After speaking in an earlier post of the perfect marriage between lycopene and extra virgin olive oil, we want to make it today about the many health benefits of this carotenoid. Lycopene has multiple antioxidant properties and acts to protect cells from the action of free radicals, which are mainly responsible for cardiovascular diseases, cancer and aging. In addition, it favors the regulation of the cell cycle and is even capable of reversing certain cancerous and prostate lesions.
The biological or physicochemical bases of the properties of lycopene are not exactly known, but they seem to be related to the high antioxidant power of this healthy pigment, which is much greater than other similar antioxidants such as vitamin E or β-carotene. . A large number of carcinogenic and degenerative processes are associated with oxidative damage on the genome and the genetic mechanisms of control of cell proliferation and differentiation. The lycopene would act as a powerful neutralizer of free radicals (oxide and peroxide) attenuating oxidative damage on tissues. All these antioxidant properties are enhanced when lycopene is ingested with extra virgin olive oil, due to the fact that it considerably increases the percentage of this carotenoid.
Among the main benefits of lycopene, we can highlight:
- Delays the signs of aging: it is able to prevent skin damage caused by the incidence of UV rays on it. In addition, it can reduce the risk of suffering from osteoporosis, at the same time that it favors the health of teeth and gums, due to its antibacterial properties.
- Prostate disease: a diet rich in lycopene, is closely related to a lower risk of suffering prostate cancer. Several studies agree that lycopene intake is related to a reduction in prostate-specific antigen levels (a protein that often occurs at high levels in patients with prostate cancer)
- Cardiovascular diseases: the consumption of lycopene significantly reduces the oxidation of lipids, and very particularly LDL (bad cholesterol), decreasing the risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.