Litchi – Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects
Litchi Chinensis is the botanical name of Litchi. It is also known by the name of Chinese cherry, leechee, or Litchi.
The tree bears fruit that was cultivated for many years in China. However, due to taste and its unique properties, it is now cultivated in many parts of the world.
The fruit consists of a hard red-colored covering. Inside the shell is a pulpy white-colored portion that is used as a fruit.
The red shell of the fruit is also used in commercial industries for the preparation of dyes.
The fruit has a sweet smell, and it gives a tropical feeling. It is mostly available in the markets in the summer season. It is also used for many medicinal properties in China.
Nutritional Contents of the Fruit
Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6
Minerals such as copper, potassium, calcium, zinc, etc.
A majority portion of the fruit comprises of water
Health Benefits Of Litchi
1. Rich in nutrition
Litchi is nutritious. It is enriched with vitamins and minerals. Eating even one cup of litchis will provide a person with the necessary nutrients.
Litchi has many positive properties. It works as an antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial.
2. Cardiac diseases
It contains polyphenols. These polyphenols are antioxidants from a plant source. These polyphenols help in the prevention of cardiac diseases.
3. Management of Insulin and glucose level
Litchis can lower the glucose level. This is why it is particularly helpful in diabetes. Litchi seed extract can reduce resistance to insulin.
4. Weight loss
The fruit is helpful against inflammation and helps to lose weight and get rid of toxins.
5. Synthesis of red blood cells
The nutritional benefits of a cup of Litchi are equivalent to an orange. It helps in the synthesis of red blood cells.
6. Fast metabolism
Litchi is rich in minerals such as copper, magnesium, iron. These minerals aid in the production of red blood cells.
This means that it helps in the production of blood.
7. Rich dietary fiber
Litchi also contains dietary fiber that helps in getting a feeling of fullness. Fiber also helps in getting fast metabolism.
Fruits are really beneficial for people who wish to lose weight.
8. Source of potassium
Litchi contains potassium that helps in maintaining electrolyte balance. Potassium helps to balance out sodium.
A Sodium potassium balance helps to prevent stroke and heart attacks.
Litchi contains dietary fiber, just like a number of fruits and vegetables. Dietary fibers help in the addition of bulk content to the stool.
This aids in a smooth and faster metabolism rate.
Dietary fiber helps in the bowel movement. It is useful for individuals who suffer from constipation.
The time required for the emptying of the bowel is also decreased. This helps in getting rid of bloating and obesity around the abdomen region.
Several Chinese researchers have concluded that the pericarp portion of Litchi contains anti-tumor properties. Polyphenolic compounds present in that region of the fruit have anti-oxidant properties.
This means that it effectively helps the body get rid of free radicals. These free radicals are the cause of cancer.
Litchi has shown impressive potential to fight against liver cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.
3. Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain and is often seen in aging people. The current line of treatment of Alzheimer’s disease is only limited to only 5 medicines.
However,s several natural compounds help with this disease with the help of their neuroprotective properties. Research has shown that the saponins present in Litchi produce this neuroprotective effect.
This means that people who eat Litchi have fewer chances of developing brain diseases due to aging, or more specifically, Alzheimer’s disease.
Among the many minerals that Litchi contains, potassium is present in the highest amount. The pathophysiology of hypertension, in some cases, indicates that it might be due to disturbance in sodium-potassium levels.
Potassium helps maintain a balance of sodium in the body. Additionally, it also helps in the dilation of blood vessels.
Thus reducing the blood pressure. Other effects of vasodilation in Litchi are also from Oligonol. A compound is known as the natural vasodilator.
5. Improved Immune Functions
Litchi contains Vitamin C. The quantity of vitamin C present in litchi exceeds daily requirements. Vitamin C serves as a stimulant to the production of white blood cells.
White blood cells help to fight off infections since it serves as the first line of defense in our body. Apart from vitamin and mineral, Litchi also contains Proanthocyanidins.
These compounds have antiviral properties. Litchi is particularly helpful in controlling outbreaks of viruses such as herpes.
Side Effects Of Litchi
Litchi has very few known side effects. However, some researchers claim that this is only valid when litchi is eaten with a normal diet.
However, an outbreak of encephalitis in Asia resulted in research on the toxic effects of Litchi.
Brain Encephalitis is a disease that killed 156 children in Bihar alone. Studies confirmed that all of these children ate litchi on an empty stomach.
Litchi contains traces of Hypoglycin A. A toxin, which releases levels of glucose in children.
This effect was more pronounced in children whose blood sugar was already lower than normal. Severe Hypoglycemic effects may lead to coma and, eventually, death.
Litchi also contains ample amounts of sugar. Therefore, it is recommended for diabetic patients to not over-consume litchi.
Excessive consumption of Litchis may be quite harmful to the body as it’s disturbing levels of nutrients. It can cause sore throat, bleeding nose, etc. However, when eaten in average quantities, it does not produce any risks to health.
Lichi is truly a blessing of nature. It has all that you require from a fruit. It is enriched with vitamins, minerals, fibers, and helpful compounds. People who are looking for an all in one solution to their health problems should make a habit of eating litchi.
But the quantity consumed must not be in excessive amounts. Because this leads to many severe health conditions. Some of which have even been reported worldwide and are now considered as case studies.