Using them in certain way can increase the fertility in men
Tomatoes are one of the most abundant fruits on earth and is widely used in all households for a variety of dishes. They come in various sizes, shapes and colors with myriad nutrition benefits to offer. One of the prominent nutrition among them is a compound called “lycopene”. It belongs to the carotenoid family of compounds and is responsible for the red coloration of some of the fruits and vegetables and plants use them for photosynthesis and provides protection from harmful UV light. Human body cannot synthesize lycopene of its own and can only be sourced from plants. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant protecting the body from oxidative stress.
Why lycopene is important for men?
It has been found that, although in human body lycopene accumulates in several organs, its concentration in testis is the most highest (up to 10 times when compared to other tissues). This suggests that lycopene has an active role to play in the spermatogenesis in men. Also several studies have shown evidence that lycopene can help in male fertility.
How men can use lycopene to their advantage?
The bio availability of lycopene in tomatoes in the human body can be increased in two ways:
- Heating the tomatoes:
Heating the tomatoes helps to release the lycopene from the plant cells by breaking the bonds and makes them more available. It is said that cooking them for up to 15 minutes gives the best optimum release.
2. Addition of oils:
Since lycopene is a lipophilic compound(affinity to fat) addition of oils like olive oil while cooking may serve as a vehicle of absorption with the fat in the oil. This is later easily digested and assimilated in the small intestine.
Ideally studies have found that the best combination is heating with oil rather than only heating or adding only oil. This is because the chemical structure of lycopene exists as trans-lycopene in plants and cis-lycopene in humans and the best conversion from trans to cis occurs in the heat plus oil combination while normal cooking.
There is one drawback with this, as tomatoes are also a rich source of vitamin C and the heating process will destroy some of them. Thus it is better to find alternative sources for vitamin C or to balance out with eating tomatoes cooked sometimes or raw some other times.