Surprising Source Packs Huge Anti-aging Power
You probably know that over-exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is a major cause of older-looking skin. UV light damages your skin by creating free radicals.
To fight this damage, your skin needs lots of antioxidant support. Twenty years ago Tufts University researchers found an antioxidant that works far better than even Beta-carotene.1 And one of the best sources of this nutrient is a favorite dessert.
The nutrient is lycopene. It’s what gives tomatoes their red color. But ounce for ounce, you’ll get 40% more of it from… watermelon.
That’s right. The sweet treat your parents probably wrote off as “nothing but sugar and water” is actually a rich source of vitamins A, C, B-6, and thiamin… and the antioxidant lycopene.
Helping your skin fight a major cause of wrinkles is just a start. Lycopene does a lot more to help fight the effects of aging, too.
Take your arteries, for example. Clear, flexible arteries are critical for keeping your blood flowing smoothly. When arteries become stiff and clogged, you’re heading for serious heart trouble.
A European team tested several tested several antioxidants and lycopene stood out. It was the only substance they tested that had a clear link to clean arteries. The more lycopene people had in their blood, the less their risk of clogged arteries.2
Three years later, a team in Finland looked just at lycopene. In their study, men with the highest levels of lycopene had the least thickening in their blood vessel walls.3 Which is a fancy way to say their arteries essentially appeared younger.
A recent review of studies by Italian scientists may help explain how lycopene works. They found that most human studies show that lycopene supports lower levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.4 And cholesterol deposits lead to clogged arteries.
Here’s another of lycopene’s anti-aging tricks. A Finnish study from the journal Neurology found it may promote blood vessel health in your brain.
Men with high levels of lycopene had less than half the chance of dangerous blood vessel damage in their brain than men with low levels.5 And if a healthy brain doesn’t help keep you feeling younger, I don’t know what will.
Prostate problems are a serious issue for you men as you get older. In fact, there’s a good chance you’ve started to develop prostate trouble by the time you’re 40… even if you won’t notice it for a few more years.
An enlarged prostate can make urination painful or difficult. It can make it hard to empty your bladder, so you have to go more often. And, it can mean a lot of trips to the bathroom during the night… wrecking your sleep.
Lycopene can help. A 2008 German study looked at a group of men with expanding prostate glands. Half the men were given lycopene, while the other half took a placebo. After 6 months, prostate growth had stopped in the lycopene group… but not in the placebo group.6
Tomatoes are the most common source of lycopene. Watermelon is a far better source than raw tomatoes. Pink grapefruit and guava also contain a fair amount.
But most of us probably don’t eat these foods every day. To ensure you get plenty of lycopene, you can use a nutritional supplement. Lycopene is available alone, or as part of many nutritional formulas.
There are no government guidelines for lycopene. But lycopene is thought to be generally safe. Up to 10 – 15 mg a day appears to be safe for long-term use.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Ribaya-Mercado, J.D., et al, “Skin lycopene is destroyed preferentially over beta-carotene during ultraviolet irradiation in humans,” J Nutr. Jul 1995; 125(7): 1854-1859.
2 Klipstein-Grobusch, K., et al, “Serum carotenoids and atherosclerosis: The Rotterdam Study,” Atherosclerosis. Jan 2000: 148(1): 49–56.
3 Rissanen, T.H., et al, “Serum lycopene concentrations and carotid atherosclerosis: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study,” Am J Clin Nutr. Jan 2003; 77(1): 133-138.
4 Palozza, P., “Effect of lycopene and tomato products on cholesterol metabolism,” Ann Nutr Metab. 2012; 61(2): 126-134.
5 Karppi, J., et al, “Serum lycopene decreases the risk of stroke in men: A population-based follow-up study,” Neurology. Oct 9, 2012; 79(15): 1540-1547.
6 Schwarz, S., et al, “Lycopene inhibits disease progression in patients with benign prostate hyperplasia,” J Nutr. Jan 2008; 138(1): 49-53.