Lycopene is a naturally occurring carotenoid found in different fruits and vegetables. It is responsible for the red or pink color of fruits and vegetables in which it is located. As no organic compound in this Universe is without a purpose, Lycopene has several health benefits. Its controlled intake can prevent an individual from several diseases.
Where is Lycopene found?
Lycopene is found in fruit and vegetables that are abundant and readily available almost all over the world. Some fruits and vegetables with high amounts of Lycopene are Tomato and tomato products, Grapefruit, Guavas, watermelons, and papaya. At the same time, it is present in a small part in Asparagus, red cabbage, mangoes, persimmon, and red bell peppers.
Health benefits of Lycopene
There are many health benefits of Lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant. An antioxidant is used to neutralize and deal with free radicals present in the body, which would have otherwise contributed to several diseases.
The presence of an excessive amount of free radicals in a body can cause oxidative stress. This stress has been associated with many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
By keeping free radicals in a balance, Lycopene protects our body. Free radicals, as explained above, also contribute to heart diseases. But Lycopene, as a highly effective antioxidant, reduces the risk of heart disease.
According to a study, a suitable amount of Lycopene present in a body may protect against atherosclerosis( it increases heart disease risk). It also found that high levels of Lycopene in the blood result in fewer heart attacks in individuals compared to those with a small amount of Lycopene in the blood.
As an antioxidant, Lycopene prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol. And oxidized LDL contributes heavily to heart diseases. Furthermore, Lycopene is said to be effective against prostate cancer. According to a study, individuals with a high intake of Lycopene are less likely to develop prostate cancer.
Lycopene is also helpful in protecting skin from the sun, improving eyesight, and increasing bone strength. It also reduces the risk of breast cancer in women, which is a tremendous advantage because it is prevalent these days.
How to increase the intake of Lycopene?
Lycopene is found in fruits and vegetables that can be accessed quickly. To ensure a balanced intake of Lycopene, an individual must eat lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables and products made from the primary source. For example, tomato or its sauce, grapefruit or its juice, etc.
The other method is to take supplements of Lycopene in case of non-availability of the sources. A supplement can be a good and reliable source of lycopene intake as it is used worldwide and provides all the necessary benefits of the original products.
Why should supplements be used?
Our body needs many vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients for a healthy life. Due to unhealthy food intake, our body is not able to get enough essential nutrients. Supplements fill this gap in the diet and provide what is necessary for the body. Similarly, sometimes our body cannot produce the vital nutrients it is supposed to make. Therefore, supplements help us and aid our body with necessary nutrients.
Result of deficiency of Lycopene
The deficiency of Lycopene is bound to have an impact on our bodies. Because Lycopene is very important for the human body. The first significant impact of lack of Lycopene is a loss of an antioxidant. The importance and need of an antioxidant have been discussed above. So it can be said that its deficiency increases the risk of heart disease, eyesight weakness, and loss of bone strength.
Are there any side effects of Lycopene?
It is said that excess of everything is terrible despite the many benefits of Lycopene. When it is taken in an excessive amount, it causes specific problems. The most common of the issues caused by excessive intake of Lycopene is "Lycopenodermia." It is a disease in which the color of skin turns red like a tomato.
It may also cause specific stomach issues such as nausea, diarrhea, gas, and sometimes vomiting. But it should be kept in mind that it only happens in case of excessive intake of Lycopene.
The above discussion reveals that Lycopene can significantly impact an individual's life when utilized in suitable amounts. It has several benefits, but its practical nature in preventing heart diseases and prostate cancer is something very admirable. Fruits and vegetables containing Lycopene are widely available, and in case they are not available, people can use its supplements.