Lycopene is a carotenoid which is known to help reduce the risk of various types of cancer due to its antioxidants. A diet which is rich in lycopene is thought to prevent prostate, skin, lung and breast cancer. If you are planning to include this carotenoid in your diet, the most important thing to keep in mind is that fruits and vegetables which are red tend to be the best sources. Here is a list of the best dietary sources of lycopene.
Tomatoes are one of the most well known sources of lycopene. This includes tomato products, such as tomato sauces and tomato paste. It is even thought that eating pizza can be beneficial if you are trying to incorporate more lycopene in your diet. Keep in mind that you can reduce your sodium and calorie intake by simply eating raw tomatoes, however.
If you love watermelon, you will be happy to hear that it is another good source of lycopene. In fact, this fruit actually contains more of this carotenoid than tomatoes do. According to the Cancer Project, which is supported by the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine, a slice of watermelon actually contains about 14.7 mg of lycopene, while a medium tomato only contains about 3.7 mg.
Anyone who enjoys the taste of red or pink grapefruit can reduce their risk of cancer by eating it, as it is another good source of lycopene. A half of a grapefruit contains about 4.9 mg of lycopene, according to the Cancer Project. Many people will find that the taste of this bitter fruit can be more enjoyable by adding a sprinkle of sugar.
If you like tropical fruits, then there’s a good chance you like guava. This fruit is another one of the best dietary sources of lycopene. Whether you eat guava by itself, make a tropical fruit smoothie or add it a tropical fruit salad, this fruit can make a great addition to a lycopene-rich diet.
Most people are only familiar with orange carrots and may not even realize that a red variety exists. Red carrots are known to be a source of lycopene. That said, red carrots are actually one of the weakest sources of the carotenoid.
Including lycopene in your diet through natural food sources can be very delicious! Whether you prefer juicy red tomatoes or sweet watermelon, the main key is to eat foods which are red or orange in color. By incorporating lycopene-rich foods in your diet, there is a chance that you may be reducing your risk of cancer.
The Cancer Project, “Nutrients – How Lycopene Helps Protect Against Cancer.”
United States Department of Agriculture, “Research.”
United States Department of Agriculture, “Watermelon Packs a Powerful Lycopene Punch.”