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Lycopene

 

Lycopene is a naturally occurring antioxidant which gives fruits and vegetables their red colour. Like all antioxidants, lycopene can help to protect your cells from damage. While lycopene is not considered an essential nutrient, it can play an important role in helping you to achieve the best possible health. At this stage researchers are still working out what role lycopene plays in the body and how it can be used to help treat or prevent a range of medical conditions and diseases such as prostate and breast cancer.

 

 

Sources
Lycopene is found in fruits and vegetables that have a red colour, including:

  • tomatoes (and tomato products such as tomato juice, sauce or paste),
  • watermelons,
  • pink grapefruit,
  • papaya,
  • apricots, and
  • guavas.

 

Tomatoes are the best source of lycopene, although all of these other foods are also good sources. Eating lycopene-rich foods together with a small amount of oil or fat helps to increase the amount of lycopene absorbed by your body. Cooking does not destroy the lycopene and may actually make it easier for your body to use.

 

Lycopene is also available as a supplement although it is unknown whether the body absorbs this as well as it does lycopene from food.

 

 

Safety
There are no known side effects from consuming lycopene from food, however, the potential side effects of lycopene from supplements are not yet fully known and no safe dosage range for lycopene has been set.

 

 

Disclaimer
The content displayed on this webpage is intended for informational purposes and is a guide only. It does not replace or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Information contained on this webpage must be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional before making any decisions or taking any action based on the content of this webpage.

 

Sources

American Cancer Society

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/dietandnutrition/lycopene

 

National Health and Medical Research Council

http://www.nrv.gov.au/chronic-disease/micronutrients-dietary-fibre

 

NYU Langone Medical Centre

http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21805