Fortunately, our foods are colourful and there are more than 600 natural pigments that are responsible for all sorts of colors of your food. Among the most popular are anthocyanin, beta carotene, alpha carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein and lycopene. While we often hear about beta carotene, lycopene is more rarely discussed. However, we should also consider about lycopene with its antioxidative property, which can have good contribution in eradicating free radicals from our body. Also, like other natural food pigments, lycopene should also work well to prevent the formation of cancer cells. It is essential to maintain an open pathway between cells, so our immune cells can eradicate cancer cells in their early forms. We should be able to expect significant reduction of risks, if we consume a diet rich in lycopene.
Regular intake of lycopene should help you to prevent breast, colon, stomach and lung cancer. You will be ptotected against various cardiovascular diseases as well. Lycopene may help you to boost the immune system. However, getting food ingredients that are rich in lycopene may prove to be a practical problem, unlike getting alpha carotene, beta carotene and other carotenoids in your foods. However, tomatoes should be common enough in many countries and lycopene gives them the red color. One extra problem is that lycopene can be eradicated by the cooking process and it’s a good idea if you are able to eat tomatoes raw. A cup of fresh tomato paste should provide you with about 75,000 mcg of lycopene. On the other hand, canned tomato juice could provide us with only 20,000 mcg of lyxopene.
Fortunately, a slice of watermelon could provide us with about 13,000 mcg of lycopene, also due to its reddish color. Based on the above figures, it is clear that tomatoes both in fresh and canned variants are still the best source of lycopene. Processed tomatoes can be made into soup and various kinds of dishes. However, you should consider that canned tomatoes may contain plenty of sugar and salt, so you should be careful when using them. Preservatives and food coloring can also be added to make the tomato paste still looks appealingly red after the cooking and canning process. It is a good idea to get tomatoes in their most original forms, so you are able to obtain the greatest amount of benefits possible.
It means that you can’t smother your food with ketchup and expecting that you get plenty of lycopene goodness. In fact, ketchup can be the worst form of processed tomato. The actual real tomato content may not be significant, but you will obtain unwanted substances, such as sugar, salt, preservatives, starch and artificial coloring. You should know what kind of carotenoid supplementation that you can get from your diet. It is a common sense to regularly add fresh tomatoes and watermelon to your daily diet. Thankfully, tomatoes are both cheap and tasty, so this is something that you can easily do and you will stay healthy.