Lycopene is a plant nutrient from the carotenoid family with antioxidant properties. It’s the pigment that gives red and pink fruits, such as tomatoes, watermelons and pink grapefruit, their characteristic color. Due to its antioxidant properties, lycopene has shown to be beneficial in certain cancers (1). An “antioxidant” is what protects your body from free radicals which are compounds that can damage our healthy cells and tissues. For example, those who had higher lycopene intake were noted to have a reduced risk of developing prostate cancer (1). Lycopene may also help to reduce heart disease risk factors by reducing inflammation (2) as well as lowering triglyceride and “bad” LDL cholesterol but raising the HDL “good” cholesterol (3). Those with asthma who consumed lycopene were observed to have improved lung function and reduced exacerbations (4). Overall, lycopene has shown to be beneficial for reducing oxidative stress in the body and thus protecting us from some harmful chronic diseases.
Lycopene should be taken as recommended by a healthcare professional to assess if appropriate for you.