One Fruit Every BODY Needs
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Monday, April 29, 2019
Now that it’s finally starting to feel like summer here in the midwest, it’s time to start enjoying some juicy summer fruits. It’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year, but now is the perfect time to try something new. Lychee or Litchi is a fruit we should all be eating - adults, children, and everyone in between.
This seasonal fruit is grown in China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. Your local Asian grocery store should be getting fresh lychee in stock within the next month. Most Asian grocery stores offer canned or dried lychee as well. Sometimes local health food stores will also carry lychee during the summer months. Not only does it taste great but it has endless health benefits. From fighting off heart disease and cancer to maintaining healthy bones, promoting weight loss, and a number of skin benefits, we should all make this sweet fruit part of our diet.
You may or may not have seen this fruit before. It’s a small red fruit, with a rough textured rind on the outside. Inside is the creamy translucent fruit. It also has a brown nut-like seed in the middle which you should not eat. To eat the fruit, you have to first peel the rind off with your thumb or fingers, similar to how you would peel an orange. Don’t forget to remove the seed from the middle before popping it into your mouth.
Lychee means “gift of loyal life.” After learning about the health benefits of this super food, you’ll understand why. Each small lychee contains vitamins, fibers, antioxidants, and nutrients to help fight off disease.
Here are a few of the life-changing health benefits of the lychee fruit.
Builds Healthy Bones
Lychee is a great source of phosphorus and magnesium which supports strong healthy bones. Minerals like copper and manganese also help strengthen brittle bones. In addition, eating lychee can improve the absorption of calcium in your bones and keep them strong. Eating lychee daily can prevent bone loss, osteoporosis, fractures, bone breaks, etc.
Cancer- Fighting Properties
The lychee is packed full of flavonoids, which are vital in fighting diseases like cancer. It contains flavones, quercetin, and kaempferol, which are three powerful compounds in reducing the growth of cancer cells. The abundance of strong antioxidants removes harmful toxins in the body, which triggers the growth of cancer cells.
Lychee can help normalize your blood pressure and heart rate. This protects your body against strokes and heart disease. Just one cup of lychee juice is all it takes to normalize your heartbeat. The fruit contains a high degree of polyphenols which promotes heart health.
The high amount of copper in lychee boosts blood circulation throughout your body. Copper forms red blood cells, and more red blood cells mean better circulation and increased oxygenation of all cells and organs throughout your body. Good blood circulation can help prevent inflammation and chronic or acute pain.
Lychee can improve a number of digestive issues. It helps maintain a healthy clean stomach, improves appetite, and provides relief from heartburn and other digestive issues. Lychee contains soluble fiber which can aid common digestive issues like constipation, gas, and bloating. Fiber cleans out your digestive tract for regular bowel activity. By keeping your intestines or colon clean, your stomach will have fewer toxic compounds.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Lychee fruit can help maintain the fluid balance in your body, and effectively lower high blood pressure. It’s high in potassium and low in sodium which helps regulate your blood pressure. Potassium also reduces the constriction or arteries and lowers the stress on your cardiovascular system.
The lychee fruit can have many powerful effects on your skin as well. From reducing acne to anti-aging, and healing damaged skin, this fruit can make a notable difference to your skin.
Free radicals play a big role in the aging process. The high amount of Vitamin C in lychee fights free radicals and can reduce the speed of aging. Lychee also contains oligonol which prevents aging and helps reduces dark spots or blemishes on your skin. The nutrients in lychee boost skin hydration and therefore speed up the healing process of damaged skin. Consuming lychee regularly or using it directly on your skin has been found to be very effective in banishing fine lines, dark spots, and blemishes.
Lychee is high in Vitamin B including thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and folates. All of these things help your body metabolize carbs, proteins, and fats which the body converts into energy. This strengthens your immune system and improves the function of your liver and other organs.
Lychee is a great source of Vitamin C too. From fighting off outside invaders to turning fat into energy, Vitamin C plays a very important role in our overall health. It helps your body absorb iron and more quickly repair wounds., It also plays a role in preventing common colds, allergies, asthma, and more. In China, lychee is a common remedy if you are suffering from a cold, fever or sore throat.
Lychee is low in calories and high in dietary fiber which is a great benefit for those trying to lose weight. Because of the high amount of fiber, eating lychee can slowly decrease body fat storage.
All of these health benefits could be yours with a few bites. Lychees are a seasonal fruit. They are available from June through October. When you go to your local health food store or Asian market searching for lychee, make sure to choose the fruits that are bright in color. They should be a light or deep red color without any blemishes. The rind should feel tough and leathery, and the inside of the fruit should be soft, translucent, and juicy. If it tastes bitter or sour, it’s probably not fully ripened. They don’t continue to ripen after picking. I suggest throwing out the bitter or sour fruit.
You can store lychee in a fruit bowl in your kitchen for around 5 days or you can keep them in your fridge for 5 weeks! You can also find them frozen, dried, or canned, which is equally tasty.
You can eat the fruit by itself like you would an apple or you can cook with it. I love adding lychee to salads, making lychee iced tea or lemonade, adding it to desserts or appetizers. Dried lychees taste similar to raisins. I like putting them in oatmeal or snacking on them by themselves.
While lychee may be a new fruit to you, it’s been cultivated in China for more than 4,0000 years! It’s a powerful healing food. It’s something our body needs and can greatly benefit from. Being healthy never tasted so good!
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