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 summer season. This is one of the few fruits, which is being longing by all age group young to old. The berries are adorable when seen on the trees as these give astonishing look to the fruit lovers. It is also used in making of many healthy recipes, deserts, juices and ice creams.
It’s a medium sized evergreen tree with 40-50 feet height, sometimes it’s height may grow to 100 feet. Its oval or round shaped fruit is about 4-5 cm long, 3 cm in diameter and having the weight of about 10 gm. The outer cover can remove easily after ripening the berries. It’s fleshy part is juicy, luscious and sweet.
It belongs to Sapindaceae family and botanical name of the fruit is Litchi chinensis. It is a tropical fruit, generally cultivated in Southern China, the original birth place of lychee. In China, litchi is having special significance as it had been served the Royal king and queen 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-fourth of India’s litchi production comes from Muzaffarpur, Bihar.
Litchi for cancer prevention
Litchi has ample amount of antioxidants and phyto-nutrients 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 neutralize the free radicals, which are responsible for cancer, inflammations and prevent the functioning of degenerative diseases. Beta-carotene is also associated with the fruit that leads in combating of most of the cancers. It prevents from colon cancer because the presence of adequate amount of fiber, 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: It contains energy (66 calories), Vitamin C (71.5 mg), carbohydrate (16.53 gm), sugar (15.23 gms), fiber (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 ug), vitamin C (71.5 mg), calcium (5 mg), magnesium (10 mg), manganese (0.055 mg), phosphorous (31 mg) and potassium (171 mg). It is full of fiber, vitamins and antioxidants with no fats and cholesterol. It is a good source of oligonols, proanthocyanidins and other polyphenolic compounds. It has adequate amount of 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 carbohydrate, protein and fats. It is rich in potassium, phosphorous, copper and low in sodium.
Litchi for skin care
Litchi is an important delicious fruit that improves the 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 skin’s one of the best friends because the presence of skin friendly nutrients such as thiamin, copper and niacin. Thiamin is good for natural skin as it ensures the metabolism of fats and protein. Copper helps the healing process of damaged cells while niacin hydrates the skin.
Medicinal uses of Litchi
Lychee contains important phyto-chemical named Oligonol, which seems to be having features like anti-oxidants and anti-influenza. It improves blood flow to organs, good for skin as it prevents UV rays and known for weight loss too. The ample amount of antioxidants and phyto-nutrients like flavonoids (quercetin and kaempferol), vitamin C, polyphenols and proanthocyanidins combats free radicals result in preventing of many diseases.
Litchi for healthy heart
Lychee is a rich source of antioxidants in the form of Vitamin C, oligonol and having the second largest percentage of polyphenols among the fruits. All these reduce the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) thus reduces the chances of heart related problems such as heart attack, stroke and hypertension. Being a fibrous fruit, it controls fat formation in turn promote cardio health. Potassium is good for heart as it tends to regulate the heart beat by balancing the electrolyte and maintain the level of sodium. Whereas copper is effective in making of red blood cells. It is recommended that 1 glass of litchi daily helps to normalize the heart beat and prevents all type of cardiovascular diseases.
Litchi for strong bones
Lychee is abundant with those minerals, which are good for healthy bones. The presence of phosphorous and magnesium helps to make bones stronger while copper and manganese reduces the tendency of bones brittleness. Zinc and copper enhances the efficiency of vitamin D, which is an integral part of healthy and strong bones.
Litchi for digestion
Lychee is known to cleanse the stomach. It helps to treat heartburn and burning sensation in the stomach. The seeds of litchi are astringent in nature and use to kill the intestinal worms. The fibrous part of lychee and pectin dispels toxins from the bowel and ensures better colon health. Both fiber and pectin make stool movement easy and prevents from constipation, piles and colon cancer. These stimulate peristaltic movement as well as secretion of gastric juices.
Litchi juice benefits
Litchi juice has many health and medicinal benefits. Being it a seasonal fruits, one should try to have more and more amount of litchi juice during the month of June, July and August. Some of the amazing and surprising health benefits of litchi juice are given below.
- Litchi juice has no fat or cholesterol but rich in dietary fiber that is having the tendency of filling the stomach. Thus, good for those who want to lose weight.
- It acts as anti aging due to high content of Vitamin C and adequate amount of water. Both helps to keep the muscles well-hydrated and discourages the chances of pimples, wrinkles, spots, etc.
- Lychee is good for hair as ample content of Vitamin C ensures blood circulation in the head region, which helps to nourish the hair follicles.
- It strengthens our immune system because of Vitamin C and prevents from cold, cough and flu.
- It enhances metabolism due to oligonol, vitamin C and sufficient amount of fiber.
- The proanthocyanidins in lychee show antiviral properties.
- Lychee prevents anemia as the fruit is rich in copper that is needed for development of RBC.
- The fruit fights stress due to stress combating vitamin i.e. Vitamin B6.
Lychee may show following side effects:
- Since, it has ample amount of sugar therefore the 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 nutrients proportions in the body.
- Excessive intake of lychees may result in nose bleeding, fever and sore throat.