For a few years now there has increasingly been more information being released on the therapeutic benefits of Lycopene particularly when it comes to prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Cancer has exceeded heart disease as the biggest killer in Australia, however heart disease is not far behind. 7.87 million Australians died of cancer in 2014 and 7.02 million of heart disease. In light of these statistics, one would think we would all be aiming to take as many steps as possible to avoid both these diseases which is why I find the information now available on Lycopene so very interesting. We all know the Mediterranean diet is a healthy diet, particularly when it comes to heart health. One of the reasons is the high amount of Lycopene contained in a typical Mediterranean diet. Obviously, tomatoes rate highly in such a diet and interestingly cooked tomatoes are amongst the best dietary sources of Lycopene. Lycopene has been found to be the carotenoid antioxidant which gives our fruit and vegetables that pink or red colour.
It is understood Lycopene circulates in our blood and it is believed higher levels of Lycopene in the blood equate to a lower risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. When it comes to cardiovascular disease it has been found oxidation of LDL, the bad cholesterol contributes to plaque build-up and hardening of the arteries. Supplementing with Lycopene may make these LDL particles more resistant to oxidation which of course means less risk of plaque build-up. Lycopene may also inhibit the enzyme which produces cholesterol. Interestingly the purpose of taking a cholesterol-lowering drug is to also inhibit this enzyme.
High blood levels of Lycopene is also thought to be beneficial in reducing the risk of stroke.
For some time, it has been believed Lycopene could have some anti-cancer benefits because of its potent antioxidant properties. Not only does Lycopene circulate in the blood helping prevent plaque build-up, as I wrote last week, it also concentrates in the male reproductive system and is believed it may protect against prostate cancer. Lycopene may also help prevent and help in the treatment of benign enlarged prostate and the assisting in reducing pressure on the bladder.
Lycopene may also be beneficial in preventing the sun’s UV damage to the skin, safeguarding from skin cancer.
When looking to increase the Lycopene levels in your blood, following the Mediterranean diet is a good place to start. Our bodies don’t produce Lycopene which means it needs to come from foods we eat or supplementing with a Lycopene capsule.
To ensure you obtain sufficient Lycopene in your diet I would also suggest taking a Lycopene supplement. It is very important to ensure when choosing a supplement, it is designed to have the maximum bioavailability to be the most effective. A product which a few years ago became available in Australia was chosen by cardiologists for scientific studies at Cambridge University in the UK, and at Harvard Medical School in Boston. When exposed to air Lycopene becomes unstable however interestingly the 2014 Harvard University trial discovered when extracted correctly then combined with whey protein molecules, the absorption was greatly improved. Another British study on this compound by senior Cambridge University Joseph Cheriyan noted – “There is enough evidence to indicate that if entire populations increased their blood serum Lycopene levels to those of the highest 25% of the population, levels of heart disease and stroke would fall dramatically”.
$22 million has been invested in developing and researching this now patented Lycopene formula. The outcome of this research indicates –
A reversal of the effects of hardening of the arteries and blood flow
A lessening of LDL cholesterol by 90%
Majorly increased Lycopene levels in the blood
When you look at our rate of heart disease this is very exciting research!! If you want to know more call in to see Bev and the team at Go Vita Your Health Shop at 5 North St, Batemans Bay or call on 44729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev and Marianne on “Go Get Healthy” on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.15pm.