Lycopene, a carotenoid found in plant foods, is also a red pigment. Deep red needle-like crystal, soluble in chloroform, benzene and oils but insoluble in water. Unstable to light and oxygen, turns brown when exposed to iron. Does not have the physiological activity of vitamin A, but has strong antioxidant function. The fruits of ripe red plants are more abundant, especially in tomato, carrot, watermelon, papaya and guava. It can be used as pigment in food processing and also as raw material of antioxidant health food.
Enhance the oxidative stress ability and anti-inflammatory effect of the body, oxidative damage is considered to be one of the main causes of cancer and cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. The antioxidant capacity of lycopene in vitro has been confirmed by many experiments. The quenching capacity of lycopene is more than 2 times that of β -carotene, the currently commonly used antioxidant, and 100 times that of vitamin E.
Protecting cardiovascular and cerebrovascular vessels, lycopene can deeply remove vascular waste, regulate plasma cholesterol concentration, protect low density lipoprotein (LDL) from oxidation, repair and perfect oxidized cells, promote intercellular glial formation, and enhance vascular flexibility. Other studies have shown that lycopene has a protective effect on local cerebral ischemia, which mainly inhibits the activity of glial cells and reduces the area of cerebral perfusion injury through antioxidant and free radical scavenging.
Lycopene also protects the skin from radiation or ultraviolet (UV) damage. When UV irradiated skin, lycopene in the skin combined with free radicals produced by UV to protect skin tissue from damage. Compared with unirradiated skin, lycopene was reduced by 31 to 46 percent, while other components were almost unchanged. Studies have shown that by daily intake of lycopene rich food can fight UV, to avoid UV exposure to erythema. Lycopene can also quench free radicals in epidermal cells, and has obvious fading effect on senile pigmentation.
Enhance immunity, lycopene can activate immune cells, protect phagocytes from their own oxidative damage, promote the proliferation of T and B lymphocytes, stimulate the function of effector T cells, promote the production of some interleukins and inhibit the generation of inflammatory mediators. Studies have found that moderate doses of lycopene capsules can improve human immunity, reduce the damage of acute exercise on the body's immunity.
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