Among fruits there is one that helps prevent prostate problems, cardiovascular disease and lower cholesterol: Tomato. its lycopene content is a free radical scavenger. A diet containing all the nutrients can help prevent disease and even improve life expectancy. Therefore, many nutritionists recommend eating with “all the colors of the rainbow,” a metaphor for what would be a complete and balanced diet.
Institutions such as the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized the benefits derived from increased consumption of plant foods. This group, in addition to supplying nutrients, contain bioactive compounds with physiological health effects, for example, antioxidants.
The beneficial properties of Tomato and lycopene
Nutraceuticals are natural ingredients in food. They have health benefits beyond their traditional nutritional properties, either in the prevention and / or treatment of diseases. These phytochemicals include flavonoids, monoterpenes, isothiocyanates, carotenoids and phytosterols, among others.
The -carotenoides are natural pigments synthesized by plants. Although its importance has focused on those with vitamin A, presently other carotenoids, such as lycopene, a compound found in tomates, have attracted interest for its many properties.
Lycopene is a carotenoid pigment that is not converted into vitamin A. It is responsible for the red color in tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit.
Two nationwide surveys showed that only 4.8 percent of the population consumes five servings of fruit and vegetables, which is equivalent to 12 ounces recommended by WHO. The average number of servings consumed per capita in the United States is less than 2 servings per day.
Absorption of carotenoids in the diet depends on multiple factors. Since usually are concentrated within the food matrix, release is required to be absorbed. The two main factors affecting the absorption of carotenoids are the presence of oil and dietary fiber.
Once in circulation, lycopene is concentrated in certain tissues such as testis, prostate, adrenal glands, and kidneys.
Many chronic diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are associated with cellular oxidation processes mediated by free radicals. When acting on fats, free radicals in these membranes generate damage. When free radicals attack proteins, they cause oxidation of amino acid, whereas when they do on genes, mutation and carcinogenesis is observed.
Most of the benefits derived from its ability to “capturing” free radicals.
There is evidence of an inverse association between lycopene intake and the development of certain cancers. This is especially strong for prostate cancer. The mechanisms behind the inhibition of carcinogenesis are increased detoxification systems and interference with cell proliferation and cell cycle inhibition.
Ischemic heart disease is a major cause of death worldwide. Oxidative stress induced by free radicals on LDL cholesterol plays a central role in the pathogenesis of arterosclerosis. Lycopene prevents oxidation of LDL cholesterol.
Prostate carcinoma is the most prevalent cancer in men. While it is possible to detect it early, they are essential strategies for prevention.
There is evidence that lycopene inhibits progression of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer reduces levels of markers such as PSA. Its effect on androgens include actions that generate prostate growth.
Tomato an ally to prevent prostate cancer. Every month new studies reveal benefits of consuming more lycopene. This element found in tomatoes and its derivatives (also available in capsules assuring RDA) is very helpful in preventing prostate cancer. The latest research concluded that consuming it reduces by 18 percent the risk of developing this cancer.Lycopene is an element that helps to perform photosynthesis, which is an essential process for plants and also for humans, since oxygen is clean and renovated daily.
LYCOPENE IN ACTIONHow does tomato and licopene help prevent prostate cancer? This question began to be answered in the 70s and still continues to develop the explanation. Studies showed that tomato consumption has protective effects against prostate cancer, primarily for their high lycopene concentration.
To clarify the importance of this substance, doctors have used it as a drug that enhances the beneficial effects of treatment for prostate cancer. That is, post surgery patients who consumed lycopene showed better and faster progress. Lycopene has an active action to prevent the formation of free radicals which damage cellular DNA and cause the onset of cancer. In turn, this substance is present in prostate cells, which may explain the great benefit that it has to prevent cancer in the body.
How much to consume? Scientists have not yet determined a number, but have recommended eating tomato at least five times a week, preferably cooked, because heat releases this substance and increases its concentration. Besides the existence of dietary lycopene based supplements is recommended to help those who wish to obtain maximum benefits.
Source: research conducted by the universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford.