September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. In order to increase awareness about this important issue, we are shining the spotlight on an amazing nutrient that is particularly important for prostate health; Lycopene!
Lycopene is a naturally occurring red coloured plant pigment that gives tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, red bell peppers and other delicious fruits and vegetables their vibrant colour. A member of the carotenoid family, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger. Interestingly, lycopene is a fat soluble nutrient, indicating that it is best absorbed when consumed with a source of healthy dietary fat.
While most foods are negatively impacted by over cooking, lycopene seems to be the exception! Heating a tomato sauce for a long period of time seems to increase its bioavailability and make it more readily absorbed by the body. Sun dried tomatoes are especially high in dietary bioavailable lycopene.
As an antioxidant, lycopene protects against oxidative stress. Oxidation contributes to a number of chronic diseases. Most relevant to men’s health, lycopene intake is associated with a decrease in cancers, especially prostate. It appears that lycopene can prevent the development of prostate cancer, prevent DNA damage, of prostate cells, and prevent prostate cancer cells from multiplying or reproducing.
Need some ways to add more lycopene into your diet? Give these tips a try!
- Make your own lycopene rich tomatoes sauces, soups and stews by combining freshly diced tomatoes with jars of crushed or diced organic tomatoes (avoid canned whenever possible). Add in tomato juices and paste and simmer on the stove for as long as you can. Your house will smell heavenly and you will be enjoying a hefty dose of lycopene too!
- Make fresh tomato salads topped with fresh basil and olive oil.
- Start the day with 1/2 a pink grapefruit! Be sure to enjoy this along with a healthy source of protein and fat in order to keep your meal macronutrient balanced.
- Add a slice of guava to your morning smoothie.
- Keep some watermelon sliced up to enjoy as a snack.
- Slice red bell peppers up and to dip in hummus or guacamole for a mid day snack.
Do you love lycopene? Think about adding more of this important pigment into your diet.
Written by Julia Davie, NutriChem Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Doula
Julia is a graduate of the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Julia’s services emphasize the importance of whole, live and natural foods. Striving to make healthy eating accessible and enjoyable, she believes that food can be both nutritious and delicious! As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, she understands the unique needs of each client and works with them to develop and implement a healthy eating plan individualized to their needs.
Julia strives to empower her clients through education, inspire them to make better food choices, and live healthier and more vibrant lives.
Julia’s special interests include digestive support, weight loss, skin health, blood sugar support, fertility nutrition, prenatal, postnatal and pediatric nutrition.
Call: 613-820-4200 to book an appointment with Julia.