Every tomato is a lycopene tomato and researchers have shown that consuming lycopenes have remarkable health benefits. Lycopene is the red pigment which is seen in tomatoes and other lycopene food such as watermelons. The red pigment is not all it contains with a powerful anti-oxidant also present which prevents the cells from being damaged for example by ultraviolet light.
One of the best sources of lycopene tomatoes which as they ripen increase in concentration. Unlike most nutritional supplements, lycopene increases in processed and cooked tomato products such as canned tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, ketchup, soups and tomato juice. This processing increases the surface area available for digestion increasing lycopene effectiveness and absorption. Lycopene is also fat soluble and the oil used in cooking tomatoes increases assimilation from the digestive tract to the body therefore increasing the amount the body absorbs. The variety or species of tomato also has an effect on the concentration of lycopene.
Lycopene tomato paste can be bought from many shops and has an increased amount of lycopene vitamin. Lycopene supplements containing lycopene and carotene can also be used for those that do not like eating tomato based meals or those that are not getting enough lycopene daily.
Other fruits and vegetables that are high in lycopene – watermelon, grapefruit, green leafy vegetables, gac (from south east asia), guava, papayas, red carrots and the fungus Blakeslea trispora. Gac proves to be a more promising source of lycopene for the purpose of lycopene extraction and purification as it has up to 70 times the concentration than tomatoes. Gac however is very rare outside its native region so tomato based products still make up more than 85% of lycopene intake for the majority of people.