3 scientifically backed benefits of lychee
If you’ve never tasted lychee, you’re seriously missing something.
Not only does this fruit provide a sweet flavor, it is also loaded with some pretty sweet health benefits. It contains many important nutrients and beneficial plant compounds to help you feel better. Here’s why lychee is worth trying and how to eat it.
Lychee (aka lychee) is a type of fruit native to southern China. China is the largest producer of lychee in the world, but the fruit is also cultivated in other places, such as India, Africa and the United States.
Lychee fruits look quite unique. They are covered with a reddish pink colored skin and a leather and alligator feel. This is why it is sometimes called “alligator strawberry”. You can’t eat the hard skin, so be sure to remove it before digging into the soft, semi-translucent flesh.
What does it taste like? The fruit has a soft, juicy texture and a berry flavor. Some people can also taste floral nuances there.
Depending on the variety, lychee fruits can be round or heart-shaped. They are also quite small, averaging around 1 inch in diameter.
Although lychees are an integral part of the diets of many people around the world, they are generally difficult to find in the United States. You can check out local Asian markets and specialty stores like Whole Foods, or you can order lychees online.
Why make an effort to find this fruit? Here are some of the main benefits of lychee.
Lychees are a great source of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to feel better.
Here is the nutritional breakdown for 1 cup of fresh lychee:
- Calories: 125
- Carbohydrates: 31 grams
- Protein: 1.5 grams
- Fat: 0.83 grams
- Fiber: 2.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 151 percent of daily value (DV)
- Folate: 7 percent of the DV
- Niacin: 7 percent of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 11 percent of DV
- Potassium: 7 percent of the DV
- The copper: 31 percent of DV
Lychees are particularly rich in vitamin C, a nutrient involved in very important bodily processes such as immune function, neurotransmitter synthesis and collagen production.
Vitamin C also works as a powerful antioxidant in your body. This means that it helps protect your cells from damage.
Lychees are a rich source of copper, a mineral that supports enzymes involved in iron metabolism, energy production, and neurotransmitter synthesis. Copper is also involved in immune function, the development of blood vessels, etc.
In addition to vitamin C and copper, this fruit contains the B vitamins folate, niacin and B6. It also provides potassium, an essential nutrient for cell function and healthy blood pressure control.
Drinking lychees, along with other fruits and vegetables, can help you meet your daily vitamin and mineral needs.
Like many other fruits, lychees are packed with friendly plant compounds that can benefit your body in a number of ways.
Research shows that lychees contain polyphenolic compounds like gallic acid, epicatechin, and caffeic acid. And don’t forget that lychees are rich in vitamin C.
All of these compounds act as powerful antioxidants in your body. They help protect your cells from damage caused by pro-oxidants like free radicals that could otherwise lead to disease. Many of these compounds also have anti-inflammatory effects.
These benefits can have significant impacts on your health. In fact, studies suggest that diets high in fruit that are high in antioxidants may help protect against health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Your liver is involved in a bunch of critical functions such as detoxification, digestion, vitamin storage, and more. It is therefore important to keep this organ in perfect condition.
There are several ways you can support and protect your liver. Not abusing alcohol, avoiding smoking and using drugs, and eating a healthy diet can all help.
Interestingly, preliminary research suggests that consuming lychees may also help keep your liver healthy.
A few studies in rodents with liver damage due to stress or alcohol have shown that treatment with lychee extract can help:
- accelerate the regeneration of liver cells
- reduce oxidative stress by scavenging free radicals
- reduce the accumulation of fat in the liver
- improve the function of mitochondria (the energy-producing part) of liver cells
While these findings are quite interesting, it doesn’t mean that eating lychees will magically improve your liver health.
Keep in mind that these studies were performed on rodents, not humans. In addition, they used concentrated lychee extract which is very different from the normal consumption of whole lychee fruit.
Still, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables in general is a great way to support liver health. So bring the lychees!
If you’ve never had any of these sweet fruits before, you might need a crash course.
Lychees are delicious fresh, so this is a good place to start. Look for a ripe lychee, which will have a shiny skin that is slightly soft to the touch but not too much soft, tender. If a lychee is super soft and completely collapses when you gently press it down, it’s probably past its prime.
Most lychees are pinkish-red when ripe, but some can be orange or even slightly yellow. A ready-to-eat lychee will also give off a sweet, flowery scent.
Now let’s move on to the eating part.
Simply remove the bumpy skin and throw it away. Then cut the flesh with a knife and remove the large stone in the center of the fruit. The kernel is inedible, so you can get rid of it too.
Once you have removed the skin and the pit, you can enjoy the sweet fruit of the lychee.
While they are fabulous on their own, you can try adding them to dishes like fruit salads, savory salads, and desserts.
While there is no doubt that lychees can be a delicious part of a balanced diet for most people, some people can have a pretty severe reaction to consuming lychees.
In fact, some people can have anaphylactic and inflammatory reactions to lychees, so it’s important to watch out for these fruits, especially if you’ve never eaten them before. Consult a healthcare practitioner before eating lychee if you have other allergies, such as a mugwort allergy.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Consumption of lychee has been linked to an increased risk of brain inflammation in malnourished children in some parts of the world, such as India. This relationship is complicated and involves a specific toxin found in lychees that can cause dangerously low blood sugar when a person is malnourished.
Lychees have a sweet, floral taste and are packed with important vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and potassium.
Plus, they’re rich in a variety of antioxidant compounds, which are important for supporting overall health and protecting your cells from oxidative damage.
Depending on where you live, these beautiful fruits can be hard to find, so you may have to go to a specialty store to purchase them.