Food Science Universe (FSU)

Lychee – A Nutrient Rich Majestic Fruit

Lychee, which has the scientific name Litchi chinensis. Lychee is a majestic fruit with many health benefits. According to history, the lychee was introduced from the Fujian province of china into Taiwan by immigrants nearly 300 years ago. Lychee, a tall evergreen tree, bears tiny, fleshy fruits. The outside is pink-red, inedible roughly textured protecting covering. The sweet flesh of lychee eaten in several dessert dishes.  Good lychees have a wonderfully lush, floral scent. Sweet but not too sweet, with an occasional bit of tartness. Flavors such as jasmine, kaffir lime, rose, garlic, coconut and oolong tea combine well with them.  the fruit is generally consumed fresh as the scent-like flavor is lost in the canning process.

They need a frost-free tropical climate that is not below the temperature of -4°C (25°F), and they also need a climate with moderate summer heat, humidity and rainfall. In Asian markets, lychees are usually sold fresh, and in recent years, also widely in worldwide supermarkets. When the fruit is refrigerated, the red rind turns dark brown, but the flavor is not affected. It is also sold year-round frozen food. The fruit may be dried with the rind intact, at that point the flesh darkens and shrinks.

Lychee is a non-climacteric fruit as it ripened on the tree only and physiological maturity before harvesting for appropriate quality and shelf life is necessary. The most demanding color verities of lychee in foreign markets are red cultivars due to anthocyanins. Lychee skin is traditionally beneficial in avoiding the “heating effect” from taking lychee tissue. The fruit is usually consumed fresh but can be canned or died as well. Aromatic and musky is the taste of the fresh pulp and the dry pulp is acidic and very sweet. Lychee is filled with nutritional benefits. Lychee fruit is low in calories from a dietary perspective, rich in fiber, rich in vitamin B complex and vitamin C and filled with minerals such as potassium. It also provides magnesium, manganese, copper, folate and iron which are needed for the formation of red blood cells (RBCs).

Lychee tends to enhance the appearance, decreases the chance of cancer, aiding digestive issues, facilitates blood circulation, improves the immune system, protects the skin from dangerous UV radiation, weight loss, avoids the spread of viruses such as herpes, helps to regulate blood pressure and fluid equilibrium in the body, regulates the amount of cholesterol, burns excess body fat, prevents inflammation, improves baby’s proper development, strengthens the body and relieves fatigue,  delays age-related changes, enhances blood flow to hair follicles, makes hair smooth and lengthy, encourages bone and teeth growth, very helpful in curing issues such as stomach ulcer, nausea, natural antacid acidity. Lychee controls issues in the bowels and cures constipation. It includes ample quantities of phytonutrients, flavonoids, polyphenols and proanthocyanidins that help to prevent breast, liver, prostate, colon, and rectum cancer cell development.

In summer, lychee juice enhances fat and protein metabolism, prevents skin diseases, nourishes skin, stimulates brain strength, rehydrates the body. Eating the seed itself is a poor choice, while powdered lychee seeds can have some health advantages. As the researchers explain, “not only does the seed taste bad, but it can have some particularly unpleasant effects on your digestive tract.” Owing to its pain-relieving property, powdered lychee seeds and lychee seeds tea are used by people for years for different medicinal purposes to cure certain digestive disorders. Lychee seeds have astringent properties, thereby helping to treat problems with the intestinal tract, especially intestinal worms.

According to the observation of the ancients, lychee is a sweet plant, and it also makes the appearance more stunning. Pregnant women should not eat easily, because lychee has high sugar content. So, it’s not good for pregnant women that used to get diabetes as well as being overweight. 

During the summer season from May to October, Lychee fruit is abundantly available in the market.  Always purchase fresh, well-ripened, dark red or dark brown lychee, intact skin, heavy and sweet lychee from the supermarket. Stop buying lychee with broken flesh, bruised, irregularly shaped, green, yellowish, light, wrinkled, too hard and too soft lychee from the store. It can be kept at room temperature for one or two days by covering with damp cotton cloth, although it can be stored in the refrigerator for a week if it is well washed in airtight poly bags.

It can be eaten in various forms, such as fresh lychee pulp, mixed fruit salad, juice, fruit cream, diced, jellies, sorbet, jams, syrup, sauce, chopped, adding to a cheese platter, custard, ice cream, salads, yogurt or cake. Dried lychee used just like raisins, lychee iced tea, and many other forms. Classic sweet companion ingredients include mango, bananas, coconut, passion fruit and pineapple. Lychees are also well combined with cashews, sugar, sesame, oranges, elderflower, soft mild cheese, cream, tapioca, grapefruit and blueberries. A normal and healthy person should consume 5-6 lychees a day to attain all the significant health benefits. A person suffering from any health disorder, particularly diabetes, must take better care of while eating lychee or must consult a doctor before eating on a daily basis. A 1-cup serving of lychees contains about 30 grams of sugar.

Author: Fatima Sarfraz (MPhil Food Science and Technology)

Supervisor Name: Dr. Saima Tehseen (Assistant Professor)

Address: Government College Women University, Faisalabad, Pakistan 



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