Lycopene’s Health Benefits

Recent studies suggest that a diet rich in tomato products (one of the best sources of lycopene) is strongly linked to a healthy immune system, as well as prostate health. Lycopene, the compound that gives tomatoes their red color, may also benefit heart health in men by boosting the body’s natural antioxidant defenses and protecting against DNA damage, according to a new study.

Participants of the study who took 15mg of lycopene per day had a reduction in systolic blood pressure and a decrease in levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). CRP is a marker of inflammation in the body and is reported to be an independent predictor of cardiovascular-related events.

Aside from supplements, food sources of lycopene include tomatoes (highest in cooked tomato products like tomato sauce), red carrots, pink grapefruit, red oranges, papaya, and watermelon. More recently, orange heirloom  “tangerine tomatoes” have shown to even have higher concentrations of lycopene than red tomatoes.

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February 2011
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