Fruits and vegetables contain lots of antioxidant molecules, molecules that can control free radicals and thus help prevent cell damage. One of the well-known antioxidant molecules is lycopene or one of the best super foods. Already know what lycopene is?
Lycopene is the pigment that gives various fruits their red or pink color, such as tomatoes and watermelon. As a plant substance, pigments have a number of health benefits. These benefits include relieving sunburn (sunburn on the skin) and maintaining a healthy heart. Lycopene is an antioxidant molecule, so it can ward off excess free radicals in the body. Excess free radicals can trigger oxidative stress, thus damaging cells and causing various diseases. In fact, some animal studies have found that lycopene may also protect the body from damage caused by pesticides, herbicides, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and some types of fungi.
Lycopene does more than just “dye” tomatoes. This pigment also offers a number of health benefits. The following are the benefits of lycopene that should be recognized:
Ward off cancer cells
Lycopene has an antioxidant effect. With this effect, lycopene has the potential to prevent or slow down the growth of certain cancer cells. Observational studies in humans have found that consumption of carotenoids, including lycopene, can reduce the risk of lung and prostate cancer by 32-50%.
Maintain heart health
Lycopene can help maintain heart health in several ways. First, the antioxidant effect of this pigment can control excess free radicals, which are also harmful to the heart. Second, lycopene can reduce levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), and vice versa also increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL). In a study published in the journal Critical Reviews In Food Science, the effect of lycopene is beneficial for groups that have low blood antioxidants or experience high oxidative stress. This group includes the elderly, diabetics, or people with heart disease.