We’ve all heard the saying, ‘An apple a day, keeps the doctor away’. But what if they’ve mistaken it for another fruit? Could it have been a tomato instead? What if the reason for tomatoes being so powerful, lies in a compound called Lycopene?
WHAT IS LYCOPENE?
If you have seen Lycopene gaining more attention recently, it is probably due to the fact that this superfood has been medically researched to provide a long list of health and skin benefits. So what is Lycopene exactly?
Lycopene is a phytonutrient, an anti-oxidant found in plants and for a very specific protective reason. This phytonutrient is responsible for protecting plants against a host of environmental damages such as pests, pesticides, toxins and even UV damage from the sun. They flush out harmful free radicals from the staying inside plants.
Lycopene is also a carotenoid, which helps plants to absorb light and protect chlorophyll from being damaged by UV rays. Now, imagine what it can do for the human body (except without the chlorophyll). Carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning, they are absorbed a lot better when consumed in fats such as Virgin Coconut Oil.
You can get Lycopene from consuming the reds of the fruit-vegetable rainbow, such as tomatoes, red cabbages, watermelon, grapefruit and even carrots. Tomatoes have shown to have the highest concentration of this compound.
BENEFITS OF LYCOPENE
- POWERFUL ANTI-OXIDANT
It’s everyone’s favourite A word! Boosting your anti-oxidant levels has been proven to be increasingly important to fight free radicals, which left unchecked, cause oxidative stress to your cells, tissue, organs, and ultimately your body health. It is also almost impossible to rid your body completely of free radicals given the environment and lifestyle we are exposed to today. But Lycopene comes to the rescue with its powerful anti-oxidant properties.
Anti-oxidants in Lycopene have shown to prevent damage caused by common pesticides found in our vegetables and produce. Pesticides such as dichlorvos are a cause for liver destruction while others like atrazine, destroy the adrenal cortex, which is responsible for human stress response.
These anti-oxidants are also beneficial when it comes to spinal cord injuries, which can lead to body paralysis. Anti-oxidants in Lycopene can specifically repair damage in the blood-spinal cord barrier. Other anti-oxidant benefits from Lycopene include treating mouth and vaginal yeast infections caused by imbalanced Candida bacteria levels.
- HELPS PREVENT CANCER
One of the biggest upsides to being a powerful anti-oxidant is its ability to lower the risk of cancers. Scientists have been actively studying the effects of Lycopene in slowing down the growth of tumours in breast and prostate cancer. Lycopene can interrupt signal paths that cause these tumours to grow. Results from a study carried out by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition spanning over 46,000 men show that there are significant risks reductions in participants developing prostate cancer.
Other forms of cancers where Lycopene can fight against include kidney and uterine cancer. Lycopene has the ability to stop the formation of renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of malignant kidney tumours. Recovery in individuals with HPV infection, which cause uterine cancer, are much faster when they consume more lycopene compared to individuals who do not.
- KEEPS EYES HEALTHY
Over time, our eyes give way to the signs of ageing. But with Lycopene, you can prolong the health condition of your window to the world! Lycopene is a strong eye vitamin that protects eyes from oxidative stress that cause common eye diseases.
It has the ability to even prevent or delay cataract development in a large majority of people, as studied by the folks at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. When it comes to macular degeneration of the eye which is often age-related, lycopene is an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory that stops or slows down chemical reaction in the eyes that can lead to blindness.
So we’d suggest keeping Lycopene close at hand if sight is something you’d like to keep in tip top condition.
- ALLEVIATES PAIN FROM NERVE DAMAGE
Neuropathic pain, specifically, is a complex pain condition caused by nerve damage and often accompanied by soft tissue damage, and it can be a debilitating condition to individuals with symptoms ranging from numbness, tingling, burning or sharp pains. Causes of neuropathic pain, or neuropathy, can be from alcoholism, amputations of the limbs and diabetes.
While there are methods which can help alleviate this pain, these usually stem from treating the related disease itself such as diabetes. Other methods include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, which are often not effective and temporary. Lycopene, on the other hand, has been tested specifically against diabetic neuropathy and possess antinociceptive or pain-inhibiting properties. It has a powerful potential to help relieve chronic pain.
- GOOD FOR YOUR BRAIN
Extensive studies have been conducted to explore Lycopene’s effect on neurological disorders. In preventing Alzheimer’s, it has the ability to correct cell corruption whilst protecting healthy cells. For individuals already suffering from the disease, lycopene helps to prevent future cell damage.
In the case of epileptic seizures, Lycopene helps in the recovery process by preventing permanent brain damage. It can also prevent future seizures from occurring and repair cellular damage from previous seizure attacks.
Researchers in China have looked into Lycopene’s ability to promote better absorption when it comes to learning and education. For those with learning and memory difficulties, these researchers have found that individuals who supplemented lycopene in a high fat diet benefited the most.
- GOOD FOR YOUR HEART
There is an ever increasing list of heart problems in today’s society that does not seem to shorten, given our crippling lifestyles. For this, Lycopene is highly recommended in preventing cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, myocardial ischemia (reduced blood flood to the heart caused by blockage in arteries) and atherosclerosis.
Lycopene is able to lower high blood pressure levels and applauded in its ability in preventing stroke. No wonder the Greeks have some of the lowest mortality rates from heart diseases in the world, thanks to all the tomatoes they consume!
- STRONG BONES
Another reason why we would recommend increasing your intake of Lycopene is its ability to reduce oxidative stress on bones. Our bones are not spared from the ravages of oxidative stress, and this stress often causes brittle and weak bones. Lycopene slows down cellular death and reinforces the cellular architecture of bones. Besides calcium, remember to always include Lycopene when it comes to keeping osteoporosis at bay.
- PROMOTES GOOD SKIN
Lycopene is not only beneficial for our body, it also has the ability to promote better skin! When we consume Lycopene, our body converts it into retinol. Retinol is a vitamin that is necessary to prevent the ageing of skin and can promote melatonin and collagen production. This keeps our skin “bouncy” and elastic, maintaining overall skin conditions.
Just like how Lycopene is important in protecting a plant from chlorophyll damage caused by UV rays, lycopene can also help protect our skin against these harmful rays. UV rays have been proven to cause premature skin ageing and is one of the leading causes of it. Lycopene supplements our skin cells with the ability to defend itself from this damage.
So there you have it! While these benefits are tempting enough for you to excuse yourself to a Bloody Mary drink everyday or have cooked tomatoes everyday, it is important to note that Lycopene is fat-soluble. This means it is better absorbed by the body in a fat such as our Virgin Coconut Oil for the best results.
It is best to look out for supplements with a fat content in it, like what is available here in COCOLAB. COCOLAB's ANH-Virgin Coconut Oil + Super Vitamin E Tocotrienols + Lycopene Softgels and Lycopene E Liquid combines what is necessary, so you can go easy on that tomato sauce. The softgels provide a travel friendly and spill-free option whilst the liquid is great for drizzling over salads or sauces. When taken consistently, these supplements produce immediate results which are not only rewarding but healthy to boot!
Browse our shop online at www.cocolab.my or a physical store near you for a lycopene solution of your choice today!