Exotic plants and fruits are gaining more and more popularity in our country. We reach for them willingly and for many reasons. On the one hand, we are simply interested in their taste, we are tempted by their unusual colours and shapes - so it is just a desire to try something new and unusual. On the other hand, it is not known from now on that such plants have a lot of health properties, which make them an extremely valuable component of our daily diet.
A very good example is a lychee, an exotic and still relatively unknown plant in our country, which is gaining more and more popularity. Above all, the plant has a remarkable appearance; its flowers are exceptionally beautiful and yield magnificent, colourful fruit. In the past it was known mainly to the Chinese people. Due to its beauty, it was a permanent element of the palace gardens of the Chinese rulers. Also in this country the health properties of its fruit have been appreciated, which are often referred to as 'Chinese plums' or 'tasty twins'. They enjoyed great recognition among Chinese philosophers. They were believed to significantly strengthen the body and improve mood. It is therefore hardly surprising that sooner or later today's scientists decided to take a closer look at them and explore all their properties. It has been established that lychee mainly prevents cancer, being a rich source of antioxidants.
Lychee fruit - nutritional values (in 100 g)
In 100 g of lychee fruit there are 66 kcal. The amount of protein is 0,83 g, fats 0,44 g and carbohydrates 16,53 g. In 100 g there is also 1.3 g of fibre.
Vitamin C - 71.5 mg per 100 g - is the most numerous vitamin count in the fruit. Other substances that occur here are: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E and vitamin K.
Lychee fruits are also rich in minerals. They are a rich source of calcium (5 mg per 100 g), magnesium (10 mg per 100 g), phosphorus (31 mg per 100 g), potassium (171 mg per 100 g) and sodium (1 mg per 100 g). They also contain iron and zinc in smaller quantities.
The fruit also contains unsaturated fats (0.099), monounsaturated fats (0.120) and polyunsaturated fats (0.132).
Lychee - anti-cancer properties
Researchers from large centres in China have come to the conclusion that lychee fruit is a very good preventive measure to inhibit the development of breast cancer cells. The pericarp extract contains a lot of polyphenolic compounds responsible for its antioxidant properties. Their action consists in removing free radicals from the body, which in turn are responsible for the development of cancer cells. Scientists conducting research on this subject are also of the opinion that lychee fruits can also cure liver cancer.
Lychee - source of vitamin C
Lychees have many health-promoting properties. They have a strong antiatherosclerotic effect, because they lower the level of bad cholesterol in blood and raise the level of this good cholesterol. High potassium content makes the fruit regulate blood pressure and is an excellent choice for people with hypertension or cardiovascular ailments. The fruit is also a very rich source of vitamin C, which plays an extremely important role in our body. Above all, it strengthens its resistance and protects us against various ailments or infections.
Lychee and diabetes and slimming
It is true that lychee has many health properties, but this is not a proposal for everyone. This fruit should be especially important for people who are slimming, because it contains a lot of simple sugars. They are not recommended in large quantities also in the case of diabetes.
How to eat lychee?
Lychees are suitable for raw consumption. It is best to cut off the petiole first and then peel the fruit from the rest of the skin with your fingers. The flesh underneath should be pearly in colour and have a sweet, slightly sour taste. Before eating the fruit, a large, inedible stone should also be removed.
Beware of unripe fruits. A sign that the lychee is not yet ripe are problems with peeling the skin - in the case of a ripe fruit it should leave easily. Lychees are fruits that do not ripen after ripening.
Where to buy lychees? How much does the lychee cost?
Although lychee is a relatively unknown plant in Poland, you can easily buy it in many places. It is worth looking especially at bazaars and supermarkets. Prices usually range from 15 to 20 PLN per kilogram of fruit.
Lychee in the kitchen
Lychees can be used in many ways in the kitchen. They are perfect as an ingredient in ice cream, desserts and salads. Also suitable for meat, seafood and fish. They are also a component of many juices and compotes. In shops you can also find lychees in syrup - but be careful, because in this form they are much more calorific.
To prepare a lychee salad, in addition to eight large fruit, you need to prepare one pomegranate, one orange, one glass of natural yoghurt, about two tablespoons of honey and half a lemon.
To prepare the sauce, add honey to the yoghurt, squeeze the lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Peel all fruits from the skin. Two of them will be used as decorations, the remaining ones will be removed from the seeds. Peel the orange and cut the pomegranate in half, removing the seeds. Arrange the fruit prepared in such a way as you like into an interesting composition on a plate, pouring sauce at the end and decorating the remaining lychees and mint.