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Source of Antioxidants in Tomatoes: Lycopene

Lycopene is known as the red miracle of nature. The substance in many fruits and vegetables, which are healing sources, is indispensable for detox cures. Want to get to know lycopene closely with its benefits of disease prevention, immune system boost, and antioxidants? 

What Is Lycopene?

Lycopene is a substance that gives the red color to foods such as tomatoes, grapefruit, and watermelon. In addition to red, it also gives yellow and orange colors. Lycopene, which is a pigment, is included in the carotenoid family. These substances are produced only by plants, and animal species take and store this substance from plants in addition to being very beneficial for the body. Lycopene, which plays an important role in human metabolism, is known to be found in the skin, liver, testicles, and prostates. The benefits of lycopene, which is twice as antioxidant as β-Carotene, are countless. 

Where to Find Lycopene? 

Tomatoes rank first among the foods containing lycopene. It is the richest source of lycopene pigment in nature. In addition to tomatoes, apricots, watermelon, rosehip, and pink grapefruit it also contains a little lycopene. Lycopene is also found in tropical fruits, papaya, persimmon, strawberry, red pepper, pomegranate, cherry, and red guava. Fruits and vegetables have more pigments in their dried state.

Where's Lycopene in Tomato?

Lycopene is known to gain volume and increase as it is heated and heat treated. Therefore, tomato paste, ketchup, tomato sauce, and dried tomatoes contain more lycopene compared to raw tomatoes. This increase is quite critical. For example, 100 grams of tomatoes containing 3 grams of lycopene can reach up to 85 grams of lycopene when it becomes tomato paste. It is seen that more lycopene is released thanks to the cell wall that deteriorates during warm-up. The cooking process also facilitates the absorption of pigment in the intestines. Thus, the yield obtained from the substance increases at a high rate. It is said that lycopene should be consumed with oil. The oil also provides a lycopene increase above the heat treatment. A sauce with olive oil and tomatoes is both nutritious and preferable in terms of antioxidants. 

What Does Lycopene Do?

Experts state that women should take 6.5 grams of lycopene and men should take 12 grams of lycopene daily. Many advantages are gained for both disease prevention and healthy life when the need for daily lycopene is met regularly. Here are the benefits of lycopene: 

  • Lycopene helps prevent prostate cancer while also supporting an increase in sperm count and quality. 
  • It helps the elimination of free radicals in the body. It acts as a detoxifying antioxidant and is an ideal detox food.
  • It is protective against coronary heart diseases. 
  • It boosts the immune system. 
  • It is preferred for skin beauty and preventing aging effects. It has been determined to be preventive against skin cancer. 
  • It was found to have a risk-reducing effect on cancers such as breast, lung, and cervix cancers. 
  • It reduces the inflammatory process of diseases such as asthma. It reduces seizure frequency and relieves symptoms. 

We can say that products such as lycopene pills taken as lycopene supplements are not as useful as natural lycopene. Experts recommend taking lycopene naturally, directly from fruits and vegetables. In fact, organic tomato products provide more benefits than foods with chemicals and pesticides. You can add dried tomatoes to your salads, use tomato paste, and cooked sauces in your dishes to benefit from lycopene. You can increase lycopene intake by placing sauces such as ketchup on your table as well as cooking and consuming tomatoes with oil. Drinking tomato juice and preparing beverages and cocktails containing tomato juice can also be among the recommendations. 

Individuals may be intolerant to lycopene or allergic to lycopene. You should definitely consult a specialist physician if skin rash, eczema, cough, itching, and swelling of the mouth and tongue occurs immediately after eating tomatoes.