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Lycopene is an antioxidant which exists in various fruits and vegetables. Examples of foods which contain lycopene are tomato juice, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, pink grapefruit, guava, papaya, and watermelon. Lycopene benefits have to do with the impact lycopene has in the body. For example, lycopene benefits the body because it helps neutralize free radicals in heart disease, helps break down LDL cholesterol, improves the health of the skin, helps reduce cancer, helps reduce the symptoms of macular degeneration, and is safe and non-toxic to consume.
Free radicals are needed for purposes of energy metabolism and immune system functioning. If there are excessive free radicals present inside of the body, the excessive free radicals attack healthy cells, particularly the proteins and membrane lipids and this leads to various diseases. One of the lycopene benefits is that it helps in neutralizing free radicals involved in heart disease.
Another of the lycopene benefits is that it breaks down low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which in turn reduces the likelihood of heart disease. Usually, individuals with high levels of cholesterol do not have sufficient amount of liver enzymes to break down LDL cholesterol. Lycopene benefits such individuals because it can help break down the LDL cholesterol.
Improvement of skin health is a benefit that lycopene offers. For example, people are typically exposed to UV rays from the sun on a daily basis. Also, skin cells are exposed to radiation from the sun, from various kinds of pollution, and from some types of appliances used on a daily basis. As people get older, this takes a toll on the skin and age spots can occur. Lycopene benefits the skin because it limits the damage done by UV rays and radiation.
Its anti-cancer properties are a benefit that lycopene can offer. For example, doctors have found that tomatoes can interrupt the growth of tumor cells in the breast and prevent the spread of the tumors. Also, researchers have found that lycopene helps to prevent cervix, stomach, and skin cancers.
Reduction of symptoms of macular degeneration is an additional lycopene benefit. For example, there was a study which demonstrated that people who had lower lycopene levels in the body were more likely to experience age-related macular degeneration. Also, other studies have indicated that consumption of foods containing lycopene is highly correlated with reduction of incidences of macular degeneration.
Another benefit of lycopene is that it is reportedly not toxic and is safe. Typically, individuals can consume lycopene without experiencing negative side effects. Whether individuals consume foods with lycopene or whether they consume lycopene in supplement form, it is considered to be safe.