europa skin care : natural, organic & science-based skin care

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lycopene

Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant which protects and shields the skin from premature aging.

It also improves skin texture by increasing cell metabolism--that's the manner in which your cells grow and reproduce. This function keeps skin feeling and acting younger. In addition, lycopene strengthens skin by enhancing its ability to produce collagen and reducing the sun damage that causes wrinkles.

Lycopene (from the New Latin word lycopersicum for the tomato species name) is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas (but not strawberries or cherries). Although lycopene is chemically a carotene, it has no vitamin A activity.

Lycopene is a carotenoid present in human serum and skin as well as the liver, adrenal glands, lungs, prostate and colon. Lycopene has been found to possess antioxidant and antiproliferative properties in animal and laboratory studies, although activity in humans remains controversial.

Numerous studies correlate high intake of lycopene-containing foods or high lycopene serum levels with reduced incidence of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and macular degeneration. However, estimates of lycopene consumption have been based on reported tomato intake, not on the use of lycopene supplements. Since tomatoes are sources of other nutrients, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium, it is not clear that lycopene itself is beneficial.

Good Sources of Lycopene
The brighter the better. Pink, orange, and red fruits are generally rich in lycopene. For a lycopene boost, consider:

  • Watermelon
  • Tomatoes, tomato juice, and tomato sauce
  • Papaya
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Guava

Tip: It's easier for your body to absorb lycopene from tomatoes that have been cooked, canned, or otherwise processed. Adding a little bit of fat helps as well, so cook your tomatoes with a splash of heart-healthy olive oil.