Fighting Cancer: The Role of Lycopene and Monounsaturated Fats

February 21, 2021 by Publisher

You say tomato, we say avocado! Some combinations are just better together, and some, not only taste good but are packed with powerful health benefits. With cancer rates continuing, living your best healthy life is key for longevity and quality of life.

The American Cancer Society says 1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women have a lifetime risk of being diagnosed with cancer.

As reported by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, "Epidemiological studies suggest an inverse relationship between lycopene consumption and the risk of cancer, particularly lung, stomach, prostate, and hormone-positive breast cancers."

Where can you find lycopene? 

Lycopene is a naturally occurring chemical that gives fruits and vegetables a red color. It's found in tomatoes, watermelons, red oranges, pink grapefruits, apricots, and guavas. Lycopene is an antioxidant that is a good source of vitamins A, C, & E, and there is a strong association between high intake of lycopene-rich foods and reduced risk of several cancers. 

Other health benefits of lycopene include: 

  • Improved heart health
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Can help high cholesterol
  • Prevention of age-related diseases like cataracts
  • Can reduce sun damage and fine lines associated with aging

In North America, 85% of dietary lycopene comes from tomato products—one serving of tomatoes contains between 4 mg and 10 mg of lycopene. Currently there is no recommended daily intake for lycopene, but recent studies suggest an intake between 8-21 mg per day to be the most beneficial.

Though lycopene alone is beneficial, studies have shown that people that consume monounsaturated fats like the ones in avocados make the cancer-fighting lycopene in tomatoes 4X more powerful because the avocado makes it easier for the body to absorb lycopene. 🍅🥑

Other pairings that can pack a healthy punch include the combination of tomatoes + olive oil and tomatoes + broccoli. 

There are many ways to incorporate avocados and tomatoes in your diet. Try adding avocados and tomatoes to sandwiches and salads, incorporating in #TacoTuesday festivities, adding to breakfast over whole-grain toast, or one of our favorite recipes, a simple Cucumber, Tomato and Avocado salad. 

For this easy and simple recipe — Dice and combine cucumber, Roma tomatoes, red onion and avocado. Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and add your favorite fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro. Bon Appétit!

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