Lycopene – health itself, why overpay?

Consuming tomato products reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease. 

There are more and more data that prove beneficial for health effects of consumption of lycopene – a substance belonging to carotenoids, occurring in large quantities in tomato products. Lycopene is a natural dye that gives tomatoes their red color. It is present in fresh tomatoes, but its absorption in the gastrointestinal tract is much more effective when eating tomatoes in processed form. Lycopene, like beta-carotene, belongs to carotenoids with antioxidant properties. Antioxidants (antioxidants) are substances in the body that are designed to protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. In this way, they reduce the risk of various diseases. 


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Currently, the results of two extensive clinical trials are available, the authors of which show that the use of a richly lycopene diet reduces the risk of heart disease and prostate cancer. Six-year research involving 48000 men, health care workers at the Harvard Medical Academy, found that people who consume tomato products more than twice a week are 34% less likely to develop prostate cancer.

The authors of another study at the University of North Carolina compared 1379 patients from the United States and from Europe with a heart attack with the same number of healthy people. The results of their research show that the risk of getting high in lycopene in the body is about half as high as in the average population. There is also evidence that lycopene can inhibit ocular degeneration, which is the most common cause of blindness in people over the age of 65. 

The available data indicate that lycopene shows a much stronger antioxidant effect than beta – carotene (probably almost 2.5 mg). Research conducted by Yaov Sharoni and Joseph Levy at Ben-Gurion University and at the Soroka Medical Center also testify that lycopene is a substance that causes a much greater delay in the succession of subsequent growth phases in the cell cycle than both alpha and beta carotene. 

Lycopene is not produced by the human body, but can be supplied in the diet. The results of the research of Dr. A. Venket Rao from the University of Toronto prove that lycopene is better absorbed from processed products such as ketchup, soups, juices and other than from fresh vegetables. Dr. Rao explains that “Under the influence of temperature, lycopene contained in tomatoes is transformed into a chemical form in which it is much better absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract into the body. (trans-lycopene) 

Studies by Gartner seem to confirm Dr. Rao’s reports and prove that the bioavailability of lycopene contained in tomato paste is 2.5 times greater than the bioavailability of lycopene contained in fresh tomatoes. 

Dr Clare Hasler, Director General of Nutrition Programs at the University of Illinois, says: “For many years nutritionists have emphasized the benefits of eating fresh vegetables, but it turns out that processed products perfectly meet the demand for vegetables and fruits while protecting against development a number of different diseases. Processed tomato products play a special role in this aspect by providing large quantities of perfectly absorbable lycopene. In the American diet, 85% of lycopene comes from processed tomato products. Other sources of this substance are watermelons, guava fruit and red grapefruit. 

More and more scientists dealing with health problems recommend using a diet rich in tomato products. They should be included in the group of products recommended in healthy nutrition. The following is the lycopene content in some vegetables and fruits Products containing a large amount of lycopene. 


The average content of lycopene in 100g of the product. 

Tomato ketchup 12 mg 

Pasta sauce 15 mg 

Preserved tomatoes 8 mg 

8 mg tomato soup 

Tomato juice 8 mg 

Watermelon 4 mg 

Red grapefruit 4 mg 

Fresh tomatoes 3 mg 


Lycopene is a chain, open carotenoid that gives red color to tomatoes, guava fruit, watermelon and red grapefruit. It has been proven that lycopene has antioxidant effects, which reduces the risk of certain diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. The results of the conducted research prove that lycopene contained in tomato products, such as ketchup, spreads, sauces and juices, is better absorbed by the body than lycopene contained in fresh vegetables. This is due to the fact that the food processing process under the influence of temperature changes to the natural form of lycopene to a better absorbable form. In the human body, lycopene undergoes storage in the liver, accumulates in the lungs, the prostate gland, the wall of the large intestine and in the skin. The concentration of lycopene in the blood is higher than the concentration of other carotenoids. Regular consumption of fruit and vegetables is recommended as part of a healthy diet. Epidemiological studies show that the intake of richly lycopene vegetables and fruits is inversely proportional to the incidence of certain types of cancer and heart disease. Six-year research involving 48000 men, health care workers at the Harvard Medical Academy, found that people who consume tomato products more than twice a week are 34% less likely to develop prostate cancer. The results of a study at the University of North Carolina, in which the authors compared 1379 patients from the United States and Europe with a heart attack with the same number of healthy people, proved that the risk of developing high lycopene is approximately half that of the average population. 

And that would be the end but I wanted to add a small detail, because many people on the forum are biased to a tomato concentrate and I think that it is the most concentrated and best-flavored source of lycopene. We should consume it as much as possible (provided it is “free of sodium benzosenshen and other rubbish!) pasta, rice, porridge, salads, fish (herring in tomatoes or fish in Greek). 


You can read also: Lycopene – how does it work and where to find it?