Litchi or Lychee is one of the delicious, yummy, and juicy fruits, which can be seen along with Mangoes in the markets during the scorching sunlight of the summer season. This is one of the few fruits being longed for by all age groups, young to old. The berries are adorable when seen on the trees, giving an astonishing look to the fruit lovers. It also makes many healthy recipes, desserts, juices, and ice creams.
It’s a medium-sized evergreen tree with 40-50 feet height; sometimes, its size may grow to 100 feet. Its oval or round-shaped fruit is about 4-5 cm long, 3 cm in diameter, and weigh about 10 gm. The outer cover can be removed easily after ripening the berries. Its fleshy part is juicy, luscious, and sweet.
It belongs to the Sapindaceae family, and the fruit’s botanical name is Litchi chinensis. It is a tropical fruit generally cultivated in Southern China, the original birthplace of lychee. In China, litchi has special significance as the Royal king and queen had served it as a ‘gift for loyal life’. Lots have been written in the ancient texts of China regarding the importance of litchi. Now, it is grown in all parts of the world. In America, it is widely seen in Hawaii, Florida, and California.
Indian litchi is known worldwide. The litchi of Muzaffarpur is world-famous. It is of export quality. About three-fourths of India’s litchi production comes from Muzaffarpur, Bihar.
Litchi for cancer prevention
Litchi has ample antioxidants and phytonutrients like flavonoids (quercetin and kaempferol), vitamin C, polyphenols, and proanthocyanidins. Free radicals are the offshoot of oxidative stress that changes the nature of normal cells into cancer cells. These antioxidants neutralise the free radicals, which are responsible for cancer and inflammation, and prevent the functioning of degenerative diseases. Beta-carotene is also associated with the fruit, which leads to the combating of most of the cancers. It prevents colon cancer because of adequate fibre, pectin, and water. Lychee also prevents the growth of breast, prostate, and liver cancer.
Litchi nutrition facts
100 g of Lychee contains the following nutritional values: Energy (66 calories), Vitamin C (71.5 mg), carbohydrate (16.53 gm), sugar (15.23 gms), fibre (1.3 gm), protein (0.83 gm), vitamin B1 (0.011 mg), vitamin B2 (0.065 mg), vitamin B3 (0.603 mg), vitamin B6 (0.10 mg), vitamin B9 (14 ugs), vitamin C (71.5 mg), calcium (5 mg), magnesium (10 mg), manganese (0.055 mg), phosphorous (31 mg) and potassium (171 mg). It contains fibre, vitamins, and antioxidants with no fats and cholesterol. It is a good source of oligopoly, proanthocyanidins, and other polyphenolic compounds. It has adequate vitamin C that protects the body from infections, inflammations, and free radicals. It has plenty of B-complex vitamins like thiamin, niacin, and folates that help in the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. It is rich in potassium, phosphorous, and copper and low in sodium.
Litchi for skincare
Litchi is a critical, delicious fruit that improves skin condition. The fruit is an effective agent for skin oils that result in less formation of acne on the skin. The rich source of vitamin C and plenty of water makes the skin fair and well-hydrated. Litchi is the skin’s best friend because of skin-friendly nutrients such as thiamin, copper, and niacin. Thiamin is suitable for natural skin as it ensures the metabolism of fats and protein. Copper helps heal damaged cells, while niacin hydrates the skin.
Medicinal uses of Litchi
Lychee contains an important phytochemical named Oligonol, which has features like anti-oxidants and anti-influenza. It improves blood flow to organs, is good for the skin as it prevents UV rays, and is known for weight loss. The ample amount of antioxidants and phytonutrients like flavonoids (quercetin and kaempferol), vitamin C, polyphenols, and proanthocyanidin combats free radicals, preventing many diseases.
Litchi for a healthy heart
Lychee is a rich source of antioxidants in the form of Vitamin C and oligonol and has the second-largest percentage of polyphenols among the fruits. All these reduce the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the amount of good cholesterol (HDL), thus reducing the chances of heart-related problems such as heart attack, stroke, and hypertension. Being a fibrous fruit, it controls fat formation, promoting cardio health. Potassium is good for the heart as it regulates the heartbeat by balancing electrolytes and maintaining sodium levels. At the same time, copper is effective in making red blood cells. One glass of litchi daily helps to normalise the heartbeat and prevent all types of cardiovascular diseases.
Litchi for strong bones
Lychee is abundant with those minerals which are suitable for healthy bones. The presence of phosphorous and magnesium helps to make bones more robust, while copper and manganese reduce the tendency of bone brittleness. Zinc and copper enhance vitamin D’s efficiency, which is integral to healthy and strong bones.
Litchi for digestion
Lychee is known to cleanse the stomach. It helps to treat heartburn and a burning sensation in the stomach. The seeds of litchi are astringent and are used to kill intestinal worms. The fibrous part of lychee and pectin dispels toxins from the bowel and ensures better colon health. Both fibre and pectin make stool movement easy and prevent constipation, piles, and colon cancer. These stimulate peristaltic activity as well as the secretion of gastric juices.
Litchi juice benefits
Litchi juice has many health and medicinal benefits. Being a seasonal fruit, one should try to have more and more litchi juice during June, July, and August. Some fantastic and surprising health benefits of litchi juice are given below.
- Litchi juice has no fat or cholesterol but is rich in dietary fibre that tends to fill the stomach. Thus, it is suitable for those who want to lose weight.
- It acts as an anti-ageing due to the high Vitamin C content and adequate water. Both help to keep the muscles well-hydrated and discourage the chances of pimples, wrinkles, spots, etc.
- Lychee is good for hair as ample Vitamin C content ensures blood circulation in the head region, which helps nourish the hair follicles.
- It strengthens our immune system because of Vitamin C and prevents colds, coughs, and flu.
- It enhances metabolism due to oligonol, vitamin C, and sufficient fibre.
- The proanthocyanidins in lychee show antiviral properties.
- Lychee prevents anaemia as the fruit is rich in copper, which is needed for developing RBC.
- The fruit fights stress due to stress combating vitamins, i.e. Vitamin B6.
Lychee may show the following side effects:
- Since it has ample sugar, diabetic patients should take care of it as it may imbalance the blood sugar.
- By nature, it comes under hot food, which may imbalance the nutrient proportions in the body.
- Excessive intake of lychees may result in nose bleeding, fever, and sore throat.