Lycopene is found in tomatoes, watermelon, asparagus, guava, grapefruit and red cabbage -- as well as the human blood, skin, liver, adrenal glands, lungs, prostate and colon. Researchers have long touted the antioxidant properties of this carotenoid, but Lycopene benefits
run far and wide.
Lycopene fights prostate cancer. German and Dutch scientists found that low doses of synthetic Lycopene and Vitamin E slow prostate tumor growth up to 73 percent. Lycopene alone was responsible for at least 53 percent of the slowing.
Lycopene works to prevent osteoporosis. University of Toronto researchers say Lycopene benefits the bones. Just 30 mg a day can help prevent osteoporosis, due to the way it decreases oxidative stress and bone resorption.
Lycopene has a significant effect on systolic blood pressure. Renowned for being “heart-healthy,” Lycopene supplementation is especially good for people who may not be able to eat grapefruits or tomatoes due to dietary concerns.
Lycopene protects the eye from glaucoma. Since Lycopene is considered an antioxidant, it accumulates in the eyes and helps prevent oxidative stress. More research is needed, but a 2002 article stated that Lycopene may prevent macular degeneration.
Lycopene lowers the risk of stroke. Last year, Finnish researchers found that men with the greatest blood Lycopene content had a 55 percent lower risk of suffering a stroke. They found that Lycopene was especially good at preventing blood clots.
“The shape of the Lycopene molecule makes it very effective in being able to quench free radicals,” explains Dr. Edward Giovannucci
, a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “We don’t really understand it entirely yet, but Lycopene
may have specific properties that protect the cell in a way other antioxidants may not.”
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