Lychee: Definition, Nutritional Value, Uses, Health Benefits, Side Effects, and More


Lychee, litchi, and lichee are different names for the same tropical fruit that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Including this fruit in your diet is a healthy choice. The lychee (Litchi chinensis) is a small tropical fruit from the soapberry family. Other well-known fruits in this family are rambutan and longan. Lychee grow in subtropical areas around the world and are especially popular in their native China and Southeast Asia. They are known for their sweet and floral flavor, and are usually eaten fresh. Sometimes, they are used in ice cream or made into juice, wine, sherbet, and jelly. Lychee provides several vitamins, minerals, and healthy antioxidants. They have a tough, pink-red skin that you can’t eat, which is removed before eating. The flash inside is white and surrounds a dark seed in the middle. For more research you can also visit Healthline. 

What are Lychees?

Lychees is a small, round fruit with red, scaly skin, sweet juicy flesh, and one large seed. It’s very popular in Asia and is used in many desserts, drinks, and other dishes. Lychees have been grown in China for thousands of years. Today, they are also grown in India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, and the U.S. In the U.S., lychee trees have been grown in Florida for over 100 years. You can also find them in Hawaii and parts of California. You can buy lychees fresh, dried, and canned. They are also made into preservers, wine, and sauces.

What are the Nutritional Value of Lychees?

Lychees are mostly made of water and carbs, with water making up 82% and carbs 16.5% of the fruit. Here are the main nutrients in a 3.5 ounce (100-grams) serving of fresh lychee:

  • Calorie: 66 grams
  • Proteins: 0.8 grams
  • Carbs: 16.5 grams
  • Sugar: 15.2 grams
  • Fiber: 1.3 grams
  • Fat: 0.4 grams

Carbs and Fiber:

Besides water, lychees are mostly made up of carbs. One lychee, whether fresh or dried, had 1.5 to 1.7 grams of carbs. Most of the carbs in lychee come from sugars, which give them their sweet taste. They are relatively low in fiber.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Lychees are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Vitamin C: The most abundant vitamin in lychee. One lychee provides about 9% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin C.
  • Copper: Lychees are a good source of copper. Not getting enough copper can negatively affect heart health.
  • Potassium: An essential nutrient that can improve heart health when consumed in sufficient amounts.

Other Plant Compounds:

Like other fruits, lychees are rich in various antioxidant plant compounds. They actually have higher levels of antioxidants polyphenols than many other common fruits. Antioxidants in lychees include:

  • Epicatechin: A flavonoid that may improve heart health and lower the risk of cancer and diabetes.
  • Rutin: A flavonoid that may help protect against chronic disease like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Oligonol: It is a dietary supplement often associated with lychees. It’s a patented mix of antioxidants (proanthocyanidins) from lychee skin and green tea, developed by the Amino Up Chemicals Corporation in Japan. The antioxidants are chemically modified to improve their absorption in the gut. Several studies suggest that Oligonol may reduce belly fat, and inflammation after exercise. However, since Oligonol is not naturally found in lychee fruits, its health benefits do not apply to lychees themselves.

What are the Uses of Lychee?

Here are some potential uses of lychee, such as:

  • Antioxidants
  • Diabetes
  • Inflammation
  • Immunity
  • Have anticancer effect
  • Liver health
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Weight loss
  • Hydrates the body
  • Blood circulation
  • Fights oxidative stress
  • Aging
  • Increase bone strength
  • Keep your skin healthy
  • Reduce abdominal fat
  • Cancer cell
  • Prevents acne
  • Skin rejuvenation  

What are the Health Benefits of Lychee?

Here are some potential health benefits of lychees. Such as:

Rich in Antioxidants:

Human bodies need to constantly fight free radicals. If free radicals build up unchecked, they can increase the risk of illnesses like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Oligonol polyphenols and flavonoids like Epicatechin help combat these free radicals by removing them from the body and improving health.

Boost Immunity:

A weak immune system can lead to various health issues over time. One natural way to boost the immune system is through lychee juice. Lychee provides daily needs of vitamin C and B-complex vitamins, which help strengthen the immune system. The antioxidants in lychee also play a key role in boosting immunity.

Improve Digestion:

The human digestive system is intricate, requiring the right balance of dietary fiber, acids, and bacteria to function properly. Lychee is rich in Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), has a good amount of fiber and helps in producing adequate gastric juices. It also adds bulk to the stool, promoting smoother bowel movements. These combined benefits create an optimal environment for a healthy gut, with balanced levels of various compounds and minerals.

Support Heart Health:

High sodium levels are a major cause of high blood pressure. One simple way to address this is by reducing salt intake, although it can be challenging. Interestingly, lychee fruit also contributes to improved heart health and serves as a great alternative. Lychee contains various minerals and folate that aid in blood pressure management. Additionally, its high potassium content helps balance sodium levels in the body. Lychee, being electrolyte helps regulate the amount of different salts in the body.

Enhance the Skin Health:

Lychee is a seasonal fruit that should be enjoyed to the fullest. Even during the off-season it’s available as an over-the-counter moisturizer and exfoliator. What makes it a great option for skincare. The answer lies in its abundance of vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamins C helps prevent issues like hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and age-related skin problems, while antioxidants slow down the aging process. The result is flawless, youthful, and vibrant-looking skin.

Supports Weight Loss:

Yes, it’s true and not just metaphorically. There are two reasons for this. First, lychee is high in dietary fiber and low in calories. This means it provides a satisfying eating experience without adding visceral fat. It’s no surprise that health experts endorse lychee as good for health. On the flip side, lychee does contain high levels of sugar. Controlled consumption is important here. In a recent study, it was found that lychees also contain a polyphenol that can actually help weight loss and cut down fat.

Boost Brain Function:

Biologists, nutritionists, and food experts have long recognized that lychee seeds contain Saponin, along with a range of other compounds like fatty acids, amino acids, etc. They are known to enhance cognitive functions and potentially slow down or prevent brain disease such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and strokes. While eating lychee itself may not directly impact the brain, supplements made from lychee seeds can be beneficial. It’s important to consult your healthcare provider before consuming them.

Improve Blood Circulation:

One of the known benefits of lychee fruit is its ability to improve blood circulation. Its high potassium content helps neutralize sodium, stabilize blood pressure, and relax blood vessels, making their pathways smoother. Additionally, consuming lychee in the right quantity is known to increase good cholesterol in the body, which helps reduce blockages, a common cause of poor blood circulation.

Promotes Eye Health:

Aging inevitably leads to the degeneration of body organs, including the eyes and vision. However, this process can be slowed down in the early years and later stages by incorporating lychee into your daily diet. But how does this fruit counter vision problems and promote eye health? Macular degeneration, a common eye condition is caused by abnormal cell growth, often a result of oxidative psychological stress. The phytochemicals in lychee help slow down this cell growth, thereby preventing disease such as cataracts, partial or night blindness and vision loss.

Provides Energy and Hydration:

Lychee is more than just a tasty fruit; its nutritional value is exceptional. For those who may not know, lychee contains over 80% water and 17% carbohydrates. The high water content keeps the stomach full and hydrated, while vitamins B2 and B6 help break down carbs into energy. This process occurs slowly and systematically, providing long-lasting energy throughout the day.

What are the Side Effects of Lychee?

When consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, lychees don’t have any known adverse health side effects. However, there have been associations between lychees and brain inflammation in South and Southeast Asia. While it’s not entirely clear if lychees are responsible, some scientists have hypothesized that the toxin hypoglycin a might be a factor. Further studies are needed to confirm this. Additionally, in rare cases consuming too much lychee can lead to side effects. People may react differently, and some may experience adverse reactions such as:

  • Skin itching
  • Swelling in throat
  • Swelling in lips
  • Urticaria (skin rash)
  • Loose motions

If you notice any of these side effects, it’s important to contact your doctor for necessary treatment. Additionally, before using lychee fruit or any other herb for its health benefits, it’s advisable to consult with your healthcare provider to avoid unwanted side effects.  

What to Know About Longan Fruit vs. Lychee?

Longan is a fruit similar to lychee and may offer several health benefits being a good source of vitamin C. However, the claims about its health benefits are generally anecdotal and not scientifically proven. The debate over whether longan or lychee tastes better is ongoing and largely a matter of personal preference. But there’s another angle to consider in this debate is one healthier than the other.

Nutritional Value:

The nutritional profiles of longan and lychee are similar. Both fruits are low in calories and carbs and contain no fat.

  • Fresh longan: One ounce has 17 calories and 4 grams of carbs.
  • Fresh lychee: One ounce has 18 calories and 5 grams of carbs.

Dried versions of both fruits are higher in calories and carbs than their fresh counterparts.

  • Dried longan: One ounce has 80 calories and 21 grams of carbs.
  • Dried lychee: One ounce has 78 calories and 20 grams of carbs. 

Uses of Longan Fruit and Lychee:

There are many health claims for longan and lychee, most of which are anecdotal and not backed by scientific studies. Anecdotal use of longan fruit as a natural remedy include:

  • A general tonic to increase energy and boost the immune system
  • Alleviating depression
  • Reducing stress
  • Decreasing fatigue
  • Boosting memory
  • Improving memory
  • Treating snake bites as an anti-venom

Anecdotal uses of lychee as a natural remedy include:

  • Lowering the blood pressure
  • Improving the immune system
  • Reducing blood sugar
  • Improving blood circulation
  • Treating asthma     

Health Benefits:

Both longan and lychee are good sources of vitamin C. An ounce of fresh longan provides almost 40% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, while an ounce of fresh lychee provides 33%. Vitamin C is important for healthy bones, blood vessels, and skin. Fresh longan and lychee aren’t high in most other essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, but lychee does contain small amounts of minerals, including:

  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Copper
  • Manganese

Fresh lychee also provides some vitamins such as niacin, vitamin B-6 and folate. Niacin can increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels in the body. Vitamin B-6 supports a healthy nervous system and helps your body metabolize carbs, proteins, and fats. Lychee also contains folate which is important for pregnant women and women of childbearing age to help prevent neural tube defects. However, excessive fruit intake can increase blood sugar levels, so people with gestational diabetes should eat these fruits in moderation.


Can we eat lychee with milk?

Yes, you can drink milk after eating lychee. There is no known scientific evidence suggesting that combining these two foods poses any significant health risks.

Is lychee good for pregnancy?

Yes, it is a highly nutritious fruit that can be beneficial during pregnancy. It is rich in carbohydrates, fiber, vitamin C, folate, choline, phosphors, and potassium. These nutrients support the health of the brain, liver, and heart, and also help in maintaining blood pressure.

Is lychee safe for kids?

Nutritionists say that it is safe for diabetics and beneficial for children. Like many fruits, lychee contain potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C, which are important nutrients.

Can I eat lychee at night?

Avoid eating it right before and before going to bed, as it may cause an increase in blood sugar.

Is lychee good for skin?

The vitamins and antioxidants in it can help protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals, making it your secret to youthful and flawless skin. Vitamin C in lychee helps reduce hyperpigmentation, acne, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Which fruits are must in pregnancy?

Eating fruit during pregnancy as part of a balanced diet can provide many benefits to both the pregnant person and the baby. Some of the best fruits to eat include pomegranates, apricots, and oranges.        

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