Lycopene might sound like some strange chemical, but it’s actually just the naturally occurring antioxidant compound that makes fruits and vegetables red in color. It’s one of many pigments, known as cartenoids, that fight damaging molecules that disrupt bodily cells.
Lycopene Food Sources
The very best sources of lycopene come from tomatoes and tomato products like tomato juice, pasta sauce, ketchup, and condensed tomato soup. In fact, about 80% of lycopene in the average American diet comes from tomatoes. But if you can’t stand the taste of tomatoes, there are plenty of other ways to reap these health benefits. Watermelon, pink grapefruit, and guava also have moderate amounts of lycopene. According to the American Cancer Society, combining these foods with a small amount of oil or fat increases the amount of lycopene absorbed by the intestines.
Research Studies on Lycopene
Researchers at the Agricultural Research Service studied lycopene levels in watermelon to determine how the body digests it and how its nutrition value compares to tomatoes. Watermelon is free of fat, yet full of vitamins A, B6, C, thiamin, and lycopene. The study found that the average watermelon contained about 40% more lycopene than raw tomatoes. “We think there are a lot of potential uses for watermelon that are just beginning to be explored. It can be a so-called functional food—one that can help” commented plant physiologist and researcher, Penelope Perkins-Veazie.
Increasing Your Lycopene Intake
Following this Harvard study, Dr. Edward Giovannucci recommended consuming at least 10,000 micrograms of lycopene per day. You can increase your lycopene intake by mixing sun-dried tomatoes in your bread dough, sipping tomato juice with meals, and eating a refreshing pink grapefruit for breakfast.
If you have trouble getting enough lycopene in your diet with fruits and vegetables, give our Lycopene-15 capsule supplements a try. Each capsule contains the lycopene equivalent of one whole tomato! And of course, our concentration method is 100% free of chemicals and solvents, so you won’t have to worry about ingesting unwanted ingredients while you reap the health benefits.