So many articles about the benefits of Lycopene in tomato paste are published on the internet that the mere mention of the word would immediately make people think of the heart and health. However, how much do we really know about it?
What is Lycopene?
Lycopene is a chemical belonging to the carotenoid family that is commonly found in tomatoes and other red-coloured fruits and vegetables. It is considered highly beneficial to the human body. According to numerous studies made, tomato paste and other tomato-based foods have high amounts of lycopene that is easier to digest and used by the body.
Some leafy vegetables contain this chemical but among the fruits and vegetables, the tomato has the highest Lycopene concentration. Other nutrients are lost during preparation and cooking, however, lycopene concentration is higher when the tomato is processed using heat.
How does Lycopene Work?
Lycopene works as an antioxidant that helps repair and rejuvenate damaged cells. Earlier findings have shown that high amounts of this chemical in the blood can help reduce the risk of the following:
- Atherosclerosis (arterial calcification)
- Gingivitis and pyorrhea
- Human Papilloma Virus-related infections in women
- High cholesterol in middle-aged men and women
- Fertility issues in men such as low sperm count, low sperm quality and weak ejaculation
- Menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and mood swings
- Pancreatic cancer
- Pelvic pain in men due to swelling prostate
The body’s daily requirement depends on the individual’s health condition, age and other factors. A ¼-cup (60ml) of tomato sauce has about 9mg of Lycopene and 125ml of Spaghetti sauce has approximately 28mg. Overconsumption of Lycopene can cause the skin to turn orange or red but it is non-toxic and disappears over time. Using tomato paste or sauce in your dishes improves not only the flavour but also your health.