January 14, 2019

Lycopene in food and its health benefits

Lycopene is an intermediate in the biosynthesis of all dicyclic carotenoids, including β–carotene.

It is estimated that more than 80% of lycopene consumed in the United States is derived from tomato-base products, although apricot, guava, watermelon, papaya and pink grapefruit also provided a dietary source.

Lycopene appears to be relatively stable during cooking and food processing. Lycopene is responsible for the characteristics red color of tomatoes and tomato-based foods. In the reddest strains of tomatoes, lycopene concentration is close to 50 mg/kg, compared with only 5 mg/kg in the yellow strains.


Lycopene may play an important protective role against coronary heart disease. In one study, 19 young men followed a diet based on tomato products and experience a significant increase in blood lycopene level together with a reduction in circulating level of LDL-cholesterol.

Lycopene is a more potent scavenger of oxygen radicals than other major dietary carotenes, and it exerts additional anticancer effects. In one –six-year study men who ate two or more servings of tomato products a week reduced their risk of prostate cancer by up to 50 percent.
Lycopene in food and its health benefits
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