Want To Help Minimize Free Radical Damage? Eat This!
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant with a greater-than-average ability to minimize free radicals that cause damage to cells. Excessive free radical damage has been linked to the development of heart and Alzheimer’s disease, breast and prostate cancers, and premature skin aging.
Because it is a carotenoid – which is responsible for giving many fruits and vegetables their red color – it can be obtained by eating produce such as tomatoes, watermelon, red carrots, pink grapefruit, and papayas. (Surprisingly, red strawberries and cherries are not good sources of lycopene.) Tomatoes and tomato-based prepared foods are the most prevalent source of lycopene in a typical American diet. The bioavailability of lycopene increases with cooking, so cook fresh tomatoes in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil to get the most benefit – try this Marinara Sauce recipe, a delicious way to increase your lycopene intake.
When taking carotenoids supplementally, look for a formula that includes lycopene. Because it is fat-soluble, a supplement containing lycopene is best taken with food that contains fat.
Today’s Health Topics
Ask Dr. Weil's Q&A