Lychee – Litchi (Litchi chinensis) – also known as lychee – is a small tropical fruit from the soapberry family. Other popular fruits in this family are rambutan and longan.
Lychees are grown in subtropical regions worldwide and are especially popular in their native China and Southeast Asia.
Known for their sweet and floral flavour, they are usually eaten fresh and are sometimes used in ice cream or made into juice, wine, sorbet, and jelly.
They are a good source of several beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Lychee has an inedible pink-red leathery skin that is removed before consumption. The pulp is white, and it surrounds a dark seed in the centre.
The Nutritional Value
Lychees are mainly composed of water and carbohydrates, which make up 82% and 16.5% of fruits, respectively.
A 3.5 ounce (100 grams) serving of fresh lychee contains the following nutrients.
The Primary Nutrients Of Fresh Lychee
Protein: 0.8 grams
Carbohydrates: 16.5 g
Sugar: 15.2 grams
Fibre: 1.3 grams
Fat: 0.4 grams
Carbohydrates and Fibre
Apart from water, lychees mainly contain carbohydrates.
One lychee, fresh or dried, contains 1.5-1.7 grams of carbohydrates.
Most of the carbohydrates in lychees originate from sugars, which are responsible for their sweet taste.
They are relatively low in fibre.
Minerals and Vitamins in Lychee
Lychee is a decent source of several vitamins and minerals, including:
Vitamin C: The most abundant vitamin in lychee. One lychee provides about 9% of the vitamin C in RDI.
Copper: Lychees are a first-rate source of copper. Inadequate copper intake can adversely mark heart wealth.
Potassium: An crucial nutrient that can improve heart health when consumed in sufficient quantities.
Possible Health Benefits
The health effects of lychee have not yet been studied.
However, including various vegetables and fruits in your diet can improve your health and reduce your risk of certain chronic diseases.
Lychee contains several beneficial minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants such as potassium, copper, vitamin C, epicatechin, and rutin. They can help protect against cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
Animal studies also show that lychee extract can help fight liver cancer.
However, more research is needed to confirm the health benefits of lychee.
Side Effects And Individual Problems
When consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet, lychee has no harmful effects on health.
However, lychees have links to brain inflammation in South and Southeast Asia.
It is not entirely clear if lychees are responsible, but scientists have speculated that it could be the hypoglycin A toxin.
Also, lychee, in rare cases, can cause an allergic reaction. It is one of the natural-born killers who can poison you. Under the pungent appearance, the fruit is smooth, juicy, and surprisingly sweet.
The tips of the lychee fruit, also known as lychee, may scare off some animals, but for people willing to break them, this is an exotic and tasty treat. And often, one is not enough.
Lychee Can Be Toxic
But if eaten too early, especially for those who skipped dinner or a malnourished child, this seemingly sweet fruit can be toxic and sometimes deadly.
A mysterious disease has hit the city of Muzaffarpur in India, the largest lychee-growing region in the country. Every year in India alone, hundreds of children are hospitalized with fever, seizures.
A recent report has shown that toxins from immature lychees likely cause them. These toxins can even lower blood sugar levels or hypoglycemia, along with hypoglycemia or malnutrition. They block sugar production in the body, which becomes especially dangerous when we sleep, and blood sugar levels naturally drop.
This can lead to encephalopathy, a change in how the brain works, said Dr. Padmini Srikantiah of the Office of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in India, investigating Muzaffarpur.
Natural Toxins in Lychee Fruit are linked to the Toxicity that led to this Encephalopathy
“It is possible that when glucose metabolism is impaired, there is an accumulation of other metabolites that may also have some toxic effects.” When the victim is young and malnourished, the consequences are more significant.
But lychee isn’t the only food that can poison us if eaten too early or unprocessed.
“The idea that all natural is good for you is garbage. We eat (fruits and) vegetables that have the potential to contain harmful substances,” said Peter Spencer, professor of neuroscience and occupational health at the University of Oregon Health and Science.
“(Many) plants were placed here not for our benefit, but for protection from predators,” he said.
Lychees are popular in South-East Asia and China but less common in other countries.
They have a sweet floral flavour and are a good source of vitamin C and a host of beneficial antioxidants. It makes them a great addition to a healthy diet.
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