What To Like About LycopeneThere is actually a lot to like about Lycopene. Since tomatoes areone of the richest sources of it, it is a given that there is a lot to like about tomatoes. Basically, Lycopene is a carotenioid as well as a phytonutrient. This is pretty much what gives tomatoes that nice red color. But, amazingly, it may do just the opposite for you as it helps protect your skin from sunburn. Now, I’m not saying that just because you had a healthy tomato salad for lunch you can go ahead and ditch the sunscreen. Studies have shown that tomato paste only has an equivalent of 1.3 SPF, which is a far cry from what you get from slathering on the good stuff. But still that 1.3 is a pretty good addition to your sun protection.
FUN FACT: A tomato has 4 chambers and is red. You know what else has the same number of chambers and is the same color? Your HEART. Lycopene is also really good for your heart and your blood. Coincidence? You decide.Another thing to like about lycopene is that it is also an antioxidant. Rule of thumb, antioxidant means anti aging. You see, Everyday, you are exposed to nasty free radicals, be it from pollution, a bad diet, smoking, or even the sun, or tons of other factors. Free radicals can actually be good for you but not when you get way too much of them. This could then harm your body- anything from tissue damage to cancer (yep, CANCER)- not to mention wrinkles. That is where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants actually fight off free radicals keeping them in the so called moderation that your body needs. So basically, a tomato is like your natural antioxidant and sunscreen rolled in one. If that isn’t good for your skin, then what is?
Just How Much Do You Need In A Day?Now, if you want to reap the benefits of lycopene, you first need to get enough of it. Studies have proven that if you want smoother, younger looking skin... you will need to get a good dose of about 25-75 milligrams of lycopene a day, which really isn’t that hard to get. To help you out, one cup of tomato juice has approximately 20 milligrams. Since 25 is the minimum, it should be easy to reach your target.
TIP: Tomato products contain more lycopene than just eating one fresh. Why? A fresh tomato has only about 4 milligrams of lycopene where as tomato products are much more concentrated. So, usually a can of soup, which will have about 20-25 milligrams of lycopene, actually has 6 tomatoes in it.