There’s a certain type of berry that has its own genus, and isn’t too widely known in the western hemisphere. Lychee is this berry, and isn’t quite as old as you think, as it was cultivated for the first time less than 1,000 years ago in China. Lychee is most popular in its native Asia in countries like China, India and the surrounding area, but we’ve been seeing its popularity start to grow in other regions such as North America and Australia.
It’s a good thing that lychee is starting to become more popular, as people are learning that the taste is quite appetizing. The taste of lychee has been compared to a combination of strawberries and watermelons, which sounds amazing. There are also some great health benefits that you can get from eating lychees. Let’s look at some of those benefits, and the nutritional information found inside lychees.
Nutrition of Lychee
In each serving of lychee, you’ll be getting around 125 calories. That might seem like a bit much, but it will be a very filling and nutritious 125 calories. There’s about three percent of your daily recommendation for protein, and 10 percent of your daily value in fiber. Out of the vitamins, that one that really sticks out is vitamin C, as you’ll be getting more than twice the daily recommendation. You don’t have to worry about getting too much vitamin C, either, as your body will flush out what’s not needed.
There are some other beneficial vitamins in lychee, with 10 percent of your vitamin B6 value. Though in smaller amounts, you’re also getting significant sources of riboflavin, niacin and folate. As for the minerals, lychee contains 14 percent of your daily copper recommendation. Those that fall into the roughly five to 10 percent category include iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. There’s almost no fat in lychee with no cholesterol and a heart serving of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Looking at the nutritional value of lychees, you’ll notice that the vitamin C content is through the roof. With more than 220 percent of your daily recommendation, your body will see an almost immediate boost to the immune system. Vitamin C is a building block of immunity, working as an antioxidant to fight off foreign invaders that can cause illnesses that are both minor and major in nature.
With a boost to your immune system, your body will also be better suited to fight off free radicals and produce more white blood cells. Free radicals can attack your body and cause severe illnesses, including cancer. The nutritional value of the lychee has been shown to reduce your chances of developing certain types of cancer, and a big part of that is the fact that lychees contain polyphenolic compounds.
Vitamin C, of course, stands out as the biggest nutrient that you’ll find in lychees, but there’s also plenty of fiber in each serving. Fiber is necessary for your body’s digestive system to not only work efficiently, but protect you from illness. Fiber helps create probiotics in your digestive system that battle harmful bacteria, and has been shown to prevent minor problems such as diarrhea and constipation, as well as severe ones such as colon cancer.
The improvement that fiber brings to your digestive system might take a couple of days to get used to if you aren’t used to eating much fiber, but it will get better. After those days have passed, you’ll be feeling much lighter and energetic. Fiber also helps other parts of your body, which we’ll touch on in just a moment.
Good For the Heart
The heart is another organ that gets a huge benefit from getting more fiber in your diet. The soluble fiber found in lychees are effective in reducing your LDL (bad) cholesterol, working with the digestive system to get it completely out of the body. There’s also a direct correlation between people that are getting enough fiber in their diet and a healthy blood pressure level compared to those that don’t.
Other nutrients found in lychees that can also positively affect your heart include potassium and copper. Potassium prevents your blood vessels from constricting, leading to a huge reduction in your chances of hypertension. As for copper, your blood will increase in circulation thanks to more oxygen, helping out the heart and all organs in general.
Keeping your weight at a healthy level also has benefits on all of your organs, especially the heart. Lychees are fairly low in calories when you contain yourself to the single serving as a snack or part of a healthy meal, allowing you to eat the recommended amount to drop up to two pounds per week. Lychee is also comprised mostly of water and filled with fiber, which will allow you to feel more full throughout the day. Since lychees are sweet, they can also satisfy any cravings that you might have for something sweeter.
We talked about the importance of antioxidants such as vitamin C attacking free radicals in your body, and one thing that free radicals do is attack your skin, causing early signs of aging such as wrinkles. The same vitamin C will give a further benefit to your skin as it helps your body to produce more collagen, giving your skin more elasticity and a youthful appearance.
If you have blemishes on your skin (including a sunburn), mixing up lychees into a lotion or facial scrub can help get rid of those problems. Putting it on your scalp will also help get rid of dead skin, allowing your hair to grow in faster and thicker. With the ability to help you lose weight and enhance your skin, lychees can make you look (and feel) like a million bucks.
Summing it Up
With an amazing taste and those fantastic health benefits that you get from eating lychees, you’re probably asking yourself if there’s any drawback to eating these berries. One thing that you have to watch out for is how many you eat, especially if you’re trying to watch your calories and carbs. Lychees are a bit higher in those departments than other berries, meaning that they can actually cause you to gain weight instead of lose it if you have too many extra servings each week.
If you can find fresh lychees that aren’t affected by too much sugar, and fit the calories into an overall healthy plan, you won’t have to worry about putting on weight. Instead, you’ll be getting all of the great health benefits. Just make sure to get some of the other vitamins that your body needs outside of lychees, as much of the nutrition is concentrated into just a couple of nutrients. So feel free to enjoy, and make lychees a part of your diet today!