A study found that lycopene can potentially help to alleviate the symptoms of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The study was published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.
All of us are familiar with the health hazards offered by excessive fat consumption. Fats, when stored in excess, impose negative effects on almost all corporal organs. For instance, the accumulation of fat in your liver causes NAFLD.
NAFLD, itself isn’t too serious. It can be managed and reversed. However, if left untreated, it progresses to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. It is a condition that promotes inflammation in the liver leading to scarring and irreversible damage. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, at its worst, may result in liver failure and even death.
Nutritionists and health experts advise that regular exercise and a healthy diet can address NAFLD and allow the liver to function optimally. According to this respective study, lycopene is one of the essential and effective nutrients to treat NAFLD.
The researchers aimed to evaluate the effects of lycopene treatment on NAFLD in combination with a healthy diet. The authors employed rats for the study. They divided them into two groups,
- Control group
- Test group
The control group received a normal diet. On the other hand, the test group followed a high-fat diet to induce NAFLD. This continued for around four weeks.
After this, the rats in the NAFLD/test group were further divided into two groups,
- The group that was kept on a normal diet
- The other group fed with lycopene in addition to the normal diet
The researchers found that the test group, when reverted to a normal diet, exhibited a notable decrease in the symptoms of NAFLD. However, it was the group that received lycopene together with a normal diet that showed the most recovery, predominantly, in terms of liver weight, hepatic TC, serum LDL, and even in the macroscopic and microscopic images of the liver.
The authors of the study concluded that lycopene can protect the liver against NAFLD. However, further studies are still needed to validate these respective findings.
Lycopene brings with it a number of health benefits
Lycopene belongs to the carotenoid family of antioxidants. It is a compound found in a number of fruits and vegetables. It serves as a potential proof of how crucial these foods are for a healthy life.
Guava, Watermelon, Tomato, Papaya, and Red pepper are potent sources of whole food Lycopene. Listed below are some benefits offered by lycopene to human bodies.
Lycopene owns a high antioxidant potential. Thus, it helps to prevent the accumulation of free radicals. It neutralizes the onset of oxidative stress in the body which is linked to cell damage and a bunch of serious diseases, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
This potential nutrient prevents cancer as well. Lycopene-rich foods are a great way to boost one’s defenses against cancer. It exerts protection against specific types of cancer. A test tube study reveals that the nutrient helps prevent cancer in the kidneys. Other studies correlate lycopene’s intake with a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Lycopene maintains cardiac health also. It lowers the level of bad cholesterol and blood pressure in the body. Thus, it reduces the risk of diseases associated with hypertension, such as stroke.
It protects against sunburn. Lycopene protects the skin, enhances its protection from the harmful effects of the ultraviolet (UV) rays coming from the sun. According to studies, lycopene can reduce the redness of skin followed by sun exposure.