Most are interested in ways to improve their health. As an adult most people are concerned about their heart, but the threat of cancer is a major concern too. Some adults are under the impression that there is nothing to do but hope for the best. The truth is that there are ways to help prevent these conditions. Clinical trials are being are being completed that show how effective vitamins, pharmaceuticals, and dietary changes are in the fight against heart disease and cancer treatment. Some of those clinical trials have shown that consuming lycopene sources such as tomatoes or gac not only improves heart health, but also helps prevent some forms of cancer.
Where to Find Lycopene
Some fruits and vegetables with a red pigment are being called lycopene foods. These foods contain the phytochemical known as lycopene. Not all red foods contain this chemical, for example strawberries, while the rare fruit gac contains high levels of this caretenoid. Tomatoes are known to be excellent lycopene sources, containing as much as 131 micrograms of this wonderful supplement per gram of vegetable weight. Cooked tomatoes, such as those in pasta sauce, are rich in lycopene, and taste great. It’s important to remember that fat soluble nutrient, and should be consumed with some dietary fats in order to allow proper absorption.
Although over the counter lycopene pills are available, they may not be necessary for most people. Many foods with red, orange, or pink pigment already contain enough lycopene to offer therapeutic benefits. This phytochemical is responsible for the red pigment in many plants, which is why tomatoes are such a great source. It also gives watermelon, red grapefruit, and papaya their pigment. Although these examples don’t offer the kind of concentration tomatoes do, they are still a delicious option for anyone who enjoys fruits.
Some people might find it more practical or convenient to take a pill or supplement. Not everyone has the time to sit down during their lunch to eat one of the known lycopene sources. Anyone who decides to take a pill or supplement should talk to their doctor first. Although lycopene is known to be beneficial it’s important to consult with a medical professional before introducing any new chemicals that could interfere with other medication or dietary changes.
Lycopene Health Benefits
Known lycopene health benefits stem from its use as a powerful antioxidant. By helping decrease constriction of blood vessels around the heart and in the neck this powerful antioxidant can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. This is great news for adults in their mid forty’s to mid fifty’s. Fifty five percent of men with higher levels of lycopene in their body have a reduced chance of stroke or heart attack than those with lower levels. This means that consuming seven milligrams or more lycopene per day improves overall heart health by strengthening blood vessels.
One of the best benefits of taking a powerful antioxidant is the reduction of the risk of cancer. Men over the age of forty will be glad to hear that lycopene is known to have the potential to prevent prostate cancer. Consumption of lycopene has also been linked with a reduced chance of ovarian cancer in post menopausal women. It is also believed that cancer patients can reduce tumor growth in both brain cancer and breast cancer. A small study also confirmed that liver cancer cell growth was reduced or inhibited with help from lycopene treatment.
Along with the benefits to heart health and possible cancer prevention lycopene also shows indications of reducing photosensitivity. A small and highly qualified study allowed by the United Stated Food and Drug Administration showed that individuals that consumed one half cup of tomato juice or sauce per week showed thirty three percent less damage from the sun. Meaning that the pigment properties of lycopene actually help prevent skin damage from the sun.
Who Should Take Lycopene
The key benefits of lycopene come from its powerful antioxidant properties. This makes it a great way to improve heart health, and therefor overall health. Although heart health is of biggest concern to adults over the age of forty, there is no key demographic. This means that everyone can benefit from taking lycopene. There are many different sources of lycopene and most people consume them every day. Making a conscious choice to include lycopene rich foods is never a bad idea. The idea of making the choice to consume this powerful supplement is to prevent illness, or hopefully to treat some illnesses. Preventative care is something anyone can benefit from.
Although anyone can benefit, anyone over the age of forty will benefit most. Younger people in generally good health don’t have to make the effort to include lycopene in their diet, but there is no known detriment. Anyone over the age of forty should actively seek to increase lycopene consumption. Its known benefits will help improve overall health and aid in improving quality of life for many people that are at risk for heart disease, stroke, or heart attack.