Lycopene is a phytonutrient found chiefly in tomatoes. The compound is an antioxidant that comes loaded with a bevy of health benefiting properties. Although, lycopene is essentially a pigment compound responsible for the red colour of tomatoes, it is not found in all red-coloured ingredients. Including fresh tomatoes in your daily diet may supply lycopene to your body providing a host of health benefits to the body.
Lycopene has long been associated with promoting skin health; besides this, its regular consumption is good for healthy bones, heart health and for supplying antioxidants to the body. Some of the most recently published studies also establish a link between lycopene and cancer prevention. According to a Cambridge study, tomato extracts may help relieve damaged arteries. Another study published in journal Live Science linked lycopene and reduced risk of kidney cancer.
"Inverse associations between tomato consumption and risk of gastric cancer were observed in all these diverse populations," noted another study published in Oxford Academic's Journal of National Cancer Institute. A team of Italian experts also studied the correlation between tomato consumption and reduced risk of stomach cancer. It was found that tomato extracts can have the ability to inhibit the growth and the multiplication of stomach cancer cells. The study suggests that tomatoes, as stomach cancer cell fighting agents, should be considered in their entirety and not only for a component that is found in them, namely lycopene.
"Their antitumoral effect seem not related to specific components, such as lycopene, but rather suggest that tomatoes should be considered in their entirety," said Daniela Barone, researcher at the Oncology Research Centre of Mercogliano (CROM) in Italy as reported by PTI.
"Tomatoes are rich in lycopene and anthocyanins. These help protect against vision loss, heart diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer (especially prostate)," as mentioned in Dorling Kindersley's Healing Foods.