If fact when you see a fruit or vegetable that is red in color it is a good bet that that red colors comes from a high lycopene content! The rich pink and red colors of grapefruit and strawberries are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. (but note: Lycopene is only found in pink and red grapefruit. White grapefruit does not provide this carotenoid.) Lycopene appears to have anti-tumor activity. Among the common dietary carotenoids, lycopene has the highest capacity to help fight oxygen free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells.
Choosing to regularly eat lycopene-rich foods, such as pink grapefruit, and drink green tea may greatly reduce a man's risk of developing prostate cancer, suggests research published the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Jian L, Lee AH, et al.)
In this case-control study involving 130 prostate cancer patients and 274 hospital controls, men drinking the most green tea were found to have an 86% reduced risk of prostate cancer compared, to those drinking the least.
A similar inverse association was found between the men's consumption of lycopene-rich fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, apricots, pink grapefruit, watermelon, papaya, strawberries and guava. Men who most frequently enjoyed these foods were 82% less likely to have prostate cancer compared to those consuming the least lycopene-rich foods.
Regular consumption of both green tea and foods rich in lycopene resulted in a synergistic protective effect, stronger than the protection afforded by either, the researchers also noted.
Helpful Hint: Get in the habit of drinking green tea and eating lycopene-rich foods.
- Take a quart of iced green tea to work and sip throughout the day or take it to the gym to provide prostate protection while replenishing fluids after your workout.
- Pack a ziploc bag of apricots and almonds in your briefcase or gym bag for a handy snack.
- Start your breakfast with half of a pink or red grapefruit or a glass of grapefruit, apricot, papaya or guava juice.
- Begin lunch or dinner with some spicy tomato juice on the rocks with a twist of lime. Snack on tomato crostini: in the oven, toast whole wheat bread till crusty, then top with tomato sauce, herbs, a little grated cheese, and reheat until the cheese melts.
- Top whole wheat pasta with olive oil, pine nuts, feta cheese and a rich tomato sauce for lunch or dinner.
- For a delicious dessert, drizzle a little honey over a half of pink or red grapefruit and broil for 2 minutes. Serve topped with a fresh mint leaf.
Happy Phytonutrient Friday!!