Tomatoes! A Natural Defense Against Radiation Damage

Radiation damage is of serious concern for cancer patients and everyday individuals alike. Until now, protecting against these harmful rays has been nearly impossible. Lycopene, the compound that gives tomatoes their bright red color, is a strong dietary antioxidant, proving to have a strong protective component against radiation. Yet another reason why we need to instill more trust in mother nature!

Lycopene 101

Lycopene is that naturally occurring chemical compound that gives a wide range of fruits and vegetable their bright red hue. One of a number of pigments called “carotenoids,” lycopene is found in its highest amount and concentration in tomatoes. In fact, in the North American diet, 85% of our dietary lycopene is derived from tomatoes and its byproducts, like tomato juice and paste. Supplemental to tomato’s radiation-fighting effects, its benefits include:

  •  Prevents and stops the oxidization of free radicals
  • Helps treat infertility
  • Aids in the prevention of diabetes
  • Offsets age-related macular degeneration
  • Prevents skin aging by boosted collagen
  • Prevents osteoporosis

Lycopene is one of many compounds that is more easily accessed and absorbed by the human body when it’s heated. With that, to increase the health benefits of tomatoes be sure to cook them!

Study: Lycopene May Protect Against Cancer

According to a new study conducted by Keele University, dietary lycopene is extremely successful at protecting the body the harmful effects of radiation. This research is promising for the future, proving to be potentially useful in limiting to negative side-effects of cancer radiation therapies. Here are some of their findings:

  • Lycopene’s protects cell membranes from damage-by-radiation
  • Lycopene’s protective effects reduced as oxygen concentration increased, meaning that high oxygen concentrations lycopene will lead to improved cancer therapy using radiation
  • Lycopene is the strongest carotenoids reducing agent, leading researchers to believe that it is the ultimate protectant against gamma radiation

Recipes:

Lycopene-Rich Turmeric Tomato Soup 

This vibrant colorful (vegan-friendly) is high in lycopene and chock full of other disease-fighting foods, like turmeric and garlic cloves. Plus, it can be made in a short 15 minutes. Enjoy!