Lycopene: a lipophilic carotenoid hydrocarbon pigment
Found in: red, pink, and orange fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, apricots, melons, papayas, grapes, peaches, watermelons, and cranberries
Properties: anticancer, antioxidant, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, improves sleeping behavior, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet aggregative, and antihypertensive action.
Be careful its excessive consumption can lead to lycopenemia and extra supplementation beyond fruits and vegetable can lead to disturbance in pregnancy.
Lycopenemia is a clinical condition characterized by pigmentation of the skin color from yellow to orange
Bioavailability: affected by dietary content.
Lycopene is a lipid-soluble substance, consumption with dietary sources of fat amplifies its bioavailability. Evidence support that lycopene bioavailability in heat-treated tomatoes is increased compared to fresh tomatoes and tomatoes grown in the field contain higher levels of lycopene than tomatoes grown in the greenhouse
Tip: combine tomatoes with olive oil
The chart below shows Lycopene content in food sources.
(Khan, U.M. et al., 2021).
Grabowska, M. et al. (2019) ‘Let food be your medicine: Nutraceutical properties of lycopene’, Food & Function, 10(6), pp. 3090–3102. doi:10.1039/c9fo00580c.
Przybylska, S. and Tokarczyk, G. (2022) ‘Lycopene in the Prevention of Cardiovascular Diseases’, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(4), p. 1957. doi:10.3390/ijms23041957.
Khan, U.M. et al. (2021) ‘Lycopene: Food sources, biological activities, and human health benefits’, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2021, pp. 1–10. doi:10.1155/2021/2713511.