Source of antioxidants
In its natural state, lycopene is a fantastic source of antioxidants. It has been discovered that lycopene possesses twice the antioxidants that are found in beta-carotene. The effectiveness of the lycopene comes from its powerful antioxidants to maintain the thickness, strength and fluidity of your cell membranes, which are the protectors of other cells in your body. The cell membranes monitor everything that goes in and out of your cells. Allowing good nutrients in and deterring toxins can provide for stronger cell membranes that are important in preventing diseases. Lycopene also protects other structures in the body from oxygen damage.
Some of the noted benefits of taking lycopene are to prevent heart disease, atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries, along with breast, prostate, lung, ovary, bladder, pancreas and colon cancers. Some people with cataracts and asthma use lycopene as a treatment option and the supplement has been known to treat human papillomavirus or HPV infection. HPV can lead to uterine cancer.
In addition to most cancers, lycopene is also helpful in treating other conditions and illnesses such as preventing high LDL cholesterol and lowering triglycerides, helping with infertility, boosting sperm counts in men, plus the prevention of diabetes, aging of the skin and osteoporosis. It may even be effective in protecting the skin from sunburns.
Tomatoes - raw or cooked?
Raw tomatoes contain more than enough lycopene to reach your daily requirement. Surprisingly, processed forms of tomatoes such as ketchup and tomato soup, or cooked tomatoes enhance the effect of the lycopene making it easier for the body to absorb and use. The darker and redder the tomato is, the more lycopene it contains.
The tomato is the edible fruit from the plant (Solanum lycopersicum) commonly known as a tomato plant and is one of the most popular fruits in the world. Although most people consider it to be a vegetable, it is actually a citrus fruit. Americans alone eat about 80 pounds of tomatoes yearly. California is the largest grower of tomatoes but China is also considered one of the biggest importers. It did not become an important part of our daily diets until about the 1800s and since have been proven to provide many health benefits for our lives.
Aside from the lycopene, there are actually a total of four Carotenoids contained in the tomato fruit, along with vitamins A, E and C. A complete synergy of protection found in the tomato also includes lutein, alpha and beta-carotene that all work together to promote the health benefits of this one great fruit. The benefits, especially in the protection of cancer, has been found to be even more effective when cooked in or consumed with fat-rich foods such as olive oil, avocado and nuts because Carotenoids are fat-soluble.