In the past decades the incidence of heart disease has increased, about three million people dying of cardiovascular disease in China per year (according to statistics from the Ministry of Public Health of China), which draws people’s great concern to find ways to take precautions. With the development of element analytical method, some types of chemical substances that are beneficial to cardiac health have been found. Lycopene is a very popular natural anti-oxidants found in recent years (Dai, 2011), as well as capsaicin and dietary fiber. Whilst some research focuses on the mechanism of action, little attention has been paid to usability issues, in particular to the generalization of health-giving chemical substances in ordinary meals. There is a lot of evidence that vegetables can positively contribute to prevent heart diseases, by supplying biologically active components. This article continues previous research in the field of Biochemistry and Medical Science, mainly trying to study the effective components which can prevent heart disease in edible vegetables.
Lycopene is a member of the carotenoids pigment family that conveys bright red color to many plants. Its name is obtained primarily from tomato. Lycopene is currently considered one of the most efficient antioxidants, protecting against free radicals that accelerate aging and damage critical parts of the cell (Liu, 2008). Recent studies have shown an inverse relationship between intake of tomatoes along with tissue lycopene levels and the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD).
Biological Function. Vau Herpen-Broekmans et al. (2004) evaluated the association between serum antioxidants and markers of endothelial function in 379 subjects sampled from the general population. He found inverse associations between lycopene and soluble ICAM-1. Martin, Wu and Meydani (2000) examined in vitro the effect of the five most prevalent plasma carotenoids on the expression of key adhesion molecules involved in the atherosclerosis process. While other carotenoids were ineffective, lycopene presented a strong ability to attenuate interleukin in human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC). Therefore, among all the carotenoids tested, lycopene appears to be the most effective in reducing both HAEC adhesion to monocytes and expression of adhesion molecules on the cell surface. These results suggest an important role for lycopene in attenuating atherogenesis (Cai, 2007). In summary, increased levels of lycopene have been associated with preventing coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis.
Source. Using the method of high-performance liquid chromatography, scientists detected lycopene in many kinds of plants, particularly in a high concentration in tomatoes and tomato products, such as ketchup, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. They account for more than 85% of the dietary intake of lycopene for most people (Rao, 2007). Not all tomatoes have equal amounts of lycopene, which depends on...