Lycopene is a non-essential nutrient that is in the same family as beta-carotene and lutein. It is the substance that gives tomatoes and several other fruits their deep red color. Attention has been focused on lycopene for its potential use in preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and for its potential immune boosting properties. Lycopene is a proven antioxidant. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, which may damage the body's cells. Research shows that lycopene in tomatoes can be absorbed more efficiently by the body if processed into juice, sauce, paste and ketchup. The chemical form of lycopene found in tomatoes is converted by the temperature changes involved in processing to make it more easily absorbed by the body. 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 is inversely associated with the incidence of certain types of cancer.
May reduce the harmful effects of cholesterol, which in turn can decrease the risk of atherosclerosis
Lycopene deficiency is related to a higher risk of macular degeneration, an eye disorder that can lead to blindness
Strong inhibitor of prostate cancer, colon, cancer, and heart disease