When you are craving an exotic treat that will instantly make you feel as though you are in a tropical location (even if you happen to be stuck in a traffic jam or sitting at your desk), give lychees a try. Not only are they sweet, juicy and delicious, they also happen to be packed with an amazing array of nutrients that can do great things for your body.
Resembling large raspberries, lychees have bumpy, leathery, reddish skin that is easy to peel, revealing translucent white flesh that surrounds a big, inedible seed. The sweet smell and unique flavor of lychees is balanced with acid, similar to grapes, and they are delicious enjoyed fresh on their own or incorporated into recipes.
Native to areas with low elevations in Southern China, lychees are part of the soapberry family and grow on evergreen trees which can reach up to 100 feet and thrive in warm, humid climates. You can find fresh lychees in markets from May through October, roughly 120-140 days after blooming.
Here are some of the top health benefits lychees have to offer:
- Lychees contain just 66 calories per 100 grams and have no saturated fat or cholesterol, making them a sweet and satisfying snack you can feel good about.
- They are rich in dietary fiber, which helps support regularity and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Lychees are a terrific source of vitamin C, providing 119% of the recommended daily value per 100-gram serving, helping fend off colds and other infections as well as fighting inflammation and free radicals.
- They contain high levels of B vitamins including folates, niacin and thiamin, which are essential in helping the body metabolize carbohydrates, fats and protein.
- Lychees are rich in minerals such as potassium, which plays an important role in cell and body fluids, in addition to controlling heart rate and blood pressure. It can also help protect the body from stroke and heart disease. Lychees also contain copper (which is needed to produce red blood cells) supports healthy bones, prevents thyroid issues and anemia.
- They contain a unique polyphenol called oligonol, which is filled with antioxidant properties that are believed to help fight flu viruses, improve blood flow to organs, reduce weight and protect skin from damaging UV rays.
- Consuming them is believed to aid in several health issues including cough relief, reduction of abdominal pain, tumors and swollen glands. Their seeds are said to help with testicular inflammation, neuralgia pain and stomach problems, while their peels are used to make tea that treats smallpox and diarrhea.
Shake up your usual eating routine with exotic lychees, which not only have a divine flavor and scent that fans can’t get enough of, they can also have an amazing impact on your health.