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Eating for Good Health: Fight Cancer With Lycopene-Rich Fruits

By Edited Jul 24, 2015 0 2

Lycopene-Rich Fruits for Good Health

Prevent Cancer With Lycopene-Rich Fruits

Fight Cancer With Papaya
Credit: TenaciousR's Photostream

Fortify Your Diet With Antioxidants

Improve Your Health With a Lycopene-Rich Diet


Cancer can be prevented with proper diet and nutrition.  Various substances in your foods and diets can help you fight cancer and maintain good health.  These anti-cancer substances include phytonutrients and  antioxidants.  Lycopene is a prime example of a potent antioxidant that prevents various types of cancer, including  prostate, breast, lung, skin, cervical, esophageal and colon cancers.   Five lycopene-rich fruits with significant anti-cancer properties are featured here. These fruits are  pink guava, papaya,  tomato, pink grape fruit and watermelon.   Among this group of cancer fighters, guava and papaya stand out as super-fruits of distinction that can help you to eat your way to good health.      


 Lycopene is a carrotinoid  with  antioxidant properties.  It is found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The highest levels of this antioxidant is generally found in fruits.  The  pink and red colors of fruits are often due to the lycopene content.  Lycopene-rich foods often act in concert with other anti-oxidants to prevent cancer and promote good health.   Some of these other antioxidants are selenium and  vitamins A, C and E.  Consequently, the anti-cancer effects of a lycopene-rich fruit may not be attributed only to lycopene.  


 Tomato  may be viewed as the standard-bearer for lycopene-rich foods.  This recognition  reflects the point that tomato is a widely known fruit/vegetable that is present in many dietary protocols.  The lycopene content of a fresh tomato is  0.88 milligram per 100 grams. This level  is remarkably high  compared to the zero or near zero levels seen in such fruits as  apples, oranges, bananas and pineapples. Tomato is also rich in beta carotene and antioxidant  vitamins (vitamins A, C and E).  Significant amounts of antioxidant trace minerals such as zinc and  manganese, are also found in the tomatoes.

 The Super Fruit Guava

 Pink guava is an outstanding super fruit with numerous health benefits. Fruits such as peaches, bananas and oranges are minor leaguers in terms of their health benefits compared to those of  the lycopene-rich super fruits, particularly guava.  Guava has about 6.1 times as much lycopene as the tomato.  Like the tomato, guava is  rich in antioxidant vitamins (vitamins A, C and E).  It is also rich in the antioxidant trace minerals, selenium, zinc and  manganese.

 This tropical super fruit is particularly recognized for fighting and preventing  prostate, gastro-intestinal and skin cancers.  Apart from the anti-cancer effects, guava  is also well-recognized for supporting the immune system, healthy skin, healthy cholesterol profile and healthy digestion.

 The Super fruit Papaya

 Papaya is a remarkable anti-cancer super fruit, but it is recognized largely for its beneficial effects on digestion and prevention of acid reflux disease. Papaya has about 2.8 times as much lycopene as the tomato.  Like the guava, papaya is also rich in antioxidant vitamins and antioxidant trace minerals.  Like the guava, papaya is rich in dietary fibers (soluble and insoluble fibers).  Dietary fibers are very important for proper food digestion, gastric motility and the over-all health of the digestive system.

 This super fruit  is arguably the most important food for fighting and preventing  acid reflux  disease.  This effect on acid reflux disease is credited largely to the papaya enzyme,  papain.  Papain is a  proteolytic enzyme that helps you to digest food and improve the over-all digestion.  Since poor food digestion is the primary cause of acid reflux disease and numerous digestive problems, it is not surprising that papaya is very effective for  preventing  heart burn, acid reflux disease and other gastroesophageal problems.  An additional noteworthy point is that papaya produces these beneficial effect on digestion without the adverse effects seen with anti-acids and proton pump inhibitors, the typical therapeutic agents used for treating  acid reflux disease and related gastric disorders.

 Pink Grape Fruit

 Pink grape fruit has a lycopene content that is only 0.41 times as high as the fresh tomato. However,  it has  significant antioxidant and anticancer properties.   Grapefruit helps to prevent  skin, breast, lung, stomach and colon cancers.  This anti-cancer effect is not due to lycopene alone. Other compounds,  such as limonoids,  contribute to the anti-cancer action of the  pink grape fruit.  Limonoid is a phytonutrient in grape fruits that inhibits tumor formation.  Other important antioxidants in the grape fruit that contribute to fighting cancer include  selenium, beta carotene, vitamins A and C.

 Watermelon and Gac

 Watermelon is a healthy fruit, but its health benefits are largely unappreciated.  Watermelon contains 2.6 times as much lycopene as the  tomato.   Another member of the melon family, gac, is also a healthy fruit.  Gac has the highest level of lycopene of all known foods. Its lycopene content is 227 times as much as the level seen in the tomato.  One factor accounting for the limited recognition of gac as a healthy food is that it is essentially found only in Vietnam and neighboring regions in southeast Asia .  As more studies reveal  the  significance of lycopene for fighting cancer, it is likely  that gac and watermelon will find their rightful places among the super fruits that promote good health.

Fight Cancer with a Guava-Rich Diet

Improve Your Health with Guava

Prevent Skin and Prostate Cancers(115667)
Credit: Mauriguannandi


Nov 3, 2012 11:34am
I heard that cooked tomatoes have a greater amount lycopene in them as compared to fresh, is there any thuth to that? Great article!
Nov 5, 2012 11:02pm
Thank you very much for reading the article. Heat does not increase the amount of lycopene in the tomato. Heat increases the bioavailability of lycopene in the tomato. Bioavailability of a substance is increased when increased amounts of the substance is available for utilization by the body. In the case of lycopene, heat transforms lycopene from the normal trans configuration (which is poorly absorbed from the intestine) to the cis form which is readily absorbed. The plasma level of lycopene goes up rapidly with the cis form, making it more available for utilization compared to the trans form.
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