10 Things you have to know about the lychee (recipes included)
11/20/2020 / By Leslie Locklear / Comments
10 Things you have to know about the lychee (recipes included)

If there’s one fruit you should definitely be eating more of, it should be the lychee. Known to the scientific community as Litchi chinensis, the lychee is a small tropical fruit from the soapberry family, which makes it a cousin of the equally delicious rambutan and longan.

Native to China and some parts of Southeast Asia, lychees are best known for their sweet and floral aroma and flavor. Lychees are typically eaten fresh or processed into products such as juices, wines, frozen desserts and jellies.

Aside from being valued because of their unique flavor, lychees are also held in high esteem by many for their vitamin and mineral content.

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Where the fruit really shines, however, is in its antioxidant content, which researchers say is actually higher when compared to that of several other common fruits. As noted by researchers, lychees contain high amounts of polyphenols and proanthocyanidins, two antioxidant groups that have been linked to effects such as improvements in your heart health, as well as reductions in your risk for cancer and other chronic diseases. Impressive, right?

Here are the other things you might find interesting about this unique, tropical fruit:

Lychees can help support the immune system

Just like citrus fruits, lychees contain an impressive amount of vitamin C, with a 100-gram serving already providing 71.5 mg or 119 percent of the daily amount recommended by authorities.

Vitamin C, as we all know, helps the human body develop resistance against dangerous pathogens and free radicals, both of which can cause extensive damage if left uncontrolled.

Lychees promote a healthy metabolism

Lychees are known for being a very good source of B vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and folates. These vitamins, according to experts, are essential cofactors that help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats.

As noted by researchers, deficiencies surrounding these important vitamins can often result in effects such as disorientation, weakness, irritability and cramps.

Lychees promote a healthy cardiovascular system

Aside from vitamins, lychees are also a very good source of minerals such as potassium and copper, both of which are heavily involved in the body’s cardiovascular function. Potassium, for instance, is known to help control an individual’s heart rate and blood pressure, while copper is considered to be an important factor in red blood cell production.

Lychees can help reduce your risk of cancer

Aside from being tasty, wholesome snacks, lychees are also thought of as being able to lessenyour  risk of developing certain types of cancers – an ability that is said to stem from the fruit’s high vitamin C content.

Vitamin C, aside from being a powerful immune-boosting vitamin, is also a potent antioxidant that fights free radicals and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our body’s cells.

Oxidative damage, experts have noted, are linked to various types of cancers and other chronic diseases.

Aside from vitamin C, lychees are also an excellent source of polyphenols and proanthocyanidins, two antioxidant compounds, which are said to be stronger than vitamin C when it comes to reducing your risk of developing cancer. Take that, Big Pharma!

Lychees help promote a healthy digestive system

Lychees are loaded with dietary fibers which help add bulk to the stool and ensure its smooth passage through the digestive tract. This relative abundance of fibers also means that lychees can help address constipation and other problems regarding the digestive system.

Lychees can help address chronic inflammation

As mentioned earlier, lychees are rich in vitamin C and polyphenols, both of which are known to be potent antioxidants. However, did you know that they also have anti-inflammatory properties?

According to experts, they have found that eating lychees on a regular and moderate basis not only relieves inflammation but also controls it, adding that these anti-inflammatory properties can prove beneficial to those suffering from diseases like arthritis and gout.

Lychees can help promote sensible weight management

Planning on managing your weight in a more healthy and sensible manner? Add lychees to your diet!

As noted by nutritionists, lychees have a very low caloric value, which makes them perfect for those who are on a calorie-restricted diet. In addition, lychees are also an excellent source of dietary fibers and water, which means that eating them can not only make one feel fuller for a longer period of time but also, quell tour tendency for mindless snacking. How’s that for a healthy snack?

Lychees are good for the skin

Thinking of spending your hard-earned money on artificial — not to mention expensive — facial and skin treatments? Go grab a cup of lychees instead.

As noted by experts, lychees can help maintain healthy and glowing skin mainly due to their rich vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content.

For instance, compounds like thiamine help keep our skin healthy, while copper helps in healing our damaged skin cells. The niacin present in lychees, meanwhile, helps in keeping our skin properly hydrated and moisturized.

In addition, the antioxidants in lychees are effective at staving off oxidative stress, which means it can help keep signs of premature aging — such as fine lines, wrinkles, age and dark spots — at bay.

Lychees can help improve calcium absorption in the bones

Want healthy bones and joints? Lychees may be the best fruit for you.

This is because lychees are full of essential elements like magnesium, phosphorus, iron, manganese and copper, all of which are known to help boost the absorption of calcium, thereby resulting in healthier and stronger bones.

Lychees can help promote healthy hair growth

Lychees are a good source of antioxidants like vitamins C and E, which means that lychees can help make our hair grow healthy and strong.

This is because vitamins C and E can help prevent free radicals from causing oxidative damage to our hair and scalp, thereby minimizing the risk of premature graying, hair fall and dry hair.

How can one incorporate lychees into your diet?

As mentioned earlier, lychees are traditionally eaten fresh on their own or as a component in fresh fruit salads. However, they are also sometimes cooked in syrup and served over ice as a dessert.

Many cooks, however, have started to experiment more with this prized tropical fruit, with lychees now appearing as an ingredient in foods such as sherbets, jellies and even main courses.

With that said, here are some ways in which you can add this wonderful fruit to your diet:

Organic Lychee and Lime Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds organic lychees, peeled and deseeded
  • 3 cups, filtered water
  • 1 cup organic monk fruit sweetener
  • 2 egg whites (optional)
  • zest and juice from 3 organic limes

Preparation

  1. Make a simple syrup by mixing monk fruit sweetener with the filtered water. Put the mixture on a stovetop and cook over medium heat. The mixture will be cloudy at first but will turn clear as soon as everything is well-mixed.
  2. Once the mixture starts to simmer, add lychees. Let cook for about 15 minutes or until the fruit has softened.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat once the lychees are done. Let cool.
  4. After the lychees have cooled considerably, pour them into a large food processor and blend until reduced into a puree. Add lime juice.
  5. Transfer the puree into a 1-liter container and freeze until solid.
  6. Once the mixture has set, take it out of the freezer and break it up into chunks, before adding it back to your food processor. Add the egg whites into the mixture and blend until the mixture turns thick and smooth. Add the lime zest.
  7. Return the sorbet mixture to the container and freeze again, preferably overnight.
  8. Once fully set, scoop the sorbet into individual dessert bowls. Garnish with fresh lychees and lime zest.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Thai Prawn and Lychee Salad

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 500g large cooked prawns
  • Fresh organic mint leaves, to taste
  • Fresh organic coriander leaves, to taste
  • 20 organic lychees, peeled, halved and deseeded
  • 150 grams organic mung bean sprouts
  • One large handful of organic roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Ingredients for the dressing:

  • 1 red chili
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Juice of 2 organic limes
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce

Preparation

  1. To make the dressing, mix all ingredients together using a mortar and pestle. Adjust taste if needed, then set aside.
  2. In a large salad bowl, combine the prawns, mint, coriander, lychees, bean sprouts and half of the peanuts with the dressing, making sure to each ingredient is coated evenly. Top with the remaining peanuts and drizzle with more of the dressing.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Packed with vitamins, minerals and potent antioxidants, lychees aren’t just refreshing and delicious fruits— they are also one of the most nutritious and health-supporting fruits one can add to his diet.

Sources:

HealthyEating.SFGate.com

GoodHealthAll.com

PhcogRev.com

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