Sun-dried tomatoes can certainly be added to the super food group. It has an extremely high level of lycopene which give it anti-aging super powers.
Lycopene is a phytonutrient antioxidant found in high levels in sun-dried tomatoes that have many unbelievable anti-aging benefits.
Phytonutrient antioxidants are produced by plants to protect it from the damaging oxidative uv light that it also needs for photosynthesis.
A study in the Journal of The Science of Food showed that the average Sun-Dried tomato has close to 58mg of lycopene in 100g of sun-dried tomatoes. This is considerably more lycopene than your average fresh tomato which has about 26mg of lycopene in 100g of tomato.
The process of sun drying also stimulates the production and conversion of prescursor molecules into lycopene.
In addition sundried tomatoes are usually stored in olive oil. Lycopene which is a fat soluble molecule blends well with the olive oil and this process boosts the absorption rates of lycopene into our bodies.
Here are the anti-aging benefits of Sun-Dried Tomatoes. Trust me, you will be surprised.
Sun-Dried Tomatoes Anti-Aging Benefits
1. Anti-Aging Effect of Sun-Dried Tomato on Skin and Wrinkles
Lycopene found in sundried tomatoes strengthen your skin by inhibiting the activity of enzyme collagenase which is involved in the breakdown of collagen.
This enzyme breaks down the peptide bonds in the collagen fibers of your skin, resulting in a slow loss of skin firmness and the appearance of fine wrinkles. Lycopene eventually down-regulates collagenase and this assists natural firmness.
Fortunately, a 2016 study showed that lycopene is such a strong anti-oxidant that it can protects cells from powerful pesticides commonly found in foods. All powerful anti-oxidants like lycopene naturally protect your skin from free radicals and uv rays that cause wrinkles and age spots.
2. Anti-Aging Effect of Sun-Dried Tomato (Lycopene) on Cell Damage
The antioxidant properties of lycopene have been found to repair damage in the spinal cord in cases of spinal cord injury. This new ground breaking research, may lead to a treatment for people paralysed after spinal cord injuries.
3. Anti-Aging Effect of Sun-Dried Tomato (Lycopene) on Age Related Eye Conditions
The lycopene found in sun-dried tomatoes protects your eyes from oxidative stress that can damage your eyes with age. An Indian medical school study discovered that lycopene can prevent or delay cataracts.
Macular degeneration is the main cause of damage to aging eyes and the number one cause of blindness in the elderly.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of lycopene was proven to slow down and even stop many of the cellular reactions within the eye that cause macular degeneration.
4. Anti-Aging Effect of Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Lycopene) on Age Related Cancers
Most adult cancers are age related and you become more susceptible as you age. Addressing the various contributing factors to cancer such as oxidative stress can improve your ability to fight of cancers as you get older.
All anti-oxidants can assist in preventing cancer and the powerful antioxidative capabilities of the lycopene found in sun-dried tomatoes can play a major role in preventing and slowing down many different types of cancer.
Other Lycopene research showed lycopene’s ability to slow the growth of breast and prostate cancer by disrupting and blocking the signals that promote the tumour growth.
A study including over 46,000 men discovered a significant relationship between high lycopene intake and a reduced risk of prostate cancer. The research noted that the consumption of tomato sauce was linked to lower levels of prostate cancer.
Lycopene is also effective against the uterine cancer causing HPV infection. Females who supplement with lycopene recover faster from this HPV infections compared to those with lower lycopene levels.
5. Anti-Aging Effect of Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Lycopene) on Age Related Brain Conditions
As we get older one of our greatest fears is losing our minds to Demetia and Alzheimer’s. Lycopene in sun-dreid tomatoes has also been proven to delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing brain cell corruption and protecting healthy brain cells from damage.
In addition lycopene has also been shown to stop specific mitochondrial interactions that cause brain cell degradation.
These abilities make the addition of sun-dried tomatoes into your diet an absolute must for everyone that has a family history or are predisposed to age related conditions like Alzheimer’s.
6. Anti-Aging Effect of Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Lycopene) on Heart Conditions
As we get older, we should also be concerned about our heart health and protecting it from further damage.
Several studies have confirmed that lycopene can help prevent and slow down the progression of coronary heart disease, Heart Attacks and damage of the Heart Blood Vessels. Diets high in tomatoes like the Mediterranean diet have long been linked with lowered coronary heart disease.
7. Anti-Aging Effect of Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Lycopene) on Age Related Nerve Pain
Neuropathy is a complex pain condition caused by nerve damage and these patients have a limited number of treatment options as they do not respond to normal pain medication.
A research study on diabetic neuropathy revealed that lycopene found in sun-dried tomatoes possessed nerve pain-inhibiting capabilities.
This research indicates that increased lycopene from foods like sun-dried tomatoes can play an important role in neuropathy a common disease we experience as we get older.
8. Anti-Aging Effect of Lycopene on Age Related Bone Conditions
Osteoporosis is another age-related condition that we should address as we get older. It is a condition that is preventable when you have the right nutrition and when you start early. It usually occurs in families so you will know from your parents if you are susceptible to osteoporosis.
A recent study showed that Lycopene can decrease oxidative stress in bones that can make bones weak and brittle. The same study showed that lycopene can reinforce the cellular matrix of bones making them more robust and stronger.
Best Lycopene Foods
There are several foods other than tomatoes that are high in lycopene content that you can introduce into your daily diet.
Sundried Tomatoes 58mg/100g
Fresh Tomatoes 28mg/100g
Tomatoes (cooked) 3mg/100g
How to Boost the Absorption of Lycopene
Lycopene is a fat-soluble nutrient. This means it dissolves in fat and if we eat lycopene foods along with other fatty foods we can boost the absorption of lycopene into our bodies.
You must therefore always eat your lycopene foods alongside fats, such as avocados, olive oil, seeds and meat products.
Lycopene has a very straight chemical structure outside the body. After being eaten and absorbed, lycopene bends slightly and this is how it is found in our blood. It was shown that lycopene that is already in this bent structure is absorbed at faster and greater amounts than lycopene in its original straight form structure.
The easiest way to bend lycopene and make it more absorbable is to heat it. Simply cooking some of your lycopene foods can boost its absorbability and help you get more lycopene.
Lycopene Dose for Anti-Aging Effects
Lycopene is available as a supplement, however consuming sun-dried tomatoes has many advantages.
The absorption rates of lycopene from sundried tomatoes are higher than supplement because they are soaked in olive oil and you have the fibre of the tomato that allows the lycopene to released at a slow rate as it moves along the GIT.
15mg of lycopene once daily will cover most of the anti-aging effects listed above. you can get this 15mg of lycopene from about 30g of sundried tomatoes.
Some people take up to 30mg of lycopene supplements daily with minimal side effects.
Adding lycopene rich foods to your diet has many anti-aging benefits, if anything it should be added just for its super powerful anti-oxidant effects. The biggest advantage is that lycopene is found in great tasting foods that can be added to any meal.