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Red and Ready: The Link Between Lycopene and Optimal Health

2023-08-22
Nyelv:Portuguese (português)
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Meet lycopene, the maverick of the nutrient world! While most foods lose their vitality when subjected to heat or processing, lycopene confidently struts its stuff, flaunting its true potential. Found in vibrant red fruits like tomatoes and watermelons, this powerful antioxidant not only retains its potency but actually becomes more accessible to your body when cooked or processed. It is generally true that fruits and vegetables with more red and orange colors tend to have higher levels of lycopene. However, it's important to note that the presence and concentration of lycopene can vary among different fruit and vegetable varieties and even within the same variety due to factors such as ripeness, growing conditions, and processing methods.

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, playing a crucial role in protecting our cells from damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals. Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in the United States, said, “The shape of the lycopene molecule makes it very effective in being able to quench free radicals.”

In a study, it was found that taking lycopene supplements improved the way the endothelium worked in patients with cardiovascular disease. Their blood vessels widened by 53%. On top of improving endothelial function, research has shown lycopene can lessen cholesterol levels in our bodies.

Lycopene goes beyond its incredible bone mass benefits by offering a strong defense against cancer. By acting as a shield for our cells, lycopene prevents damage from harmful free radicals. Studies conducted in the lab have shown that lycopene can inhibit the growth of breast and prostate cancer, adding to its cancer-fighting repertoire.

Moving on to another fascinating aspect of lycopene, it also exhibits protective properties for the skin against the harmful effects of the sun. A daily intake of 8-16 milligrams of lycopene, whether obtained from dietary sources or supplements, can have a positive impact.

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