Lycopene is the red-colored carotenoid predominantly found in tomato fruit but in few other fruits or vegetables. Lycopene is one of the most potent antioxidants among dietary carotenoids. Humans cannot synthesize carotenoids and have to depend on upon the diet exclusively for the source of this micro nutrients.
Dietary intake of tomatoes and tomato products containing lycopene has been shown to be associated with the decreases risk of chronic diseases, such as Cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The need of antioxidants is increased by the excess dietary fats, cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, pollutants and stress.
A recent clinical study demonstrates that lycopene might not only prevent prostate cancer but also have therapeutic effects. Researchers in Finland have found that low plasma Lycopene concentrations are associated with early atherosclerosis, manifested as increased CCA-IMT (Intermedia thickness of the common catorid artery wall), in middle-age men living in Eastern Finland.
A daily dose of Lycopene exerts a protective effect again EIA (exercise-induced asthma)in some patients, most probably through an in vivo antioxidants effect.