Lychee

lychee 2Lychee is a small fruit with a sweet smell and taste, which is available in the summer. It is a small fruit packed with healthy nutrients. It has rough skin outside while contains juicy flesh inside. It is used as medicine in China.[1]
The lychee is cultivated in China, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Australia, Mexico and parts of Southern Africa. And China is the main producer, followed by India

Lychee is a highly rich nutrient fruit. It contains a high amount of soluble fibre known as pectin which is beneficial to protect from colon cancer. It contains a good amount of antioxidants that protect the body from carcinogens. Carcinogens are free radicals that are produced in the body due to oxidative stress. So, lychee is effective to protect from cancer, aging, arthritis and degenerative disease. Also, it is a great source of potassium which is important for maintaining blood pressure. Along with these, it contains a high amount of other nutrients that promotes health. So, know the amazing lychee health benefits and nutrition facts.[1]

History

Cultivation of lychee began in the region of southern China, Malaysia, and northern Vietnam. Wild trees still grow in rainforests in Guangdong province and on Hainan Island. Unofficial records in China refer to lychee as far back as 2000 BC.

In the 1st century, fresh lychees were in such demand at the Imperial Court that a special courier service with fast horses would bring the fresh fruit from Guangdong. There was great demand for lychee in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), according to Cai Xiang, in his Li Chi pu (Treatise on Lychees). It was also the favourite fruit of Emperor Li Longji (Xuanzong)'s favoured concubine Yang Yuhuan (Yang Guifei). The emperor had the fruit delivered at great expense to the capital.

In the Chinese classical work, Shanklin Fu, it is stated that the alternate name, meaning leaving its branches, is so-called because once the fruit is picked it deteriorates quickly.

The lychee attracted the attention of European travellers, such as Juan González de Mendoza in his History of the great and mighty kingdom of China (1585; English translation 1588), based on the reports of Spanish friars who had visited China in the 1570s gave the high fruit praise.[2]

Health Benefits of Lychee

  • Increase Immunity
  • Protects from Free Radicals
  • Increase Blood formation
  • Increase Metabolism and Promotes healthy weight loss
  • Prevent Early Aging
  • Prevent High Blood pressure
  • Protection from Arthritis
  • Protect from Asthma
  • Improve cardiovascular health

Why Lychee Fruit is so Healthy

Increase Immunity: Lychee is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It contains 71.5 mg / 100 g which fulfils 119% of the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance). With a high amount of Vitamin C, an antioxidant it increases immune system function. It increases immunity to protect against common diseases like a cough, cold, and flu. Vitamin C also increases immune system function to protect from infections.[1]

Nutrients

Fresh whole lychee contains a total 72 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit, an amount representing 86% of the Daily Value (DV) (table, right). On average, consuming nine peeled lychee fruits would meet an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement but otherwise, would supply little nutrient content. A 100 g serving of raw lychee fruit provides, among other dietary minerals in minor amounts, 7% of copper, 4% of phosphorus and 4% of potassium (for DV in a 2000-calorie diet) (table). Lychees are low in saturated fat and sodium.[2]

Phytochemicals

Lychees have moderate amounts of polyphenols, shown in one French study to be higher than several other fruits analysed, such as grapes and apples. For phenolic composition, flavan-3-ol monomers and dimers were the primary compounds representing about 87% of total polyphenols that declined in content during storage or browning. Cyanidin-3-glucoside represented 92% of total anthocyanins, with malvidin-3-glucoside also found.

Lychee contains Oligonol, a short-chain polyphenol with antioxidant properties in laboratory studies Basic research indicates oligonol may have physiological effects on certain organ systems, such as endothelial cells or adipocytes.

In traditional Chinese medicine, lychee is known as a fruit with "hot" properties (see the six excesses, for more details on the definition of heat).[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. 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, inflammation, and degenerative disease.[1]

Increase Blood formation

Lychee is a rich source of nutrient that is required for the production of blood. It provides manganese, magnesium, copper, iron and folate that are required for the formation of RBC. Also, it contains Vitamin C that increases the iron absorbing capacity of the body.[1]

Increase Metabolism

Lychee contains a good amount of fibre and Vitamin B-complex, which increase metabolism fat, protein, and carbohydrate. Fiber-rich foods have proved to suppress appetite and increase metabolism.[1]

Prevent Early Aging

Ageing is mostly caused due to natural factor like an increase in age. But due to pollution, UV radiation and smoke, the ageing process has been stimulated at an early age, and it is faster than natural. The main cause of ageing is free radical produced in our body, due to high oxidative stress caused due to pollution. But antioxidants have proven to destroy these free radicals to slow the ageing process. It has also been found that people eating high antioxidant foods have slow ageing effect than natural. Lychee contains high amount of antioxidants which is effective to prevent early ageing.[1]

Prevent High Blood Pressure

In research it was found that antioxidants rich foods lower blood pressure. Lychee contains high amount of antioxidant Vitamin C. Lychee also contains a good amount of potassium. Potassium is required to maintain sodium level. Also, high potassium is needed to maintain fluid level i.e. Balance electrolyte. Thus, it helps to keep high blood pressure and it reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack. Also, it contains minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and folate that maintain blood pressure.[1]

Arthritis:

Lychee is rich source antioxidants Vitamin C. Antioxidants are useful to protect from free radicals and oxidative stress. So, it protects from degenerative disease and prevents arthritis.[1]

Asthma:

Lychee is also effective to protect from asthma.

Heart Disease:

Lychee contains a high amount of dietary fiber which proves the best nutrient that promotes cardiovascular health. 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 thus it reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and hypertension.[1]

There can't be other thought to consider lychee as healthy food. Due to dense nutrient, it provides many health benefits. But due to its sweet taste, you must give a try. So, enjoy the luscious fruit.

 

References:
[1] http://wiki-fitness.com
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org

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