Category Archives: Lychee

Lychee: Health Benefits

The lychee, or “litchi,” is a delicious exotic fruit popular throughout China and other Asian countries. With a thin, bumpy pink peel and a pearly white flesh, the fruit has a delicately milky and sweet taste. However, the lychee also has a multitude of proven health benefits. The fruit contains very low levels of potentially harmful compounds such as unsaturated fats, and with its delicious taste, it is a safe and healthy snack. But what else can it do?

lychees

A lychee’s pearly white inside has a delicious, delicate sweet taste.

First off, the lychee has high levels of vitamin C, an excellent health benefit it provides—over 72 mg per 100 grams of lychee, and the daily requirement for humans is only 100 mg. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a powerful antioxidant that keeps your body in balance. Vitamin C is essential to healthy living but also gives your immune system an extra boost, helping fight off harmful chemicals such as foreign pathogens and free radicals, which can cause cancer. A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology showed that with its high levels of antioxidants, consumption of the lychee fruit could reduce the formation and progression of breast cancer, a problem that is becoming increasingly important in modern society.

The lychee also contains good amounts of essential minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium—each serving of lychee contains at least 10 mg of magnesium, 31 mg of phosphorus, and 5 mg of calcium. These three minerals are necessary for bone growth, so lychee can be an excellent snack for growing children. However, if you are past the stage of growth, these three minerals can also help you maintain and replenish bone health.

Lychee is just a great fruit overall if you’re looking to feel better about yourself and your body. As a mild digestive and diuretic, some lychee after each meal can aid your digestive processes and lead to a more balanced and better you. As a rich source of fiber and carbohydrates, a serving of lychee can help regulate your digestive system and give you a healthy boost of energy, leaving you feeling awake and ready for whatever may come. As a juicy and delicious fruit as well, eating a serving of lychee anytime in your day will result in a happier and healthier person.

Lychee: A Part of Chinese Culture

The lychee is a unique fruit native to China, and is a huge part of China’s ancient and rich culture and cuisine.  The lychee is a type of soapberry, and it features a pristine-looking red “peel” encasing delicate, white flesh with a delicious, perfume-like flavor.  Not only does the lychee boast delicious, unique flavor, it also comes with a variety of proven health benefits.

The lychee has been a part of Chinese cuisine and culture for ages.  In fact, it is known that the lychee was grown in ancient China as early as 2000 BC.  In stories from Chinese culture, the lychee has long been valued as a delicacy in the Chinese Imperial Court.  Since then, the lychee has been cultivated in more and more areas, and now is cultivated all throughout South and Southeast Asia.  Recently, lychees have even been grown in warmer regions of the United States and Australia, such as California and Hawaii.

The lychee’s flesh, encased in a thin red rind, is known to be pure, smoothly textured, and especially, perfume-flavored.  However, the perfume flavor is lost during canning, so I wouldn’t recommend buying canned lychees, though that may be the only option for you.  Though refrigeration does cause the rind of the fruit to turn darker, the flavor is not hurt.

It is common to see lychees being sold fresh in Asian stores.  Worldwide demand for the lychee has grown – more and more supermarkets around the world are offering fresh lychees.

Much history and culture surrounds the lychee.  In fact, since the 1st century, lychees were said to be in huge demand at the Chinese Imperial Court, that the emperor created a special delivery service in which the fastest horses would bring fresh lychees from Southeastern China.

Lychees do not lack health benefits: they provide great amounts of essential vitamins and nutrients – eating just nine lychees provides a whole day’s worth of vitamin C.  A single cup of lychee also provides many other necessary nutrients, such as copper, phosphorus, and potassium.  Lychees, like other exotic fruit, have another benefit: they are extremely low in saturated fat and sodium, and contain no cholesterol at all.

Lychees have also been found to provide good amounts of polyphenols and fatty acids, which are necessary for the body.  Other health benefits include a variety of helpful amino acids.

The lychee is quite similar to its relative, the longan, in terms of health benefits.  However, it is important to note that the lychee provides several fatty acids while the longan does not, while the longan provides more amino acids than the lychee.  In any case, both provide great health benefits and are a great addition to any diet.

Further reading

  1. [amazon asin=1416205101&text=500 Smoothies & Juices: The Only Smoothie & Juice Compendium You’ll Ever Need (500 Cooking (Sellers))]
  2. [amazon asin=159979196X&text=Harnessing The Healing Power Of Fruit: The New Paradigm for Optimum Health]