Lycopene is a member of the carotenoid family of phytonutrients and is one of the natural pigments responsible for the deep red color of fruits such as tomatoes, apricots, papayas, guava, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. Studies have found that added intake of lycopene and lycopene-rich foods can help reduce the risk of heart disease among women and help protect men from prostate cancer and atherosclerosis. The health benefits of this nutrient are primarily related to its antioxidant activity. In fact, laboratory experiments indicate that lycopene may be a more effective antioxidant in certain ways than other carotenoids, including beta-carotene.
It is clear that foods containing lycopene can make an important contribution to your health. Below are several suggestions for meals, side dishes and snacks packed with lycopene: