Another study compared men who had had a heart attack with the same number of healthy men and found that those with high levels of lycopene appeared to reduce their risk of heart diseases by 50%. The study's coordinator, Lenore Kohlmeier, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the university of North Carolina, said, 'Based on our findings, and other research, lycopene can be an excellent antioxidant, we recommend that people eat tomato based cooked foods.
- Research by Dr. Joseph Levy and colleagues from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel, may have identified the unique mechanism through which lycopene protects against cancer which is by activating cancer-preventive phase II enzymes.
- Lycopene is an open-chain unsaturated carotenoid that imparts red color to tomatoes.
- Lycopene is a proven anti-oxidant that may lower the risk of certain diseases including cancer and heart disease.
- In the body, lycopene is deposited in the liver, lungs, prostate gland, colon and skin. Its concentration in body tissues tends to be higher than all other carotenoids.
- Epidemiological studies have shown that high intake of lycopene-containing vegetables is inversely associated with the incidence of certain types of cancer. For example, habitual intake of tomato products has been found to decrease the risk of cancer of the digestive tract among Italians.
- In one six-year study by Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, the diets of more than 47,000 men were studied. Of 46 fruits and vegetables evaluated, only the tomato products (which contain large quantities of lycopene) showed a measurable relationship to reduce prostate cancer risk. As consumption of tomato products increased, levels of lycopene in the blood increased, and the risk for prostate cancer decreased. The study also showed that the heat processing of tomatoes and tomato products increases Lycopene bioavailability.
- Ongoing research suggests that lycopene can reduce the risk of macular degenerative disease, serum lipid oxidation and cancers of the lung, bladder, cervix and skin.