What Is Lycopene and How Does It Benefit Our Bodies?

Gail Wicht Health Coach Life Coach

I was looking up the nutrient profile of grapefruit the other day because I have been adding it to my juices.
I felt really good consuming it so I wanted to know what was in it and share this information.

What I found is that it has lycopene in it. I remember reading about lycopene a while ago and most of the sources said that you can get it in tomatoes. They also said that you have to cook tomatoes to get the best benefits. 
I realised that someone just has to put some information out about one little nutrient and then everyone talks about it for a while until the next mineral is isolated and learned about. And then everyone is obsessed with that particular one and the former is forgotten about. 

But like the many minerals and vitamins spoken about, lycopene is an important one. And it is found in a lot of fruits and vegetables, not just tomatoes. Although it is more abundant in the tomato products that we use (tomato paste, sun dried, sauces, etc). 

What is Lycopene?

Lycopene is phytonutrient, which is an antioxidant found in plants. 

What is an antioxidant? 
Antixoidants are compounds found in plants that prevent or delay cell damage in our bodies. It’s like they stop us from rusting. They can help us prevent premature aging and illness. 

By consuming plants we help to prevent our cells from damaging and aging too fast. 
Lycopene is just one of many antioxidants that have been identified in the plant kingdom. 

However, it is one of the most powerful antioxidants and one that is really beneficial for us to consume. 

Benefits of Lycopene

  • helps protect the heart and prevent cardiovascular disease
  • protects the cells in the eyes from damage which helps to prevent eye diseases
  • helps to prevent and slow the growth of certain cancer cells such as prostate, breast and liver
  • a powerful antioxidant which can slow down the aging process

Top Plant Sources of Lycopene

  • tomatoes
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • papaya
  • guava
  • asparagus
  • mangoes

There are lycopene supplements, however I always like to get it straight from the food source. 

As long as you’re maintaining a healthy lifestyle with many of these foods in it, you’ll enjoy these benefits as well as the benefits of all their other vitamins and minerals. 

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