Europeans learned about lychee in the 17th century. And in Thailand, Africa, Australia, Japan, and China, the evergreen lychee fruit tree has been grown since ancient times.
In the middle latitudes, lychee is available in stores. The fruit has another name – Chinese cherry.
The fruit does not look like familiar berries and fruits: it is covered with thick “bubbly” skin, with white jelly-like flesh and a dark stone inside. Due to this appearance, the Chinese call lychee the “eyes of the dragon”. The skin and pit are inedible, the flesh tastes like white grapes or plums.
Composition of lychee
The pleasant taste of lychee is combined with benefits. Its rich chemical composition made the fruit popular among Asian people. Lychee is on par with lemon in terms of vitamin C content: 100 grams pulp – 39 mg of vitamin C.
Lychee contains 7.1 g of choline or vitamin B4, which is essential for the brain and liver. In addition to B4, lychee contains other B vitamins.
Among the macronutrients, the lion’s share is potassium, a mineral element that is an integral part of water-salt metabolism in the body. Lychee has overtaken cheese, eggs, and milk in terms of potassium. 10 fruits replenish the necessary daily supply of potassium in the human body.
Phosphorus ranks second among macronutrients, with 33 mg per 100 grams. Lychee leaves behind kiwi, plum tomatoes, apples, and bananas.
Useful properties of lychee
- Help with digestion
Heavy food is a burden for the liver and gallbladder. The fruit contains pancreatic stimulant substances that cause the organ to secrete pancreatic juice, which contributes to the rapid and complete absorption of heavy foods.
- Supports the heart
Potassium, which is rich in lychee fruit, is an essential element for the heart. If the body is low in potassium, the cells are replenished with sodium, which is always in excess of the diet of a modern person. Sodium attracts water, and its excess leads to the swelling of cells, tissues, and organs.
The swollen heart muscle contracts more slowly, and the heart’s electrical pathways transmit impulses less well. As a result, the heart rhythm is disturbed, spasms of the heart muscle occur, and the muscle does not receive sufficient nutrition.
- Prevention of oncological diseases
A malignant tumor is the result of exposure to free radicals that are formed in the body as a result of metabolic processes. Antioxidants are needed to bind free radicals and neutralize them. Lychee is the only fruit that contains the chemical compound polyphenol oligomer or oligonol, which is a powerful natural antioxidant.
- Preserves youthful skin
Oligonol contained in lychee improves blood circulation and speeds up metabolic processes in the skin. Regular consumption of lychee will affect the condition of the skin: it will become elastic, and wrinkles and age spots will decrease.
- Strengthens the immune system
Grapefruits and tangerines contain less vitamin C than lychee.
The health benefits of the vitamin are that it strengthens the body’s defenses, helping to fight viruses, infections, and diseases.
- Prevention of anemia
Even if healthy people are not immune from anemia or anemia, the risk increases in pregnant women, people after surgery, and bleeding, so the diet should contain foods that promote the production of red blood cells. Lychee belongs to the group of such foods due to its copper content.
Harmful effects of lychee
Since ancient times, doctors have studied lychee in detail: the benefits and harms of the fruit for humans and found out that people can eat lychee even with special health conditions. Contraindications apply only to people with gout and diabetes mellitus due to the fructose content.
The fruit can cause allergies in residents of regions where lychee trees are not grown. Another caveat is the poisonous stone, which should be removed from the fruit before consumption.