Litchi fruit nutrition facts
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Litchi fruit nutrition facts

Delicious and juicy lychee or "Litchi" heralds you the arrival of summer. Besides sweet and nutritious, the berries have cooling effect on the human body. Botanically, this exotic fruit belongs to the family of Sapindaceae and named scientifically as Litchi chinensis.

The L. chinensis is a tropical fruit tree native to the low elevations of the Kwangtung and Fukien provinces of Southern China.


 

     
     

It is a slow growing, medium-sized evergreen tree with dense, round-topped foliage, and smooth, gray, brittle trunk and branches. It may reach 40-50 feet height. Litchis, not only eye-catching in spring when the huge sprays of flowers adorn the tree but also is a stunning sight for nature lovers when the tree is full of berries. 

In structure, the fruit is a drupe; oval, heart-shaped or nearly round, measures about 3–5 cm long and 3 cm in diameter and weigh about 10 g. In appearance, the fruit has close resemblances with longan and rambutan fruits.

Its outer surface is covered with rough leathery rind or peel featuring pink color. The peel can be easily removable in the ripe fruits. Inside, the pulp consists of edible portion or aril that is white, translucent, sweet, and juicy.

The fruit has sweet, fragrant flavor and delicious to savor. The pulp has single, glossy brown nut-like seed, 2 cm long, and 1–1.5 cm in diameter. The seeds, like in sapodilla, are not poisonous but should not be eaten. Fresh lychees are readily available in the markets from July to October, about 120-140 days after flowering.

 

Health benefits of Litchi

  • Litchi fruit contains 66 calories per 100 g, comparable to that in the table-grapes. It has no saturated fats or cholesterol, but composes of good amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
  • Research studies suggest that oligonol, a low molecular weight polyphenol, is found abundantly in lychee fruit. Oligonol is thought to have anti-oxidant and anti-influenza virus actions. In addition, it helps improve blood flow in organs, reduce weight, and protect skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Litchi, like citrus fruits, is an excellent source of vitamin C; 100 g fresh fruits provide 71.5 mg or 119% of daily-recommended value. Studies suggest that consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • Further, it is a very good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and folates. These vitamins are essential since they function by acting as co-factors to help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
  • Litchi also contains a very good amount of minerals like potassium and copper. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids help control heart rate and blood pressure; thus, it offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells.

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