Yes, Lychee is Paleo!
An exotic, tropical fruit that is native to China, lychee or litchi is a Paleo fruit which has been cultivated for more than 4000 years. It is generally eaten fresh with its prickly pinkish outer shell removed. The inner flesh of lychee is a soft white or pink pulp with a delicate, juicy and sweet taste that surrounds a small, hard, inedible seed.
Lychee comes from the soapberry family and the two main varieties are rambutan and longan. Rambutan is bright red in color with spikes and longan has a more orange color with smoother outer shell.
This delicious fruit is often used as a flavor in cocktails because of its unique scent. Lychee is primarily eaten as a dessert fruit in Asia. As it has become so popular, lychee can now be found in most supermarkets.
Nutritional Value of Lychee
Lychee is mostly carbohydrate and water with minimal fat and protein. It is high in vitamins C and contains moderate amounts of phytochemicals. Lychee has significant amounts of vitamins, minerals and nutrients including vitamin B6, copper, folate, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium and riboflavin. It is also a very good source of fiber and antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Lychee
Lychee is a nutritious fruit with a wealth of health benefits, including but not limited to its ability to boost the immune system, prevent cancer, improve digestion, build strong bones, lower blood pressure, defend the body against viruses and improve blood circulation.
- Lychee is rich in antioxidants. Oligonol is a low molecular weight polyphenols which is abundant in lychee. It contains antioxidant properties that can help improve blood flow to organs, protect the skin from UV rays and fight against viruses such as in influenza. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant in lychee which can fight against infectious agents and scavenge free radicals.
- Lychee can protect the heart. It carries minerals like potassium and copper. Potassium aids in controlling heart rate and blood pressure and fight against stroke and coronary heart diseases while copper is essential in the production of red blood cells and improves blood circulation.
- Lychee is good for digestion. The significant amounts of fiber in lychee can help add bulk in stool making it easier to get eliminated in the digestive tract smoothly. Fiber also stimulates the gastric juices for easier nutrient absorption. This can reduce occurrence of constipation and other digestive problems.
- Lychee can boost immune system. Because lychee has more than 100% of the daily requirement of vitamin C in single serving, it can stimulate the activity of the white blood cells and therefore boost the body’s immune system.
- Lychee has antiviral properties. Lychee contains proanthocynadins which have demonstrated antiviral capabilities. A compound called Litchitannin A2 is found in lychee and it has been associated in preventing certain viruses.
- Lychee can prevent cancer. Lychee contains polyphenolic and proanbthocyanidin compounds that are more powerful than vitamin C in neutralizing free radicals that causes certain cancers.
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photo credit: arbyreed Lychee