Lycopene, Food Sources Rich in Lycopene
Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites
A Free Radical Fighting Antioxidant, Lycopene Food Sources
As researchers continue to explore the benefits of antioxidants, one in particular has risen to Public Fame: Lycopene.
Lycopene is the pigment that colors your watermelon red, your grapefruit pink and your tomato a deep crimson and it's believed to hold potent antioxidant powers.
In fact, many studies point to the antioxidant Lycopene as a tool in combating prostate cancer and heart disease, as well as being beneficial in maintaining good prostate health.
Antioxidants can also strengthen the immune system, as well as boost the body's overall level of health.
Such potent powers are available to us through foods rich in antioxidants such as Lycopene. Cooking releases Lycopene locked inside plant calls and also assists the body in absorbing and digesting the Lycopene. Good food sources include ketchup, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste.
Best Lycopene Food Sources
Lycopene is not produced by the body, thus must be consumed through the fruits and vegetables in the daily diet. Tomatoes are a chief source of Lycopene, but surprisingly - the Lycopene is better absorbed when consumed in processed or heated tomato-based products rather than in raw tomatoes.
Some of the best food sources* for Lycopene include:
The downside of the food sources rich in Lycopene is that most are notorious for triggering heartburn, particularly in individuals over 40, a time when health issues become more important than they may have been in the past for many individuals. Commonly, weight gain is responsible - or part of the Heartburn Equation.
Ageing in itself decreases the efficiency of the body and at times, contributes to weight gain because an individual continues to stick to the same eating pattern they have throughout life while the body may require a lower energy (calorie) intake.
In addition, individual activity level often slows down with age.
Weight gain or not - if you are experiencing heartburn or find difficulty in consuming foods rich in Lycopene, it's important that you speak with your doctor because of course, heartburn can lead to other health issues.
Lycopene-Rich Foods Compared
How Lycopene Levels are Determined & Lycopene Consumption Health Benefits, Including Lycopene Recommended Daily Intake
Lycopene levels are determined by the amount of Lycopene found in body fat. In one study, men who had low levels of Lycopene were twice as likely to have a heart attack than those who had higher Lycopene levels.
A 1995 Harvard University study involving almost 50,000 men, prostate cancer was slashed up to 34% when the subjects consumed 10 or more servings of tomatoes per week (6.5 mg daily).
Currently, there is no daily recommendation intake for Lycopene while a suggested level is between 5-10 mgs per day. In addition, there is insufficient data to determine overdose levels or any side effects that could be associated with such. To date, no adverse effects have been associated with high Lycopene consumption.
What are Free Radicals?
Free radicals are produced whenever the body cells burn oxygen for energy. The reason that free radicals are a high health concern these days is because they have the ability to damage cells. Powerful antioxidants such as Lycopene are a potent weapon against fighting free radical damage.
An easy way to counteract free radical damage is to consume foods that are high in antioxidants such as Lycopene because they work to neutralize them.
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