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Saturday, April 03, 2021

Lycopene: Antioxidant in tomato juice

Lycopene belongs to a group of naturally-occurring pigments known as carotenoids. Lycopene is a natural constituent of red fruits and vegetables and of certain algae and fungi.

Lycopene occurs in human diet predominantly in tomatoes and tomato products. Tomato products, including ketchup and tomato juice, are the richest sources of lycopene in the U.S. diet.

Lycopene content in various tomatoes and their products on a fresh weight basis ranged from 56 mg/kg to 371 mg/kg. Fresh tomatoes accounted for 54% of total lycopene intake. The lycopene/β-carotene ratio of tomato products is less than unity while that of fresh tomatoes is greater than unity.

Lycopene is a nutrient in the carotenoid family that has antioxidant properties. Lycopene provides the pigment that gives red and pink fruits their color. It belongs to a large group of pigments known as carotenoids, however, it has no provitamin A activity.

Like other carotenoids, lycopene is a natural pigment synthesized by plants and microorganisms but not by animals. The functions of carotenoids is to act as light absorbing pigments in photosynthesis and protect plants against photosynthesizing.

The importance of lycopene in the diet of people in recent years has grown mainly for its pharmacological effects due to its ability to reduce the risk of carcinoma diseases and prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

The consumption of tomatoes and tomato products including tomato juice containing lycopene have been shown to be associated with decreased risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. These attributed the health benefits of lycopene to its antioxidant properties.

It is reported that lycopene is twice more effective than β-carotene and ten times more effective than β-tocopherol.
Lycopene: Antioxidant in tomato juice

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