Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant abundant in red tomatoes and processed tomato products, may help prevent prostate cancer and some other forms of cancer, heart disease, and other serious diseases. In a reader-friendly style, Unlock the Power of Lycopene highlights research that suggests lycopene may be beneficial as part of a balanced diet. This book will help readers appreciate the tomato by sharing its fascinating facts and history, and includes tasty recipes for tomato-based dishes.
Note! Medical conditions or problems should be discussed with your doctor. Good nutrition is not a substitute for medical treatments and a doctor's care.
Lycopene is an open-chain unsaturated carotenoid that imparts red colour to tomatoes, guava, rosehip, watermelon and pink grapefruit.
Lycopene is a proven antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which may damage the body's cells.
Research shows that lycopene in tomatoes can be absorbed more efficiently by the body if processed into juice, sauce, paste and ketchup. The chemical form of lycopene found in tomatoes is converted by the temperature changes involved in processing to make it more easily absorbed by the body.
In the body, lycopene is deposited in the liver, lungs, prostate gland, colon and skin. Its concentration in body tissues tends to be higher than all other carotenoids.
Regular high consumption of fruits and vegetables is recommended as part of healthy eating. Epidemiological studies have shown that high intake of lycopene-containing vegetables is inversely associated with the incidence of certain types of cancer. For example, habitual intake of tomato products has been inversely associated with the risk of cancer of the digestive tract among Italians. li>In one six-year study by Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, the diets of more than 47,000 men were studied. Of 46 fruits and vegetables evaluated, only the tomato products (which contain large quantities of lycopene) showed a measurable relationship to reduce prostate cancer risk. As consumption of tomato products increased, levels of lycopene in the blood increased, and the risk for prostate cancer decreased. The study also showed that the heat processing of tomatoes and tomato products increases lycopene's bioavailability.
Ongoing preliminary research suggests that lycopene is associated with reduced risk of macular degenerative disease, serum lipid oxidation and cancers of the lung, bladder, cervix and skin.
Studies are underway to investigate other potential benefits of lycopene - including the H.J. Heinz Company sponsored research at the University of Toronto and at the American Health Foundation. These studies will focus on lycopene's possible role in the fight against cancers of the digestive tract, breast and prostate cancer.

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