Lyco what? Lycopene is a carotenoid and phytonutrient found in fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, grapefruits, papayas and tomatoes. It is the compound that gives these food their colour. ( I swear I learn something new everyday just by blogging and I am so glad to share this new info with you'll :))
Numerous studies have shown that this compound has many health benefits including lowering heart disease and cancer risks. Women who had high levels of lycopene in their bodies reduced their risk of cervical cancer by up to 5 times.
It also has an antioxidant effect. It is a common ingredient in anti aging creams and lotions. The human body can't produce lycopene thus it has to be absorbed from food sources.
Best sources of lycopene is by ingesting tomato products. Processed tomato has higher levels of lycopene than raw tomatoes as the cooking process makes the lycopene readily available for absorption (yay!! finally something processed is good for us!).
An interesting fact is that people who had tomato juice with olive oil had 40% higher concentrations of lycopene in their blood than those who drank the juice alone. Lycopene is better absorbed in the presence of oil.
Drizzle EVOO on red sauce or add it to lycopene rich foods like spinach and asparagus while cooking...