Lychee is sweet and a very fragrant fruit, which is usually available in the summer. This fruit originated in China, but today is found in most of the South East Asian countries. It is the member of soapberry family, Sapindaceae.
There are three sub-species of Lychee. It has rough skin outside while contains juicy and creamy white flesh inside. Lychee has an incredible taste and in modern times, it has found its niche in dessert, juice and ice cream.
Lychee is a small fruit packed with loads of healthy nutrients. It is considered an exotic fruit and has a very short shelf life. This is why it is available for a very limited time even during its season.
In ancient China, lychee was the favored fruit in the imperial corridors finding its greatest fans among the Kings and Queens; who would get these beautiful fruits transported to capital at a significant cost to the Kingdom.
See also: 45 Healthiest Fruit List On The Earth
Lychee is a very nutritious fruit. It has a high water content and is full of energy. (1)
Lychee has a high level of vitamin C in it and meets about 86% of the body’s daily requirement of this vitamin.
It contains 15.23 gms sugar and has a reasonable 1.3 gms of dietary fiber.
Lychees are a valuable source of Polyphenols that make it a reliable and highly recommended antioxidant.
The composition of minerals makes it an excellent fuel for the electrolyte balance in our body.
Due to its numerous health benefits lychee is used as an alternative medicine in China. It contains a healthy blend of nutrients that promote health.
So, know the amazing health benefits of lychee that can make a lot of difference to your fitness in a tasty way.
1. Strengthens Immunity
Vitamin C is a water-soluble Vitamin which means that it is not stored in the body. (2)
Lychee is an excellent source of Vitamin C and contains 71.5 mg per 100 g serving.
With a high amount of Vitamin C in it, lychee proves to be a good antioxidant that improves the immune function of our body.
Lychee increases immunity to protect against common diseases like a cough, cold and flu.
This condition begins with symptoms like general lethargy, spongy and bleeding gums, spot formation on skin and bleeding in the mucous membrane. It is a serious condition that can prove to be fatal if not controlled in time.
Wrap up : High Vitamin C content of Lychee makes it an excellent anti-oxidant which makes the immunity of our body strong. Lychees are also recommended to alleviate scurvy which is caused by deficiency of Vitamin C.
2. Protection from Free Radicals
Lychee contains a good amount of antioxidant Vitamin C, Vitamin B-complex and phytonutrient flavonoids. These antioxidants and phytonutrient flavonoids are an important nutrient that makes lychee healthy. (6, 7)
Antioxidants are required to protect the body from oxidative stress.
High oxidative stress is caused due to pollution and UV radiation. This process creates free radicals from oxygen molecules.
These free radicals destroy normal cell DNA and change the function of cells to form cancer cells.
But antioxidants neutralize these free radicals and acts as a shield to protect cells from damage. So lychee protects from cancer and tumors.
Free radicals are also known to cause premature aging and delay in cell repair. These are also taken care of by the anti-oxidants in out diets thereby reducing and controlling inflammation and degenerative diseases like Arthritis. (8)
Wrap up : Lychee contains flavonoid and anti-oxidants that protect from various types of cancers, inflammation and arrests the rapid progress of degenerative diseases.
3. The Blood Relation
Lychee is a rich source of nutrients that are required for the production and circulation of blood.
Hemoglobin in our blood transports oxygen throughout our body is made of Iron. Iron is what gives the red color to our blood that is a clear indication of the high content of iron and its importance in the blood. (9)
Folate is also an essential part of Hemoglobin. (10)
Magnesium plays an important role in forming blood clots in our body. Without the clotting function, a single cut can bleed out the last traces of blood from our body.
Copper is used by our bodies for healthy metabolism of Iron and formation of red blood cells (RBC). (11)
On top of all, Vitamin C is necessary for the absorption of Iron in the body.
No matter how much iron-rich diet you consume, it is not going to convert into healthy levels of hemoglobin in the blood if there is a deficiency of Vitamin C.
All these minerals- manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, Vitamin C and folate are present in lychee and make it a complete food for blood formation, its level and overall health.
Wrap up: The mineral composition of Lychee along with Vitamin C aids blood formation with a healthy count of red blood cells in it.
4. Increase Metabolism
Lychee contains a good amount of fiber and Vitamin B-complex, which increase metabolism.
Metabolism is required to assimilate, absorb and throw the excess nutrition out of our bodies. It includes fats, proteins, sugar and carbohydrates.
People suffering from insulin resistance due to poor metabolism must consume food items like Lychee, that is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids.
Though due to its high sugar content, lychees are just not recommended for diabetics, but those who have a potential threat of this disorder can take advantage of the healthy metabolism encouraging qualities of this fruit.
It also helps in dissolving fat from the body. The high water content of about 80-85% is also made lychee a great flushing agent.
Wrap up: Lychee is a metabolism booster which helps in cleaning out the body’s systems by flushing out excess sugar, fats and proteins from the body. It also helps in combating insulin resistance.
5. Skin’s Best Friend
Our skin bears the brunt of aging, pollution, exposure to harmful UV rays, stress and other lifestyle-related disturbances.
Though aging is a natural phenomenon but is expedited by rest of the factors mentioned earlier. The result is dull skin with fine lines that make you look much older than your age. The primary cause of
The primary cause of aging is free radicals produced in our body, due to high oxidative stress.
But antioxidants have proven to destroy these free radicals to slow the aging process. A right combination of food items in our diet can delay the onset of skin aging significantly.
Vitamin C and high water content of Lychees are an ideal blend of age-delaying factors. (13)
Vitamin C cleans the impurities and water flush them out. Both of these keep the skin radiant and well-hydrated diminishing the wrinkles and fine lines.
Wrap up: The anti-oxidant Vitamin C and high content of water in lychee keeps the skin well hydrated and cleans out the impurities in form of free radicals thereby making the skin look young and fresh.
6. Heart Disease & Blood Pressure
In a research, it was found that antioxidants rich foods lower blood pressure. Lychee contains a high amount of antioxidant Vitamin C.
A high fiber content also discourages fat formation and fat reserves in the body. Lychee contains a high amount of dietary fiber which proves the best nutrient that promotes cardiovascular health. (14)
Also, lychee has shown to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) level in blood. Thus, it improves the blood flow towards the heart and reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and hypertension.
Fiber-rich foods have proved to suppress appetite and increase metabolism. It brings down the overall blood cholesterol level that creates an obstruction to the blood circulation. (15)
Potassium further aids the heartbeat by keeping and regulating the muscle function of our body. (16)
Wrap up: The high fiber and Vitamin C in Lychee reduces the cholesterol levels in the body and potassium regulates the heart beat leading to an overall good cardiac health.
7. Aids Digestion & Bowel movements
The process of digestion is vital in nutrient absorption in our body.
Pectin with the dietary fiber of lychee is considered very beneficial for a bowel movement and maintaining a healthy digestive system. (17)
Both of these nutrient content make the stools bulky and soft so that they can pass through the anal passage quickly.
This function is further enhanced by the high water content of lychee as it is the combination of roughage and water that helps in preventing constipation.
Regular and complete emptying out of bowel not only cleanse the body but also protects from conditions like piles and colon cancer. (18)
Wrap up: The fiber, pectin and water in lychee aids healthy bowel movements and protect from constipation, Colon cancer and Piles.
8. Weight Loss & Fluid Balance
Maintaining an ideal weight is important for our body. But more important are the ways and means by which we do so.
Planning your healthy diet and exercises is a strict requirement without which your body can suffer and become deficient in many essential nutrients.
Mindless exercises can lead to major water loss through constant sweating. If this is not supplemented with right food, then all you will end up with is a cramped up and dehydrated the body.
Lychee also contains a good amount of potassium that is required to maintain sodium level. Also, high potassium is necessary to maintain fluid level i.e. Balance electrolyte.
Thus, it helps to maintain high blood pressure, and it reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack. (19)
Also, it contains minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, and folate that maintain blood pressure.
Lychee fruit is a rich source of nutrients. Along with these nutrients, it is the richest source of polyphenols in among fruits.
Among those, it is a rich source of polyphenol know as rutin.
Rutin is known to strengthen blood vessels. It is used by varicose veins and hemorrhoids, as well as bruising.
Deficiency of bioflavonoids may allow blood vessels to break easily. But eating Rutin rich fruit can protect if you bruise easily.
So take benefit of lychee rutin content and strengthen your blood vessels.
10. Mitochondrial Health
Lychee contains a large amount of phenolic compound and also antioxidant activities. Due to these high nutrient varieties, it protects from oxidative stress.
In animal studies, it was found that Lychee phenolic compounds protected against stress-induced liver injury by modulating mitochondrial dysfunction. (22)
Proanthocyanidins content in lychee seeds has potent anti-viral activity. It protects against coxsackie virus and herpes simplex virus. (23)
12. More antioxidant power than vitamin c
Proanthocyanidins in lychee seed are a special nutrient that we still don’t know much.
Many research is done to find the benefits. It is found to be much more powerful antioxidant than potential Vitamin C. (24)
Thus it gives another reason to eat but to get benefits you need to eat seed part.
Flavonoids are strong antioxidants that play a crucial role in protect from degenerative diseases like cancer.
Antioxidants are also required for normal functioning and development of cells and nerves that lead to optimum health.
Quercetin in lychee fruit is a powerful antioxidant that protects from cancer.
It also contains kaempferol that is heart healthy.
A Biggest Misconception
Oligonol is a nutrient that is said to found in Lychee fruit but its found in its skin.
Oligonol is a patent developed mixture of lychee skin and green tea, by the Amino Up Chemical Corporation in Japan.
So it can’t be considered as the part of the fruit.
Plant Compounds That Make It Special
Lychees are a healthy fruit loaded with multiple nutrients. Antioxidants activity is high due to its antioxidants and flavonoids content.
Know the top nutrients that make preferred fruit to eat.
- Vitamin C: Lychees is loaded with a high amount of Vitamin C. 71.mg in 100 g which is 119% of RDA. Protect from chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart diseases. It also strengthens body immunity to fight many diseases.
- Rutin: Rutin also protects from chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart diseases (25, 26)
- Quercetin: It protects from cancer and also heals cell damage caused due to oxidative stress. (27)
- Kaempferol: It has an anti-inflammatory property that makes it heart healthy. (28)
- Epicatechin: It is an antioxidant that boosts heart health. Also, it protects from diabetes and cancer (29, 30).
- Proanthocyanidin: Proanthocyanidin in lychees seed possess strong effect than Vitamin C.
More about Lychee
In some parts of India and Vietnam, lychee has been suspected to cause a disease called Acute encephalitis (AES). Though the virus causing AES earned a disreputable name of “lychee virus”, but most of the studies and scientific observations have not been able to link these two conclusively.
Lychee tree is an evergreen shrub that grows almost 10-28 meters, but the fruit itself only lasts a few days after ripening. China is the largest producer of this fruit followed by India.
Since it is such a rare and exotic fruit with health benefits that go far and wide, this luscious and succulent treat must be one fruit to look forward to during the summers.
Side Effects of Lychee
Lychee is a wonderful fruit that tastes as good as it is beneficial for our bodies. However, if you tend to consume it more quantity, then the high sugar content should be kept in mind.
If diabetes runs in your family, then the consumption of lychee might necessitate a medical opinion. However, in moderate quantities, it is healthy.
In a rare case, it can cause allergies. (31)
In recent news, it was found that there were many death reports due to lychee. After going through in-depth it was found that malnourished children had a higher risk. (32)
Hypoglycin is toxin found in lychee at a high amount. It is found to inhibit the body ability to synthesize glucose, that leads to low blood sugar level or hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycin has affected children who ate it on empty stomach. It doesn’t have any considerable effect on the adult. It’s recommended to give it to children after an evening meal and its consumption should be limited.
Take this precaution and stay protected from such side-effects.