The lychee (Litchi chinensis) — also known by litchi or lichee — is a small tropical fruit belonging to the soapberry family.
Lychees are grown in subtropical regions and are especially popular in their native China, as well as Southeast Asia.
They’re a rich source of various vitamins, minerals, and healthy antioxidants.
Lychees have inedible, pink-red, leathery skin, which needs to be removed before consumption. The flesh is white which is edible surrounding a dark seed in the centre.
Lychees mainly consist of water and carbs — which make up 82% and 16.5% of the fruit, respectively.
A 100-gram of fresh lychees provides the following nutrients. These are the main nutrients in fresh lychees:
- Calories: 66
- Protein: 0.8 grams
- Carbs: 16.5 grams
- Sugar: 15.2 grams
- Fibre: 1.3 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
Carbs and Fibers
Other than water, lychees mainly consist of carbs.
Single fresh or dried lychee contains 1.5–1.7 grams of carbs.
The majority of the carbs in lychees come from sugars, which give them their sweet taste. They’re very low in fibre.
Lychees are a rich source of vitamin E. It is essential for healing your skin from sunburn and keeping your skin healthy.
Lychee has a good amount of copper in it which is very beneficial for heart health. It allows you to have multiple nutrients in good quantities. Lychee provides multiple benefits when you consume them in a good amount.
When you consume lychee in a good quantity, you get certain very essential nutrients like potassium which helps to improve heart health.
Lychees are actually a very good source of antioxidants as well.
They consist of higher levels of antioxidant polyphenols. Some of the major antioxidants lychee consist of:
Epicatechin- this helps with heart health and is also important when it comes to ensuring you are taking enough precautions against the risks of getting cancer or diabetes.
Vitamins and Minerals
Lychees are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin C: The most abundant vitamin in lychees. One lychee provides around 9% of the RDI for vitamin C.
- Copper: Lychees have a good amount of copper content in them.
- Potassium: An essential nutrient that may help improve heart health when eaten in sufficient quantities.
Other Plant Compounds
Like various other fruits, lychees are a good source of various antioxidant plant compounds.
In fact, they have a very high level of antioxidant polyphenols than various other common fruits.
Antioxidants in lychees include:
- Epicatechin: A flavonoid that may help improve heart health and minimize your risk of cancer and diabetes.
- Rutin: A flavonoid that may protect against chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Oligonol is a dietary supplement that is often talked about in connection to lychees.
It’s a patented mixture of antioxidants (proanthocyanidins) which are derived from lychee skin and green tea, developed by the Amino Up Chemical Corporation in Japan.
Several studies showed that Oligonol may help to reduce abdominal fat, fatigue, and inflammation after exercise.
However, as it’s not naturally found in lychee fruits, its health effects don’t apply to them.
Possible Health Benefits
The various health benefits of lychees have not been studied yet.
However, including plenty of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet may improve your health and minimize your risk of several chronic diseases.
Lychees contain various healthy minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, such as potassium, copper, vitamin C, epicatechin, and rutin. These may help guard against heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Animal studies also show that lychee extract may help to fight liver cancer.
Still, further studies are required to confirm the benefits of lychees in humans.
What are the Side Effects of Lychee?
When eaten in moderation as a part of a healthy and nutritious diet, lychees do not have any known possible side effects.
However, lychees have been linked to brain inflammation in South and Southeast Asia.
Whether lychees are responsible for this or not, is not entirely clear, but scientists have hypothesized that the toxin hypoglycin A may be responsible for this effect
Also, lychees may cause a certain allergic reaction in rare cases.
When it comes to consuming lychee, it is considered one of the best fruits. It is small, round and full of flavour. No wonder it is considered to be one of the best summer fruits that you can have with very good water content.
When you consume lychees on a regular basis, it will make you feel energetic and is also very nutritious for your health.
But it should definitely be consumed with utmost clarity. If you are on certain medications, you will have to make sure that those medicines do not interact with them and make your situation worsen.
Make sure that you don't consume too many things which have lychee in a processed format as its actual nutrient content falls with this. And having it in moderation will be a better option to get maximum benefits of it.