<h3> DEFINITION</h3> Lycopene is a red pigment found in fruits and vegetables and is a member of the carotenoid family of chemicals.
<h3> DESCRIPTION</h3> Lycopene and beta-carotene are the most abundant carotenoids in the human body. Carotenoids are the pigments that give colour to fruits and vegetables. Many dietary carotenoids are converted to vitamin A in the body, but this is not the case for Lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, which means it protects the body against toxic, free radical chemicals that may contribute to premature ageing and the development of certain diseases, such as the formation of cancers. The intake of tomato-based foods (rich in Lycopene), especially processed tomato products, is associated with a significantly lower risk for prostate cancer.
The risks of breast cancer and cancers of the digestive tract, throat and nose may also be reduced by dietary Lycopene. Lycopene may also help prevent cardiovascular disease by blocking the production of cholesterol in the body. Lycopene may help reduce the damage to the skin caused by ultraviolet light during and after sun exposure. Exposure to certain types of UV radiation can cause damage to DNA (the genetic material of the body) and increase the risks of skin cancer.
<h3> PROPERTIES</h3> Lycopene is thought to have the following properties: - General immune stimulant. - Antioxidant. - Possible role in cancer prevention - in particular prostate cancer. - Ability to control damage from UV rays. Lycopene may reduce the damaging effects of UV radiation when the skin is exposed to the sun.
<h3> SOURCES</h3> The highest levels of Lycopene are found in fresh, ripe tomatoes; tomato juice; tomato paste and other tomato products, such as pizza sauce and tomato sauce. Lycopene is also found in watermelon, pink grapefruit, pink guava and papaya.<h3> DOSAGE</h3> There is no recommended daily dosage for dietary Lycopene, but nutritional studies have used dosages that range between 16.5 and 75 mg per day, which are considered safe levels. Many supplements contain Lycopene, often with other antioxidants, and the recommended dosages vary according to the product. Always follow the manufacturer's directions and those provided by your health care professional.