If you look into cancer rates and diagnoses in the United States you’ll find that they always seem to be on the rise, every single year. Because of this the food that you eat, your environmental factors and overall health are becoming more and more important as the odds are becoming stacked against you with each passing year. There are many differing opinions on what is to blame for the rise in cancer but there is one thing we know for sure, we have a say.
Our dietary choices, environmental factors mainly in our home as well as our lifestyle habits do determine how healthy we are and if our body can maintain a healthy homeostasis or not. If you neglect to pay any mindfulness to what you eat there’s no doubt that your body and health will suffer even if it’s just from obesity and feeling lethargic.
If you neglect your health long enough, the very things you do on a day-to-day basis will work against you faster and faster. Obesity, risk for heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, pain, trouble sleeping, trouble having energy, headaches, nausea, the list goes on and on. Everything that happens in your body and in regards to your health has a cause and you have to be the leader of your life, especially when it comes to what you eat and what activities you participate in. They either serve your health and work against it, there isn’t much of an in between.
There is plenty, a lot, a BOATLOAD of research online from many different organizations sharing many cancer preventative foods, nutrients and compounds but for some reason ‘racing for a cure’ is more publicized than preventing the disease in the first place. I plan on doing what I can to shift that awareness a bit. There are vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals that have been scientifically proven to prevent cancer in either animal or human studies, or both.
Lycopene is one of these nutrients. Lycopene is an antioxidant found mainly in fruits but in some vegetables also. Lycopene is an antioxidant, specifically a carotenoid that gives fruits and vegetables it’s red color. If you see a fruit or vegetable that is red there’s a good chance it contains some lycopene.
We now know that lycopene is extremely valuable for health and specifically in preventing cancer. A cohort study (a study comparing an outcome of two groups of individuals with varying characteristics) was conducted in Finland and found some shocking results.
A group of men participated in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor study in Finland to determine the role of lycopene in overall cancer risk. The study found that a connection between serum (skin) lycopene levels and cancer risk. They found that higher concentrations of lycopene reduced cancer risk overall. Men with the highest levels of serum (skin) lycopene had a 45% lower risk of cancer than men who had the lowest levels of lycopene in the study.
In other words, the more lycopene you have in your diet and readily available to use the lower your cancer risk, up to at least 45% and this is just the prostate cancer risk, not including other forms of cancer. Other research shows that lycopene helps to prevent lung and stomach cancer as well.
There is also further evidence that other cancers such as pancreas, colon, rectum, esophagus, oral, breast, and cervix could be reduced with an increased lycopene intake as well.
Beyond that lycopene is a strong antioxidant responsible for fighting free radicals in the body, as well as lowering LDL (typically known as ‘bad’ cholesterol) as well as lowering blood pressure. It’s great for the cardiovascular system as a whole.
By simply including more lycopene in your diet on a day to day basis you increase your resilience to prostate cancer up to 45% along with other forms of cancer as well as many other cardiovascular related benefits. Lycopene actually helps to protect your skin from sunburn by up to 25% as well, so have some before going in the sun next time.
Top 10 Lycopene Rich Foods (in order of highest to lowest) To Eat More Often:
- Guava Fruit
- Tomatoes (cooking them increases the ability of lycopene to be absorbed by your body, both raw and cooked still benefit though!)
- Sweet Red Peppers (cooking these as well)
- Red/Purple Cabbage
As always, eating these foods organic will provide you with a higher concentration of nutrition without any of the cides (pesticides, fungicides, herbacides etc.) which aren’t meant to be consumed but get into the plants regardless. Eat these fruits and vegetables more often and benefit from their cancer preventative and cardiovascular health benefits! Thanks for reading and investing in your health. Cheers to a healthy and happy life!
Source: cancer.gov, pcrm.org, healthaliciousness.com, Image: wikipedia.org