The A-Z Of Indian Superfoods: Litchi

This humble fruit not only tastes great, it is also packed with great nutritional benefits. Read on to learn more about this summer delicacy.

By Sahajiya Halder
19 Sep 2021

The heat of summer brings to mind delicious seasonal fruits, refreshing and juicy. One such fruit is the litchi, also known as lychee. Litchi chinensis is a subtropical and tropical fruit of the soapberry family. It is commonly cultivated in Southeast Asia. China is the largest producer of the fruit, followed by Thailand, India, and Vietnam. Litchi has been used in traditional medicinal disciplines for ages, in Ayurveda, Unani, and ancient Chinese medicine, for issues ranging from concerns with digestive health to coughs.


Benefits of Litchi

  • Contains A Range of Nutrients

This fruit is mainly made up of carbs (sugar and fibre) and water. It also contains important vitamins such as Vitamin C and Vitamin B-complex, as well as minerals such as copper and potassium, which are highly beneficial for your body.

  • Can Boost Your Immunity

The high Vitamin C content in litchis plays an important role in maintaining proper immune health. Due to its nutraceutical properties, litchi also has natural antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which bolsters your body’s ability to fight diseases. In fact, litchi seed extract has shown significant inhibitory effect on select bacteria strains, according to a 2013 study in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research. Another study published in Carbohydrate Polymers showed that the polysaccharides (carbohydrates made of multiple simple sugar molecules) in litchi pulp can affect your immune system.

  • Has Antioxidant Properties

Litchi is rich in polyphenols such as epicatechin and rutin, which can protect cells from damage by free radicals. This can help prevent many chronic health conditions such as cancer, and may also have anti-ageing qualities.

  • Has Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic Activities

A 2018 study published in Food Biotechnology showed that litchi seed extract can have potent anti-inflammatory properties. A review article in the International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research presents that studies have shown pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory qualities of litchi extract.

  • Can Help With Diabetes

Litchis may lower blood sugar levels. In a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods, it was seen that litchi seed extract helped with the improvement of glucose tolerance and insulin resistance in rats.

  • Can Improve Liver Health

A review published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety suggests that the polyphenols in litchi can have hepatoprotective properties, reducing hepatotoxicity and helping with alcohol-induced liver issues. Dr Lakshmi K, PhD in Food Science and Nutrition, and Head Holistic Nutritionist, URLife, says, “For liver disorders, litchi is a very good fruit which reduces the symptoms of both Grade I and Grade II fatty liver. Incorporate it into your diet as a mid-morning snack.”

  • Can Benefit Your Heart

The antioxidants, as well as copper and potassium, present in the fruit are beneficial for maintaining your heart health, so eating litchi can be your key to a happy heart. Litchis may lower blood pressure. The fruit also has the potential ability to decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, and, according to an article in Food & Function, can help against atherosclerosis (thickening and narrowing of artery walls).


Ways to Eat Litchi

  1. The best way to eat litchis is in the form of fresh fruits.
  2. Make a refreshing summer drink by juicing the pulp of litchi fruits.
  3. Litchi can act as a delicious flavour for ice cream.



4. The nutritional content of litchis can help with endurance exercise performance, so add it to your post-workout smoothie.

5. Litchi jam can also be a good addition to your breakfast. Blend some peeled and deseeded litchis. Mix sugar and pectin powder together, and add this mixture to the blended litchis. Boil this whole mixture at medium to high flame until it turns from runny to a thicker consistency. Cool it and freeze it overnight to make an easy fruit jam.


Potential Downsides of Eating Litchis
Litchis are considered generally safe for consumption in moderate quantities. However, they may cause allergic reactions in rare cases. According to the review published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, for some people, eating fresh litchi or its products could potentially lead to some adverse reactions related to inflammation such as itching, rashes, swelling of the lips or the throat, shortness of breath, or diarrhea.

The above information has been verified by Dr Lakshmi K, Ph.D Food Science & Nutrition, University of Georgia (USA), Head Nutritionist, URLife


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