many foods such as tomatoes. Lycopene is widely known as a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene is found in some fruits and vegetables. Lycopene content is found mostly in pink guava, tomatoes, pink grapes, papaya, rosehip and watermelon. It is suggested that lycopene is more beneficial when more food containing lycopene is taken. Lycopene is the most effective form compared to other carotenoids like beta-carotene.
The antioxidant activity of lycopene is found to be effective in the maintenance of energy, water flow and thickness of the cell membrane. The parts of the cell, watch them and check everything that goes in and out of the cell. Nutrients are allowed to enter the cell through the cell membrane while cellular waste is removed. Toxins are prevented from entering the cell. Many diseases are prevented by healthy and strong cell membranes.
Lycopene is especially useful to prevent many forms of cancer and helps in the treatment of many diseases and illnesses. Lycopene is known to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol by free radicals so that cholesterol is not stored in the arteries and reduces arterial blood flow. Research studies on infertility have shown that lycopene helps in the treatment of infertility. Some of the tests show that the concentration of sperms in men is enhanced by lycopene. Diabetes can be prevented by lycopene. Lycopene is also considered to prevent skin aging, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Lycopene acts as an internal sunscreen and protects the skin from sunburns. Osteoporosis is prevented by lycopene.
Lycopene is used as a dietary supplement and is available either by itself or mixed with other substances in mixed formulations. It comes in an oil-based form or a soft-gel form. Any side effects due to consumption of foods rich in lycopene or lycopene dietary supplements have not been reported. Tomato extract is a popular natural lycopene supplement that sells a lot.
In a recent conference, a researcher from the University of Toronto was explaining the role of lycopene as an antioxidant. The researcher explains that this antioxidant will prevent free radicals from damaging new bone formation after age causes bone loss. Another researcher is stressing the effect of lycopene on the prevention of UV-induced skin damage.
Some research studies have reported that the benefits of lycopene are greater in areas where lycopene concentrations are higher in the body such as in the prostate gland. There is one research report that patients took 15 mg. of lycopene supplements for three weeks before surgery to remove the prostate gland showed an improvement in cancer intensity and their PSAscore also decreased. Vitamin research also shows that higher levels of lycopene and beta carotene can protect the body from breast cancer. Animal research has shown that lycopene is beneficial in preventing the development of breast cancer. Lycopene is found to be protective against heart attacks and in the form of tomato paste is found to be helpful in preventing the development of cardiovascular disease. It is the opinion of nutritionists that lycopene is best absorbed when tomatoes are heated with olive oil. Lycopene according to some studies has shown that it is beneficial for reducing the risks of bladder cancer, lung and pancreatic cancers.
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