Fruit pick of the season: Why you need to add lychees to your diet, pronto!
It’s the perfect time of the year to enjoy our favourite fresh, delicious and succulent lychees. Lychee means ‘gift for loyal life’ and it surely lives up to its name. Besides being sweet and nutritious, it brings a cooling effect on the human body to beat the scorching summer heat. This fruit basically originated in China, but today it is found in most of the Southeast Asian countries. The outer surface of lychee is covered with a red, rough-textured and easily-removable rind. Inside, it consists of a translucent white sweet and juicy fruit. The pulp has a brown nut-like seed. Lychee is loaded with healthy nutrients and is known to be an exotic fruit besides having a very short shelf life.
A one-cup serving of fresh lychees has 126 calories with about a gram of fat and protein and 2.5 grams of fiber. It is very high in sugar with 28 grams of natural sugar in it, so people with high blood sugar levels or diabetics need to be careful before choosing lychee in their routine. Lychee has a high water and Vitamin C content and is full of energy. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol but composes of good amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins and antioxidants which provide a load of health benefits to human body. It is a rich source of polyphenols ‘oligonol’ that makes it a strong and highly recommended anti-oxidant and it also helps in balancing electrolytes in our body.
In addition to its fairly sweet as well as tangy taste, lychee has many substantial health advantages out of which a few are listed below.
It is packed with Vitamin C that proves to be a good antioxidant and improves the immune function of our body. We all know that Vitamin C helps to boost immunity to protect against common issues like cough, cold, flu and day-to-day infections. It is highly recommended especially for young children who are highly vulnerable to infections and cold.
It is a rich source of antioxidants and Vitamin C that are effective to protect our body from free radicals and oxidative stress. So it protects from degenerative disease and prevents arthritis. It is also effective to protect from asthma. Lychee contains flavonoids and antioxidants that protect from various types of cancers, inflammation and arrests the rapid progress of degenerative diseases.
It is a rich source of nutrients & minerals like manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, Vitamin C and folate that are required for the production and circulation of blood. Thus, the mineral composition of lychee along with Vitamin C aids blood formation with a healthy count of red blood cells in it.
It is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, niacin, and folates. These B complex vitamins are very essential for us since they function by acting as co-factors to help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
It also consists of minerals like potassium and copper. Potassium is essential for cell and body fluids, help control heart rate as well as blood pressure; thus, it offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases. Copper is essential for the body because it helps in the production of red blood cells.
It keeps the digestion strong, maintains a clean stomach, improves appetite and cures heartburn and acidity. It also contains soluble fiber which controls bowel problems and keeps the stomach free from toxic compounds and helps to clean the colon.
It helps to improve the natural skin oils, which controls the growth of acne and gives clear skin. It is a rich source of Vitamin C that is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals. The oligonol content of lychee helps fight ageing and reduces dark spots.
It contains a good amount of fiber and Vitamin B-complex which increase metabolism & Oligonol contained in lychee has shown promising results in regulating metabolism. Thus, it can be said that lychee is a metabolism booster that helps in cleaning out the body’s systems by flushing out excess sugar, fats and proteins from the body. It also helps in combating insulin resistance.
It can also be a good source of phosphorus and magnesium that will help to support powerful bones. It also contains trace minerals copper as well as manganese that helps in bone health. Along with zinc, copper boosts the effectiveness of Vitamin D, which usually increases the absorption of calcium and improves bone health keeping them strong.
So, in all lychee is a wonderful fruit, it is tasty and beneficial for our body too. However, if you tend to hog on it then the high sugar content will cause an imbalance in the body. If you are diabetic then the consumption of lychee must be done with medical opinion. With all these benefits, this fruit is worth a try but in moderation as overeating it might be harmful. Follow moderation and mindfulness!
(The writer is Chief Nutrition Officer, Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems. She is a clinical nutritionist with a focus on healthy lifestyle choices.)