What kind of benefits does Lychee provide for your gut?
Lychee? What is this exotic berry? This fruit is native to China and fresh lychee can be usually found in Asian markets. Underneath the hard, bumpy husk is tender, white flesh with a sweet strawberry-watermelon flavor that covers an inedible stone, which is the fruit’s seed. Lychee can be eaten raw on its own and can even be an excellent addition to fruit salads, sauces, desserts, and beverages.
This fuzzy red berry is packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and polyphenols! They contain a significant amount of nutrients, such as folate, niacin, choline, riboflavin, thiamine, as well as vitamin A, C, E, and K! It even has a plethora of minerals, such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. The fiber in lychee provides motility and digestive advantages as 6 medium lychee contains 2 grams of fiber.
Lychee pulp from these red berries has been shown to increase tight junction and enterocyte integrity in your intestines (in other words, it strengthens the intestinal lining). It has also been implicated in regulating the expression of proinflammatory cytokines down to normal levels. This means that the messenger molecules that tell your body to become inflamed are decreased or down-regulated; which is fantastic for inflammatory bowel disorders such as IBD and IBS! Grab a bowl of lychee to add some nutrients to your breakfast, or freeze it in a smoothie for the same benefits, but easier digestion!
Ways to eat it
*to make this food more digestible, try freezing them and then adding them to a smoothie. The benefits of fresh lychee have been found in the frozen and freeze-dried berries just the same!*
Raw or frozen lychee can be added to a smoothie, or even cut up and added to some oatmeal for some extra taste and vitamins!
Try adding it to the top of a salad! Or better yet, a fruit salad! Cut up some strawberries, peaches, bananas, lychee and blueberries! (or add in whatever fruit is your favorite) This is a fantastic way to get some sweet treats after dinner, without the gut-guilt that comes with sugary foods :)
#Greengut smoothie from the recipe books of Married to Health is a perfect way to work some lychee into your diet! Blend all the ingredients together, and enjoy!
Recipe: Tropical Smoothie
Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):
1 handful spinach
1 handful kale
1 tsp ginger powder
2 Tbsp chia seeds
10 lychees, peeled and deseeded
1 banana, frozen and sliced
1 cup pineapple
1 cup mango
3 Tbsp hemp seeds
8 fl oz unsweetened plant milk of choice
Place all the ingredients in a blender, mix, and enjoy!
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Chaisawadi, S. & Deerasamee, O. (n.d.). Clean production of freeze-dried lychee powder for medical herb and nutritional health benefits. International Symposium on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. 10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1023.7.
Lychee fruit nutrition facts. (April 2019). Nutrition and You. https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/Lychee.html.
Hugan, G. et al. (2021). Lychee (Litchi chinensis sonn.) pulp phenolics activate short chain fatty acid-free fatty acid receptor anti inflammatory pathway by regulating microbiota and mitigate intestinal barrier damage in dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis in mice. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, volume 69, pp. 3326-3339. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acs.jafc.0c07407.