Lychee Fruit Facts and Health Benefits 101

Facts about Lychees

The lychee or litchi tree is attractive, dense and round-topped with smooth, gray, limbs and trunk. Under perfect conditions they can achieve 40 feet in height, but they are generally smaller. The leatherlike, pinnate foliage is split into 4 to 8 leaflets. The lychee leaves are reddish when small, getting glossy and vivid green as they grow. Litchi trees have complete branch and foliage to the ground. The flowers of lychees are very small, petalless and yellowish-green in color. Lychees are attractive during spring when the tree is full of flowers. Flowering comes before fruit ripeness by roughly 140 days.

The lychee fruit has a leathery skin or pedicarp that is pink to bright red in color with rough texture. The fruit is heart-shaped, oval or close to round in shape, 1 to 1.5 inches long. The edible part or aril is white in color, clear, firm and juicy. The taste is fragrant, sweet and delicious. In the middle of the aril, you can see a seed that differs greatly in size. The most wanted varieties have atrophied seeds that are known as "chicken tongue". They are tiny, up to 1/2 inch long. Bigger seeds differ between 1/2 to 1 inch long and are generally plumper compared to the chicken tongues. You may find a difference between the litchi with leaks juice and the "clean and dry" varieties that are more appealing. In certain regions litchis are usually alternate bearers. Changing of moisture levels in soil may cause the lychee fruit to split.

Five Lychees or Litchee Fruit, with One Opened 

Health Benefits of Eating Lychees

  • The lychee is low in calories, has no bad fats or cholesterol, but abundant with dietary fiber that is essential for those who are worried about their body weight.
  • The fruit, like citrus, is a wonderful source of vitamin C; offers 119% of RDA of ascorbic acid per 100 g. Intake of foods high in vitamin C helps your body build resistance to combat infectious agents and feed on damaging free radicals.
  • The litchi is an excellent source to get B complex vitamins like thiamin (B1), niacin (B3) and folates (B9). These vitamins are very important as they work by serving as co-factors to assist body process carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
  • Apart from health benefits of vitamins, the fruit also has a great deal of minerals such as copper and potassium. Copper is needed to produce red blood cells, whereas potassium in an essential part that helps manage heartbeat and blood pressure levels, thereby gives protection against coronary heart diseases and stroke. 

Nutritional Value of Lychee

Amount per 1 Cup  
Calories 125.4
Total Fat 0.836 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 1.9 mg
Potassium 324.9 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.41 g
Dietary Fiber 2.47 g
Protein 1.58 g
Alcohol 0 g


Nutritional Value of Lychee Nuts

Amount Per 1 nut  
Calories 6.93
Total Fat 0.03 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 0.075 mg
Potassium 27.75 mg
Total Carbohydrate 1.77 g
Dietary Fiber 0.115 g
Protein 0.095 g
Alcohol 0 g

How to Choose and Buy Lychees?

  • Fresh lychee fruits can be found in the marketplaces between July and October. The litchi should be allowed to fully ripen on the tree as the ripening ceases right after the fruit is plucked. Excessively maturity causes them to become dark-brown and lose their original appeal and taste.
  • In the store, pick fruits that is fresh, with no cuts or molds. 

How to Store Lychees?

  • The litchi has excellent shelf life. The fruit may be kept at normal room temperature for approximately 5 days and may be kept for about 5 weeks in the fridge.
  • They may also be frozen, canned or dried for export purposes. 

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