Lycopene is a natural compound and carotenoid that is mainly found in bright red fruits and vegetables. It has plenty of health benefits, including improving prostate, eye, brain, skin and heart health. Lycopene has not only been linked to many health benefits including disease prevention but also fighting many medical conditions, including heart and prostate problems.
When it comes to sex, most men feel concerned about the health of their love muscle, ignoring the heart is the number one muscle that needs to gain more attention. Without a strong healthy heart, you will not be able to perform well in bed.
In this article, you will learn 13 Lycopene benefits by supplementing it or consuming foods rich in it.
Here are 13 benefits of Lycopene
- Reduces Cancer Risk
Lycopene is linked to lowering risk of aggressive prostate cancer. It is believed that this is due to its strong antioxidant abilities because lycopene is not changed to vitamin A like most carotenoids in our bodies. Scientists believe that the antioxidant properties are enhanced which help reduce cell damage that leads to cancer. Lycopene may slow or stop the growth of cancer cells and help break down cancer-causing agents in the body.
- Decreases the risk of kidney damage
A clinical study showed that lycopene can reduce the cisplatin-induced kidney damage (a chemotherapy side effect associated with use of Cisplatin) – a potential natural remedy for cancer treatment induced side effect. It may be beneficial to include tomatoes and other foods rich in lycopene as part of prostate cancer patients’ diet.
- Improves Heart Health
Research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that in addition to its antioxidant properties, lycopene may have the ability to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels. A balance in LDL and HDL is important. Lycopene can help maintain good blood pressure which further reduces the risk of heart disease. Other studies found it reduces the risk of developing stroke.
- Boosts Skin Health
Long-term lycopene consumption is also linked with skin cancer prevention. Several studies show that people who included tomato paste in their diet daily experienced up to 40% less ultraviolet (UV) skin damage from sunlight than those who did not. Tomatoes can’t substitute sunscreen, however researchers have found that lycopene can provide a consistent level of skin protection, similar to a sunblock with SPF 1.3 protection. It is also believed that lycopene either in food or supplement form can reduce burning and irritation from the sun’s rays. Lycopene was shown to significantly boost levels of procollagen in the skin, which scientists believe has the potential to reverse skin damage caused by aging.
- Improves Fertility in Men
A recent study found that fertility can be improved in healthy young men by consuming 14 milligrams a day of lycopene.
- Helps Prevent Stroke
A study published in the Journal Neurology found that lycopene may help prevent strokes, particularly strokes caused by blood clots. They think this is due to the fact that lycopene reduces inflammation and improves cholesterol levels which are two factors that contribute to a stroke.
- Balances free radicals
A huge benefit of lycopene is that it is an antioxidant and protects the body from free radical stress. This can hurt DNA and other cell structures. Lycopene helps balance free radicals in the body and in doing so may offer protection against diseases, keep bones strong and healthy, help eyesight by delaying or preventing cataracts, macular degeneration, and other age-related eye disorders.
- Protects against Sunburn and UV damages
Although protective effects of lycopene against UV damage is limited, small studies found the carotenoid offer some protection against the damaging effects of the sun. In a small 12-week study, participants were given 16 mg of lycopene from tomato paste or a placebo and then exposed to UV rays. It was found that the tomato paste group experienced less severe skin UV damages than the other group. In another study, researchers found daily intake of 8–16 mg of lycopene, either from food or supplements, contributed to reduce UV skin redness by up to 50% following exposure to UV rays. The protection was even greater when lycopene was taken along with other carotenoids.
- Improves Eye health
In vitro and in vivo study showed Lycopene attenuates oxidative stress and reduces the risk of cataract development and macular degeneration, which often lead to blindness in older adults. It was discovered
Lycopene protects against experimental cataract development thanks to its antioxidant properties. The scientists conclude the compound maybe useful in therapy against cataracts.
- Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Most common thing we do when experience some type of pain is takin pain killer, which often cause side effects. Do you know you can replace the drug by Lycopene to reduce neuropathic pain caused by nerve and tissue damage? The carotenoid ameliorates neuropathic pain by upregulating or inhibiting pain signals in the brain. Next time you experience back pain and/or other related spinal painful reaction such as neck pain, migraines, headaches, or pain/numbness/burning/weakness in your hands, arms, legs or feet, consider increase your lycopene intake.
Lycopene has been shown to reduce pain to a degree similar to ibuprofen medication. Several studies have looked at its effects on nerve pain — which is traditionally very difficult to treat. The results are promising, showing significant levels of decreased pain and hypersensitivity from lycopene intake.
- Protects the Brain
Due to its antioxidant effects, lycopene may help prevent certain brain conditions such as seizures and memory loss caused by age-related diseases, mainly Alzheimer’s. Growing evidence shows concentration of lycopene is reduced in plasma of patients with Alzheimer disease (AD).
A recent study shows that elevated lycopene contributes to lower risk of developing Alzheimer disease. The findings suggest that increasing lycopene in neurons may be a novel approach to decrease the onset and development of Alzheimer.
- Supports Bone Health
Though the mechanisms are unclear, Lycopene’s antioxidant properties may slow down premature death of bone cells, strengthen bone architecture and help maintain bones healthy and strong. A small study published in 2016 showed Lycopene supplementation decreases oxidative stress and displays beneficial effects on bone health.
Some foods containing Lycopene or good for prostate health
Cooked or pureed tomato products may be better options. Drinking plain tomato juice each morning is another good option, just make sure to pick the types with low sodium. Look to products like tomato paste, spaghetti sauce and sun-dried tomatoes.
Broccoli is a vegetable that contains lycopene and is beneficial fresh or frozen. Studies suggest there is a link between the number of cruciferous vegetables and your prostate cancer risk.
- Green tea
Drink a cup of caffeinated or decaffeinated green tea each morning in place of your regular coffee. You can also use cooled tea as the liquid in your homemade smoothies. Green tea is a beverage that has been consumed for thousands of years. It has traditionally been a large part of peoples’ diets in Asian countries. Green tea may be the reason why prostate cancer rates in Asia are so much lower than in the United States.
- Legumes and soybeans
Lycopene can be easily added in your diet by eating in legumes, such as beans, peanuts, and lentils. Try eating legumes and soybeans and eat a vegetarian diet for one day each week and replace meat with the protein from beans. You can dip pretzels in a homemade hummus made with chickpeas.
- Pomegranate juice
You can buy pomegranate juice at most grocery stores and if drinking it plain is too intense for you, diluting it with plain water or add some to sparkling water. You can also add it to homemade salad dressing to sweeten up your favorite salad.
Foods that have the highest amounts of lycopene are guavas, tomatoes, grapefruit, papaya, red bell peppers, persimmon, asparagus (even though it does not have the trademark orange or red hue), red cabbage, and mangoes. To benefit from the antioxidant effects of lycopene, most researchers suggest consuming an equal to 10 servings of tomato products each week, which means 6-15mg of Lycopene daily. Doses vary when specific health conditions apply. Lycopene is known as one of the most powerful natural antioxidants, and because it is still effective when heated, it is easy to add to your diet through whether fresh, frozen, or processed.
Lycopene stabilizes free radicals and because of this, scientists believe that it may reduce the risk of developing chronic illnesses. Be sure to increase your intake of Lycopene to help you decrease your exposure to free radicals that cause chronic conditions.