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Nutr Hosp. 2013 Jan-Feb;28(1):6-15. doi: 10.3305/nh.2013.28.1.6302.

[Functional properties and health benefits of lycopene].

[Article in Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]

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Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, México.


in English, Spanish


Lycopene is a carotenoid, which is found mainly in tomatoes, retains its functional properties after processing, is not toxic and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemotherapeutics effects in cardiovascular or neurodegenerative diseases and in some cancers. However, it seems that its intake through the diet is inadequate.


The objective of this review is to highlight the properties of lycopene and provide recommendations to improve its health benefits.


We performed a literature review related to the topic through Pub Med database.


The WHO and national governments promote through food guides the daily consumption of 400 g of fruits and vegetables because of their contain in antioxidants including lycopene. Lycopene intake widely varies, with an average consumption between 5 and 7 mg/day. Controversy arises from the ranger of figures between different studies and the fact that there is no recommended amount, precluding comparisons of national and international level and the establishment of policies and strategies to ensure its consumption.


Lycopene intake can be seen as a preventive measure and non pharmacological therapy for different types of diseases, but the work of professionals in nutrition and health is required to increase its intake through food education and to propose daily intakes from results of scientific research.

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