The Role of Lycopene in Prostate Health

Incorporating antioxidants like lycopene in your diet offers numerous health benefits.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer affecting men. While more research is needed to fully understand the impact of antioxidants on prostate cancer, incorporating antioxidants like lycopene in your diet offers numerous health benefits.

Lycopene benefits 

Lycopene is a powerful, health enhancing, plant nutrient found in red fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit. It’s what gives these fruits their vibrant red color. 

Prostate health

Lycopene has been associated with prostate health and suggested to protect against certain types of cancer (1). One way is by protecting the prostate cells. Lycopene is an antioxidant, or a molecule that neutralizes harmful free radicals (unstable molecules) in the body. 

Although the research on the effect of antioxidants and their impact on prostate cancer risk is inconclusive, antioxidants may play a crucial role in maintaining prostate health by protecting against damage and inflammation (2). Antioxidants have also been shown to enhance immune function, which is essential for detecting and protecting against cancerous cells in the prostate (3). 

Heart health 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States (4). Lycopene can also be beneficial for heart health by potentially lowering your risk of developing heart disease or even preventing premature death from it. This is because lycopene may help reduce risk factors such as lowering total and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels, and boosting "good" HDL cholesterol (5). 

Skin health 

Consuming lycopene over the long term has also been linked to skin cancer prevention. Some studies have indicated that people who included lycopene sources or supplements in their daily diet experienced less ultraviolet (UV) skin damage from sunlight compared to those who did not (6). Lycopene has also been shown to significantly boost levels of procollagen in the skin, which can help reverse skin damage caused by aging (7). 

Lycopene-rich recipe: Tomato and red bell pepper soup

This recipe contains tomatoes, which are high in lycopene. Some research suggests that cooking tomatoes for brief periods of time, such as when cooking, can increase the amount of lycopene your body can access (8).

INGREDIENTS (4 servings)

  • 2 1/4 lb plum tomatoes
  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan
  • 1 sourdough baguette


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Cut the tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic into halves.
  4. Place all the veggies and herbs on the baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil and honey on top. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes.
  5. Place the roasted vegetables into a food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Transfer the purée to a pot on medium-low heat. Add the broth and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Slice the baguette into 4 big slices. Place these bread slices in a grill pan or skillet and toast until golden.
  8. Serve the soup with shredded parmesan and the toasted bread.

For more lycopene-rich recipes, check out Lifesum

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