For more than a millennium, loquat trees have been harvested for their fruit, with origins coming from China. While you might not have had a loquat before, they’re known for their sweetness and have often been called the Chinese plum. Loquats grow at different times of the year compared to most fruits, hitting their time to harvest in the winter.
Loquats come in a few different colors, but the ones that you want to look for are the orange ones, since they’re at the sweetest. When at their peak, loquats are often said to taste like a mixture of mangoes and peaches. This incredibly sweet fruit is great for your health, bringing about benefits that certain fruits might not be able to deliver. If you can get your hands on loquats, we suggest that you do it! To show you why, here’s a closer look at the nutritional breakdown and proven health benefits that you get from eating loquats in your diet.
Nutrition of Loquats
Loquats are one of those fruits that you can eat quite a bit of without having to worry too much about calories, since there are only 70 in each one cup serving. Though there isn’t much protein, loquats do give you 10 percent of your daily recommendation for fiber. In the vitamin department, loquat is packed with vitamin A, delivering about half of the daily value. Other vitamins in smaller amounts around five to 10 percent daily value include vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and folate.
As for the minerals, loquats deliver more than 10 percent recommended value in both potassium and manganese. Around five percent daily value, you’ll find magnesium, phosphorus and copper, with trace amounts of calcium, iron and selenium. There’s almost no fat whatsoever within loquats and zero cholesterol, with some omega fatty acids and phytosterols thrown in for good measure. Loquats also don’t contain a measurable amount of sugars unlike some other fruits.
Loquats have been found to be very beneficial in the never ending fight against cancer, as research has shown cancer patients can make therapy easier by eating this fruit. Loquats contain anti-cancer properties that include laetrile and pectin that fight against cancer, especially in the colon. When someone is going through cancer therapy, these compounds decrease the amount of exposure that your mucus membranes are exposed to in the process.
Loquats have also been shown to fight against certain forms of cancer because of the high content of vitamin A. Vitamin A has a strong correlation in the reduction of lung cancer, and works with other antioxidants to fight off free radicals. Not only can this help you prevent cancer, but the amount of vitamin C that you’re adding to your diet from loquats also boost your immune system to fight off viruses that can make you ill.
Researchers say that more than 90 percent of citizens in the United States don’t get enough fiber, with some people not getting any fiber in their diets at all. While loquats aren’t among the foods that are highest in fiber, getting 10 percent of your daily needs in one serving is an important step. With just 70 calories in each serving, you can certainly have more than just one cup of loquats in a day.
Adding fiber stimulates your digestive system by adding probiotics, which fight against harmful bacteria in your gut that can cause a range of problems, with constipation being the most common. It’s also been shown that people who get enough fiber also lower their risk of colon cancer, which adds to the benefits that you get from the antioxidants found within loquats.
Good For the Heart
There are several different reasons why loquats are great for your heart, starting with the significant amount of potassium found in each serving. Getting enough potassium in your diet allows your blood vessels to relax, which leads to better blood pressure levels and a reduced chance of heart disease. Loquats have also been linked to lowering your cholesterol.
Studies that tried to find this link between loquats and cholesterol levels found that people who had the fruit in one form or another had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. While they weren’t 100 percent conclusive as to what caused the lower cholesterol, some researchers have said it’s the amount of pectin that does it via better colon health.
Eyes and Bones
When it comes to nutrients that you need for your vision health, none stand out more than vitamin A. Vitamin A helps to fight the free radicals that attack your vision specifically, preventing you from vision loss as you age and other problems such as macular degeneration or cataracts. Vitamin C also plays a part in helping your vision so that you won’t need to get a stronger prescription each year.
Loquats also have a positive effect on your bones because of the wide range of nutrients. Magnesium, phosphorus and calcium can all be found in lower amounts, but every little bit adds up to help your bones. Phosphorus is often overlooked when it comes to bones, but your body needs as much as it can get to use the calcium you ingest to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Two things that really come into play with loquats that can help you lose or manage your weight are calories and fiber. With only 70 calories per serving, loquats make for a great snack that has much more nutrition than other processed snacks that you might eat throughout the day. The fiber in loquats will also help you feel more full while boosting your metabolism so that you’re burning more calories, even while at rest. The best diets have multiple servings of fruits per day, and loquats are among the lowest calories fruits you can find.
Summing it Up
When you’re looking for any negatives about loquat, the biggest complaint seems to be how difficult it can be to grow a loquat tree. Since that won’t be a problem for a large majority of people, there aren’t many negative side effects for loquat at all. Doctors do suggest that you don’t eat too many in one sitting as it could potentially cause skin irritation. However, you’d have to eat a large amount of servings in one go.
It’s also suggested that you don’t eat too many if you have already contracted the common cold, but makes for a great way to prevent getting a cold in the first place. Loquat is one of those foods that has a laundry list of benefits and only a couple of minor and rare side effects. With all of that in consideration, feel free to add loquats to your diet today! On top of all of those great benefits, loquats also taste great!