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Lychee is a great fruit and like Kiwi Fruit, it also comes from China. It is a sole member of the genus Litchi, of the soapberry family Sapindacea . Its Botanical Name is Litchi Chinesis. It is grown in India also now but it was first taken to Burma and then it came to India. In the 17th century it was carried to Burma and then after 100 years to India. Lychees are an international fruit now, from Australia to Brazil, Burma to Africa.
Lychee trees are evergreen trees. It is really an exotic succulent fresh fruit tree. It is a dense and a slow growing tree and is less than 19mtrs. tall. It is having a greyish black bark with a very brittle trunk and reddish brown branches. The leathery, pinnate leaves are divided into four to eight leaflets. They are reddish when young, becoming shiny and bright green. Their flowers bloom in spring and they the most beautiful at that time. The flowers have typically six stamens. After 140 days flowers are mature enough to give fruit.
Lychee yields can be pretty impressive, with the average 5-year-old tree in India producing 500 fruits, and a 20-year-old tree 4,000 to 5,000 fruits. In India lychee is cultivated in Muzaffarpur, Bihar and in North India. Muzaffarpur produces 75% of India’s total litchi production. Muzaffarpur is a place were my best friend is married. Well, she is living here in Mumbai, that is her in-laws place. She likes to go to that place because I believe it is very spacious with lots of green open space around .She brings us a sweet mithai that is really really tasty and is made there, it is called Soan Papdi and is made of gram flour and sugar. It is so flaky and tasty. Oh ho!!, I think I have started writing on a wrong subject. I just got lost into it. Sorryyy!!!
In structure the fruit is a bit oval shaped and is fleshy white, translucent to light pink in color and the size is usually about 2 inches high and 2 inches wide.The outer surface is covered with a red colored rough textured easily removable rind. It is very very sweet and juicy. It has such a beautiful fragrant flavor that everybody from child to elderly , love this fruit. It has a very short shelf life. This is why it is available for a very limited time even during its season. In ancient China, lychee was the favored fruit in the imperial corridors finding its greatest fans amongst the Kings and queens; who would get these beautiful fruit transported to capital at a great cost to the Kingdom.
Lychees are highly celebrated in countries around the world now, because of their health and medicinal benefits, which are due to the wealth of nutrients and organic compounds present in this fascinating fruit. It is a very nutritious fruit. It has a high water content and is full of energy. It is a little high on sugar and has reasonable amount of dietary fiber. The composition of minerals make it a great fuel for the electrolyte balance in our body. It can also be eaten as a dry fruit but I don't know if it is in India. If taken as a dry fruit its mineral and vitamin contents doubles up. Lychees are packed with vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, riboflavin, folate, copper, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese. It is also good in proteins and a good source of proanthocyanidins and polyphenolic compounds. It is good in fibre so it helps in our bowels by adding bulk to our stools and helps in the movement of it. Basically, it helps to make our stools soft and bulky so that they can be passed out easily. The good combination of roughage and water helps in preventing constipation. Regular and complete emptying out of bowels not only cleans the body but also protects from conditions like piles and colon cancer. It also stimulates gastric and digestive juices, so nutrient absorption is more efficient. Lychees has anti-cancer properties. Lychees are actually even more powerful than vitamin C in neutralizing free radicals and protecting the body from various diseases and afflictions. These free radicals are the harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause cancer, heart disease, cognitive disorders, and premature aging, among other undesirable conditions. This beautiful fruit is a rich source of these organic compounds, so can be consumed as an effective preventative measure of various cancers. Now this is really wow!, isn't it? eating a fruit which is good in taste and more good in health.
(all the pictures are extracted from internet)