The growing concerns for physical wellbeing and
health have been reflected in the way we choose food in our table.
Nowadays, we are all more informed consumers and choose healthier
foods. On the other hand, stroke, cancer and atherosclerosis may be
somehow minimized by the intake of some bioactive compounds
present in food, the so-called nutraceuticals and functional foods. The
aim of this work was to make a revision of the published studies
about the effects of some bioactive compounds, namely lycopene in
human health, in the prevention of diseases, thus playing the role of a
functional food. Free radical in human body can induce cell damage
and consequently can be responsible for the development of some
cancers and chronic diseases. Lycopene is one of the most powerful
antioxidants known, being the predominant carotenoid in tomato. The
respective chemistry, bioavailability, and its functional role in the
prevention of several diseases will be object of this work. On the
other hand, the inclusion of lycopene in some foods can also be made
by biotechnology and represents a way to recover the wastes in the
tomato industry with nutritional positive effects in health.
Tomato, lycopene, bioavailability, functional foods,
carotenoids, cancer and antioxidants.