Discover the 7 shocking health benefits of lychee.
The lychee, scientifically known as Litchi chinensis, is an exotic fruit with a sweet flavor and a heart shape, originating in China, but which is also cultivated in Brazil.
This fruit is rich in phenolic compounds, such as anthocyanins and flavonoids, and in minerals such as potassium, magnesium and phosphorus, and vitamin C, which have antioxidant properties that help fight obesity and diabetes, in addition to protecting against cardiovascular disease.
Despite having many health benefits, lychee can also cause side effects, especially when consumed in excess, and includes hypoglycemia in which blood sugar levels drop. Also, tea made from lychee bark can cause diarrhea or abdominal pain.
Lychee can be bought in supermarkets or grocery stores and consumed in its natural or canned form, or teas and juices.
The main health benefits of lychee are:
Because it is rich in flavonoids, proanthocyanidins, and anthocyanins, which have a potent antioxidant effect, lychee helps control the bad cholesterol that is responsible for forming fatty plaque in the arteries and therefore helps to prevent atherosclerosis and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction or stroke.
In addition, lychee helps regulate lipid metabolism and increase levels of good cholesterol, contributing to cardiovascular health.
Lychee’s magnesium and potassium also help to relax blood vessels, and phenolic compounds can inhibit the activity of the angiotensin-converting enzyme, helping to control blood pressure.
Lychee helps prevent liver diseases such as fatty liver or hepatitis, for example, by containing phenolic compounds such as epicatechin and procyanidin in its composition, which have antioxidant action, which reduces damage to liver cells caused by free radicals.
Lychee has cyanidin in its composition, which is the pigment responsible for the reddish color of the skin, with antioxidant action, which helps to increase fat burning.
This fruit does not contain fat and is rich in fiber and water, which helps in weight loss and combating obesity.
Despite having carbohydrates, the lychee has few calories and a low glycemic index, each unit of lychee has approximately 6 calories and can be consumed in weight loss diets.
In addition, some studies show that lychee inhibits pancreatic enzymes responsible for the digestion of fats in food, which reduces its absorption and accumulation of fat in the body and can be an important ally in the fight against obesity.
Some studies show that litchi can be an important ally in the treatment of diabetes due to phenolic compounds in its composition, such as oligonol, which act by regulating glucose metabolism and reducing insulin resistance, which helps control sugar levels in the blood.
In addition, lychee contains hypoglycin, a substance that decreases glucose production, helping to control blood glucose.
Lychee has vitamin C and phenolic compounds that are antioxidants and help fight free radicals that cause skin aging.
Vitamin C also works by increasing the production of collagen which is important to fight sagging and wrinkles of the skin, improving the quality and appearance of the skin.
Lychee is rich in nutrients such as vitamins C and folate that stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are essential defense cells to prevent and fight infections and, therefore, the lychee helps to strengthen the immune system.
In addition, epicatechin and proanthocyanidin also help regulate the immune system, stimulating the production of defense cells.
Some laboratory studies using breast, liver, cervical, prostate, skin, and lung cancer cells show that lychee phenolics, such as flavonoids, anthocyanins, and oligonol, can help to slow down proliferation and increase cell death from these cancers.
However, studies in humans are still needed to prove this benefit.
The table below shows the nutritional composition for 100 grams of lychee.
Quantity per 100 g of lychees
It is important to emphasize that to obtain all the benefits mentioned above, the lychee must be part of a balanced and healthy diet.
Lychee can be consumed in its natural or canned form, in juice or tea made from the husk, or as litchi candies.
The recommended daily serving is about 3 to 4 fresh fruits a day, as larger amounts than those recommended can significantly lower your blood sugar and cause symptoms of hypoglycemia such as dizziness, confusion, fainting, and even seizures.
The ideal is to consume this fruit after meals, and it should be avoided in the morning.
Some lychee recipes are easy, tasty, and quick to prepare:
4 lychee shells;
1 cup of boiling water.
Method of preparation
Put the lychee shells to dry in the sun for a day. Once dry, boil the water and pour over the lychee shells.
Cover and let stand for 3 minutes. Drink then.
This tea can be consumed a maximum of 3 times a day, as it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and increased symptoms of autoimmune diseases by activating the immune system.
3 peeled lychees;
5 mint leaves;
1 cup of filtered water;
Ice to taste.
Method of preparation
Remove the pulp from the lychee which is the white part of the fruit. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. Serve afterward.
1 box of fresh lychee or 1 jar of canned lychee;
120 g cream cheese;
5 cashew nuts.
Method of preparation
Peel the lychees, wash and let dry. Place the cream cheese over the lychees with a spoon or a pastry bag.
Beat the cashew nuts in a food processor or grate the nuts and throw them over the lychees. Serve afterward.
It is important not to consume more than 4 units of the stuffed lychee per day.