Carotenoids is a large plant pigment, lycopene is one of its. A plant pigment gives red to pink colours to tomatoes, grapefruits and other fruits. lycopene is present in breast milk, human blood plasma in the form of cis-isomer.
700 carotenoids are studying. They have pro-vitamin A and antioxidant properties. Two types of carotenoids; hydrocarbon carotenoids and xanthophylls. Colour giving characteristics are given by carotenoids.
lycopene is hydrocarbon carotenoids contain hydrogen and carbon bonds. The chemical formula of lycopene is C40H56, contains 11 conjugated and 2 non-conjugated double bonds.
All trans-isomers of lycopene are red and all tetra-isomers of lycopene are orange pigment.
LYCOPENE SOURCES, INTAKE, AND BIOAVAILABILITY
Fresh foods have a lesser amount of lycopene than processed foods. The processed form of tomato ketchup, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce has a higher amount of lycopene than fresh tomatoes. like fresh tomatoes have 0.88mg/100g lycopene than processed tomatoes has 9.9 mg/100g.
Lycopene found in fresh plants containing carotenoid protein complexes. Lycopene structure and stability altered due to improper storage and processing. Multiple studies have shown that lycopene from thermally processed tomato products is more bioavailable than lycopene from fresh tomatoes.
Dietary intake impact on bio availability of lycopene.
Lycopene content in food
- raw tomato- 7.7
- tomato juice- 76
- tomato sauce- 62
- watermelon- 22
- pink grapefruit- 3.5
- chili sauce- 20
Lycopene in Watermelon
Watermelons have cis-trans isomers of lycopene. Food scientist said that warm watermelons have high lycopene value than cold ones. Storage conditions of watermelon greatly influence on the carotenoid level.
like; watermelons defreeze at five, 13 and 21 degree Celsius for 14 days. Watermelons stored at 21 Celsius (room temperature) gained 11 to 40% of lycopene and 50 to 139% in beta-carotene compared to watermelons stored at five and 13 degrees. This research was published in the Journal of Agriculture and food chemistry wen in 2006.
Lycopene to carotene in watermelon gives 1:12 antioxidant activity. The value of lycopene in tomatoes and watermelon varies.
Lycopene in Tomatoes
Tomato and its related compounds contain lycopene. An important source of carotene dietary source. Processing content of tomato degrades the isomerisation structure of lycopene. This degradation changes trans-isomers to cis-isomers configuration. Fresh tomato has a lower value of lycopene than processed ones.
Strong Antioxidant Properties
Free radicals and other damage conditions of cells cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the root of diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and carcinogenic agents.
Antioxidants act as firefighters against oxidative stress. Lycopene is an antioxidant agent. It provides a shield against cancer causes agents and oxidative stress.
Promote heart health
Heart diseases are the third causing illness. Most people in search of natural remedies for heart cure. An antioxidant is the number of aid in this cureness. Lycopene as an antioxidant lowers the cholesterol level and reduce free- radical damaging.
Protect Against Sunburn
As we are talking about protection form disasters, lycopene has also work against sunburn problem.
Daily consumption of 8-16 mg of lycopene minimizes the intensity of skin rashes. It enhances our skin’s defence agents and protect against UV rays.
Top Food Sources
Tomatoes are the biggest source of lycopene. The riper of tomatoes, the more you can get lycopene activity. Moreover, pink and red sources contain lycopene nutrients.
following supplements have lycopene per gram;
- Sun-dried tomatoes- 44.5 mg
- Tomato puree-20.8 mg
- Papaya-1.6 mg
- cooked sweet tomato- 0.4 mg
Nature gives us powerful and energetic food full of nutritious compounds containing; nutraceuticals, antioxidants and carotenoids. Natural remedies are better and effective in usage than artificial remedies. Lycopene is beneficial in the treatment of diseases but if we can eat in balance amount.