What is Lycopene? Lycopene Benefits and Lycopene Deficiency SymptomsFitness Gear & Equipment
Lycopene is a carotenoid which is responsible for natural pigment in red colored fruits and vegetables. For example, fruits and vegetables like carrots, watermelon, papaya and especially tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Tomatoes are extremely high in lycopene and they provide big antioxidants benefits to our health. Because lycopene acts as antioxidants it is helpful in reducing the effects of free radicals. Besides this lycopene plays other important roles in human health. It prevents the oxidation of cholesterol and reduces the chances of developing atherosclerosis. It is also helpful in preventing prostate, pancreas, stomach, breast, cervix and lung cancers. Lycopene also helps to reduce the chances of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. In addition, recent researches show that lycopene can be potential protection against male infertility and skin cancer as well. People who smoke and drink alcohol regularly need more amounts of lycopene in their diet. Low intake of fruits and vegetables can lead to lycopene deficiency.
Lycopene Deficiency Symptoms
Lack of lycopene in the body can lead to several chronic diseases. Not only lycopene but lack of any other carotenoids in the body for the longer time increases the chances of chronic diseases including heart disease and cancer. Low carotenoids in the body increase the chances of free radical damages. Therefore, over the long term, carotenoid-deficient diets may increase tissue damage from free radical activity, and increase risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancers.
More Lycopene Benefits
The main benefits of lycopene come from its antioxidants properties. Although, several carotenoids contain Pro-Vitamin A property and they convert by the body into Vitamin A, but lycopene unlike those carotenoids doesn’t contain Pro-Vitamin A activity. So, major benefits of lycopene are associated with its antioxidant properties and lycopene is a more effective antioxidant than other carotenoids. Lycopene plays an important role in preventing oxidative damage to the membrane lipids. By maintaining the integrity of the cell membranes, it helps to protect body from various diseases. Lycopene helps to suppress the growth of tumours. Also, lycopene prevents LDL cholesterol from being oxidized. In addition, it is also believed that lycopene does boost the energy levels as well.
Lycopene can be found in many fruits and vegetables. High amounts of lycopene can be found in tomatoes, pink grapefruits, watermelon, papaya, apricot and guava. Besides lycopene supplements are also available which are mostly made from tomato extracts. It is advisable to consult health professional before taking any supplements including lycopene supplements.