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Health Benefits of Lychees (Litchi)

First discovered in China, Lychees ‘litchi’, off late has collected lot of infamy due to the recent ‘encephalopathy’ related deaths it caused in more than 110 children in the state of Bihar, India. Peer reviewed Medical analysis concluded that Methylene cyclopropyl-glycine (MCPG), a transformed amino acid found in the fruit seed, known to lower blood sugar levels, can trigger hypoglycaemic shock and that is what caused these unfortunate deaths.

Lychee or Litchi is a sweet fruit that grows in clusters. This juicy fruit is oval or round with a pinkish-brown leathery skin. The edible flesh is white and surrounds a dark inedible seed in the centre.  Lychee is known for its flowery and sweet taste. It has a short shelf life.

Nutritional Facts of Lychee

Lychee is laden with good amount of antioxidant Vitamin C, Vitamin B-complex, phytonutrient flavonoids, fiber, anti-inflammatory benefits.

As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 100 gm of lychee contains 66 calories, 0.83 gm of proteins, 1.3 gm of fiber, 16.53 gm of carbohydrates, 0.4 gm of fats, 14 µg of folates, 7.1 mg of choline, 71.5 mg of vitamin C, 1 mg of sodium, 171 mg of potassium, 0.31 mg of iron, 5 mg of calcium, 31 mg of phosphorous, 10 mg of magnesium, and 0.07 mg of zinc.

Potential Health Benefits of Lychees (Litchi)

1/6. Boosts immunity

1. The high vitamin C, antioxidants, and phytonutrient content of lychee make it an effective immune-booster.

2. Vitamin C stimulates the activity of white blood cells and protects the body against foreign harmful bacteria.

3. Vitamin C protects the immune system, decreases the severity of allergic reactions, and wards away illness and infection.

2/6. Helps in digestion 

1. The high fibre, pectin, and water content present in litchi promote smooth digestion. They protect against constipation, hemorrhoids, and colon cancer. 

2. The fibre present in litchi regulates smooth bowel movement. It adds bulk to the stool and is beneficial in constipation and other gastric complaints.  It stimulates the digestive and gastric juices thereby, boosting efficient nutrient absorption.

3/6. Regulates blood pressure

1. Litchi being a rich source of potassium helps in controlling the blood pressure. Potassium helps in keeping the heart-healthy.

2. The vasodilatory properties of potassium relax the blood vessels thus, controlling blood pressure.

4/6. Strengthens bones

The magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, and manganese content present in litchi enhances calcium absorption in the bones, thus making the bones healthy and strong.

5/6. Treats inflammation

The flavanols present in lychee possess anti-inflammatory properties thus, treats inflammation and tissue damage caused by inflammation.

6/6. Other possible benefits…

Litchi produces several health benefits, apart from the health benefits mentioned above, it also produces few more such as promotes cardiovascular health, boosts blood circulation, good for skin health, helps in weight loss, possessesantiviral properties, prevents signs of aging, removes blemishes, promotes hair growth. 

Lychees (Litchi) possesses anti-cancer properties, prevents cataract, acts against influenza, prevents blood vessel rupture, provides instant energy, protects from herpes virus, increases libido, and prevents anaemia.

Search should to go into the blood sugar reducing Methylene cyclopropyl-glycine (MCPG) present in the fruit seed. Offering 40% more Vitamin C than a medium size orange, it is fast turning out to be  the latest immunity boasting super fruit.

How to incorporate Litchi in the Diet?

Litchi can be best consumed fresh after removing the skin. They can be added to various dishes. Some of the ways by which it can be incorporated in the diet are as follows…

  • Added in salsa.
  • Prepared sauce.
  • Consumed fresh.
  • Used to prepare jam.
  • Added in fruit salads.
  • Cooked in hot dishes.
  • Used to garnish cocktails.
  • Used to prepare a fruit cocktail.
  • Used as an accompaniment to pork and duck.
  • Spread on pancakes, whole wheat tortillas, or flatbread.

How to prepare Litchi Lemonade?

Take around 12 peeled and pitted litchis and blend it till a puree is formed.

Take 3 cups water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 3 tablespoons sugar and add it to the puree and blend it.

Serve the litchi lemonade with ice cubes.

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