Lycopene is one of the best-known ingredients of tomatoes and a lot of research has already been done into the health effects of this nutrient. Hidde van Steenwijk, researcher at Maastricht University, has studied the health effects of lycopene in the context of the Top Sector Project The Value (s) of Vegetables & Fruit. He also looked at the effect of lycopene on inflammation levels, because such inflammatory values seem to have a negative influence on the development of lifestyle diseases such as type II diabetes.
The link between lycopene and inflammation
Van Steenwijk's research shows that patients with higher levels of inflammation (in various diseases) also have lower lycopene concentrations in the blood. Reduction in circulating lycopene can be one of the first signs of chronic inflammation. However, the research also shows that an increase in the lycopene concentration (for example by consuming more lycopene during a number of weeks) does not directly reduce these inflammations.
Healthy eating is better than a supplement
The results of this research thus show that it is both important to just eat healthy if you feel healthy, but also that the combination of different bioactive substances is important for the health effects of fruit and vegetables. Because you consume more than lycopene with a product such as tomato, it therefore seems healthier to keep your lycopene level up by eating tomatoes instead of taking a lycopene supplement.
Source: Maastricht University