Posted by: godshealingplants | December 16, 2019

LYCHEE FOR YOUR HEALTH

HISTORY

Lychee is native to Southern China and has been cultivated for more than 4,000 years in China and was once considered a great delicacy of the Imperial Court. It is now cultivated in many nations around the world, but the main production still resides in Southeast Asia, China, India, and Southern Africa. 

ABOUT

Lychee is an evergreen tree growing to a height of 40-50 feet, with the average 5-year-old tree in India producing 500 fruits and a 20-year-old tree 4,000 to 5,000 fruits.

One tree in Florida produced a record 1,200 tons of lychee in one year.

The flowers are small and greenish to white to yellowish.

Lychee is soft and pulpy, white or pink in color, and the size is usually about 2 inches in height and width. The fruit is primarily eaten as a dessert in Asian nations and is growing popular in other parts of the world too. 

Because it does best in warm, humid climates, lychee thrives in Hawaii, Florida, and California. It can be found internationally now, from Australia to Brazil, Burma to Africa. 

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE

Lychee is packed with many nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin, folate, copper, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese.

It is a great source of dietary fiber, protein, and a good source of proanthocyanidins and polyphenolic compounds. 

HEALTH BENEFITS

 Let’s take a look at the benefits provided by lychee:

 Aids in Digestion – It has high amount of total dietary fiber which helps to stimulate the digestive health. Fiber enhances the peristaltic motion of the muscles of small intestines and increases the speed of food passage. It enhances the digestive and gastric juices which assist in the effective absorption of nutrients. It helps to lower the gastrointestinal disorders and constipation. 

Anti-Aging – Lychees are a rich source of vitamin C and powerful antioxidant to fight free radicals. It also contains polygonal that useful for aging and reduce dark spots. Thus, consumption of lychees effective in disappearing signs of aging such as fine lines and dark spots. 

Antiviral – The proanthocyanidins in lychee have been studied extensively, and they have also demonstrated antiviral capabilities by researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  Litchitannin A2, a compound found in lychee, has been closely connected to preventing the spread or outbreak of viruses, including herpes simplex virus and coxsackievirus. 

Boosts Immunity – As already mentioned, perhaps the most significant nutrient in lychee is vitamin C, and this fruit has more than 100% of the daily requirement of ascorbic acid in a single serving. This means that your immune system gets a major boost, as vitamin C is a major antioxidant compound and is known to stimulate the activity of white blood cells, which are the main defensive line of your body’s immune system. 

Circulates Blood – Lychee contains copper which is essential for the formation of red blood cells though iron is related with red blood cells. Copper helps to enhance the circulation of blood and increase the oxygenation of the cells and organs. 

Controls Blood Pressure – Lychee is a good source of potassium that helps to maintain the balance of fluid in the body; it contains a low amount of sodium. The balance of fluid assists in the metabolic functions and hypertension. Potassium acts as a vasodilator that helps to lower the constriction of arteries and blood vessels. It also lowers the stress on cardiovascular system. Dried lychee contains three times more potassium in comparison to the fresh lychee. 

Helps the Body’s Metabolism – Lychee is also a source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate. This vitamin helps the body to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Maintains Healthy Hair – Once more, lychees are a good source of vitamin C, which plays an active role in maintaining the integrity of the microcirculation, thus ensuring an adequate blood supply to the hair follicles.

Maintains a Healthy Heart – Lychees can normalize blood pressure and heart rate so that it can protect the symptoms of stroke and coronary heart disease. Consuming one glass of lychee juice every day will normalize the heartbeat. 

Maintaining Bone Health – Lychees are a source of food that is rich in phosphorus and magnesium, which gave strong support to the bones. Minerals such as copper and manganese strengthen brittle bones. These minerals increase the effectiveness of vitamin D and affect the assimilation of calcium that maintains bone health. 

Prevents Cancer – Lychee has proanthocyanidins and polyphenolic compounds which help to eliminate the free radicals and prevent the body from various afflictions and diseases. Free radicals are the dangerous byproducts of the cellular metabolism that could lead to heart disease, cancer, premature ageing and cognitive disorders. Lychee is rich in these organic compounds which reduces the chances of cancer. 

HOW TO BUY AND STORE

When shopping for fresh lychees, there are numerous characteristics that you should look out for to make sure that you’re getting only the best fruits for you and your family.

These include color, fragrance and fruit hardness. Here are a few tips to help you get the best lychees in the market: 

  • Color – The shade of lychee skin varies from pink-red to plum. This depends on the variety you’re buying. When choosing, make sure that you don’t get the fruits that still have a green shade as this indicates that they are still unripe. 
  • Fragrance – Fresh lychees exude a distinct lush and sweet fragrance.
  • Hardness – You can easily determine whether a lychee is ripe by gently pressing on the skin with your thumb. If they’re ripe, the skin would give way a bit but not all the way. Soft lychees are usually already overripe.

Litchis are seasonal fruits, and are usually available from June through October. They are highly perishable, and once plucked from the tree, they do not ripen any further.

Litchis don’t have a long shelf life. When stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container, they can last about 10 days. Refrigeration usually turns the shell of the litchi darker without affecting the fruit.

 HOW TO PREPARE

 Separate each fruit from the stalk and wash them in cold water.

To peel; gently pinch at the stem end and peel away outer coat slowly. Just use your thumbnail, or a small knife to tear and lift the peel off, it comes off quite easily if ripe.

Alternatively, using a small paring knife, make an incision in its tough outer skin lengthwise all the way to the tip. Take care not to squeeze its flesh, or else, you may squirt and lose juice!

Next; carefully peel away the tough outer skin along with the thin inner membrane to expose beautiful, jelly textured translucent white flesh. Eat peeled whole berry, as you eat grapes. Do not bite. To enjoy, gently suck its divinely sweet juice and then spit out the seed. 

HOW TO ENJOY

Lychee slices can be a great addition to fruit salads and dressings. It can be a refreshing drink during the summer season. And it can be used in jellies, jams, sorbet, sauces, and syrups.

Lychee mixes well with juices such as banana, strawberry, mango, papaya and coconut water.

Coconut cream with lychee

Lychee and berry torte

Coconut pudding with lychee and mango

Coconut tapioca with lychee and pineapple

Lychee Ice Cream

 Creamy lychee drink 

 

Caramelized lychee 

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PRECAUTIONS

Lychee fruit allergic reactions are quite rare to occur. Its sweet pulp minus the seed can be safely given to children. People with diabetes however, should avoid eating too many of them because of their high sugar content. Please always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet.

 

REFERENCES

https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/lychee.html  

http://www.herbalteasonline.com/lychee-tea.php

https://saydiet.wordpress.com/tag/side-effects-of-litchi/

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/Lychee.html

https://www.britannica.com/plant/litchi-fruit

http://topfoodfacts.com/lychee-fruit/

http://tenrandomfacts.com/lychee/  

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