Litchi: Nutritional value and health benefits
Authors: Manvendra Singh, Alok Kumar Gupta, Evening Stone Marboh, Jai Praksh

Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) is a sub-tropical evergreen fruit crop of the Sapindaceae family. Litchi fruit is bright red with an attractive pericarp surrounding a white and translucent fleshy aril, having a pleasant aroma, delicious taste and good nutritional value. The fruit can be eaten directly and can also be used for preparation of juice, vinegar, jelly, and wine. The major litchi growing countries are China, Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Vietnam and South Africa. World production of litchi is estimated to be around 2.11 million tons, with more than 95% of the area and production share accounted from Asia. India ranks second in area and production of litchi and accounts for about one-fifth of the global production.

Nutritional Value of Litchi
Litchi is a luscious fruit with abundant nutrients beneficial for our health. The nutritional composition of litchi per 100 grams is listed in details as follow.

Fresh Litchi fruit (Litchi chinensis) Nutritive value per 100 g,
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Energy 66 Kcal
Carbohydrates 16.53 gms
Sugar 15.23 gms
Dietary fiber 1.3 gms
Protein 0.83 gms
Vitamin B1 0.011 mg
Vitamin B2 0.065 mg
Vitamin B3 0.603 mg
Vitamin B6 0.10 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 14 ug
Vitamin C 71.5 mg
Calcium 5 mg
Magnesium 10 mg
Manganese 0.055 mg
Phosphorus 31 mg
Potassium 171 mg

Health Benefits of Litchi

Litchi is used as medicine in China due to its promiscuous health benefits. It contains amazing healthy nutrients that promote health whose beneficial effects are described below-

1. Immunity: High Vitamin C content of litchi makes it an excellent antioxidant which improves the immunity of our body. Litchi contains many nutrients including phosphorus, manganese, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium. It boosts the biological activity of vitamin D, which in turn increases the absorption of calcium which is necessary for maintenance of strong bones.

2. Blood formation: Minerals like manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, Vitamin C and folate are present in litchi that makes it a complete food for blood formation. The mineral composition of litchi along with Vitamin C aids blood formation with a healthy count of red blood cells in it.

3. Metabolism: Litchi is a metabolism booster which helps in cleaning out the body’s systems by flushing out excess sugar, fats and proteins from the body.

4. Skin’s Friend: Litchi contain high amount of water and antioxidant vitamin C that keeps the skin well hydrated and cleans out the impurities in form of free radicals, thereby making the skin look young and fresh. Litchi is infused with vitamin E, which heal sunburns that can cause pain and irritation.

5. Heart Disease and Blood Pressure: High fibre content also decrease fat reserves in the body. Litchi contain high amount of dietary fibres which promotes cardiovascular health. The high fibre and Vitamin C in litchi reduces the cholesterol levels in the body while potassium regulates the heart beat leading to an overall good cardiac health and protecting against stroke and coronary heart diseases.

6. Flavonoids: Flavonoids are strong antioxidant that plays an important role in protecting against degenerative diseases like cancer. Antioxidants are also required for normal functioning and development of cells and nerves that leads to optimum health. Quercetin in litchi fruit is a powerful antioxidant that protect from cancer. Litchi contains kaempferol that are highly beneficial for a healthy heart.

About Author / Additional Info:
I completed my Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and I am working as young professional in Crop Improvement Section, ICAR-NRC on Litchi.