Lychee: Important Things To Know

Important Things To Know About Lychee - A to Z Fruit & Veg

Origin

The Lychee is a tropical fruit. It is native from China where it was very popular in the imperial court. Lychees are extensively grown in China, India, Thailand, Vietnam and the rest of tropical Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent, and more recently in South Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean, Australia and the United States. The lychee is a small fleshy fruit and is best consumed fresh.

Health Benefits

Lychee, which has the scientific name Litchi chinensis is in the soapberry family, but is the only member of its genus, meaning that it is quite unique in the world. It is a fruit tree that can grow in tropical and subtropical climates and is native to China. It smells very much like a flower and is often used to flavour cocktails and dishes because of its unique scent, which is lost if not consumed fresh. The fruit is almost primarily eaten as a dessert food in Asian nations, but it has begun to make the leap into more western markets, especially in luxury or high-end restaurants.

  1. Antiviral Capacity: The proanthocyanidins in lychee have been studied extensively, and they have also demonstrated antiviral capabilities. 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.
  2. Cancer Prevention: The polyphenolic compounds and proanthocyanidins found in lychee are actually even more powerful than vitamin C in neutralising free radicals and protecting the body from various diseases and afflictions. Free radicals are the harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause cancer, heart disease, cognitive disorders, and premature ageing, among many other undesirable conditions. Lychee is a rich source of these organic compounds, so it can be consumed as an effective preventative measure of various cancers.
  3. Healthy Heart: The flavonoids, fibre and antioxidants in lychees may support heart health. In addition, oligonol derived from lychee fruit has been shown to increase nitric oxide levels in animal studies.5 Increasing nitric oxide in your blood may open con­stricted blood vessels and lower your blood pressure.
    It should be noted, however, that Oligonol is a mixture of antioxidants from lychee skin and other sources (such as green tea), but does not occur naturally in lychee fruit.
  4. Maintains blood pressure: Lychee is a good source of potassium that helps to maintain the balance of fluid in the body. Lychee has 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 the cardiovascular system. Dried lychee contains the potassium thrice in comparison to the fresh Lychee.
  5. More Antioxidant Power Than Vitamin C: Additional proanthocyanidins in lychee seeds showed more potent antioxidant activity than even vitamin C,14 which suggests there’s still much to learn about the health potential of this exotic fruit.
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Important Things To Know About Lychee - A to Z Fruit & Veg

Nutritional value

Water g 81.76
Energy kcal 66
Protein g 0.83
Total lipid (fat) g 0.44
Carbohydrate, by difference g 16.53
Fibre, total dietary g 1.3
Sugars, total g 15.23

Minerals

Calcium, Ca mg 5
Iron, Fe mg 0.31
Magnesium, Mg mg 10
Phosphorus, P mg 31
Potassium, K mg 171
Sodium, Na mg 1
Zinc, Zn mg 0.07

Vitamins

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid – mg 71.5
Thiamin – mg 0.011
Riboflavin – mg 0.065
Niacin – mg 0.603
Vitamin B-6 – mg 0.1
Folate, DFE – µg 14
Vitamin B-12 – µg 0
Vitamin A, RAE – µg 0
Vitamin A, IU – IU 0
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) – mg 0.07
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) – µg 0
Vitamin D – IU 0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) – µg 0.4

Lipids

Fatty acids, total saturated – g 0.099
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated – g 0.12
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated – g 0.132
Fatty acids, total trans – g 0
Cholesterol – mg 0

Amino Acids

Other

Caffeine – mg 0

Source: Mercola, Organic Facts, USDA