The roadside stands and the grand appearance of bright red fruit at markets and stores mean that it’s finally lychee season. And if you’re working Hawaii farm jobs, you know it’s the case. At Gingerhill, that’s cause for excitement! Lychee is a favorite among the Gingerhill community for its sweet, juicy flavor and appreciable abundance. Just two lychee trees have provided us with as much fruit as we can eat during the season, which typically occurs between May and June.

But Lychee isn’t just a delicious treat. It’s also an incredibly nutritious food, boasting a broad array of little-known, unexpected benefits. Working Hawaii farm jobs is a great way to learn about and reap the benefits of this exotic, medicinal fruit.

Origin and Spread

Lychee originated in Southern China over 2,000 years ago, where it became a symbol of romance—much like the rose in Western culture. The lychee tree, which is a medium-sized evergreen, first appeared in Southern China’s north tropical rainforests and then traveled south to lower-lying areas.

Lychee has since traversed the world, arriving in virtually every tropical and subtropical location for consumption and propagation. Lychee traveled from Southeast Asia and India to Madagascar, South Africa, France, and England. It even made it to Australia, arriving with Chinese gold miners.

After lychee first arrived in Hawaii in 1873, it took ten years for it to reach Florida. Now people consume and grow lychee in warm, wet climates all over the world, yet it remains novel to many people from north-lying states and countries. Among the world’s leading producers are South Africa, Madagascar, Kenya, Florida, Israel, Brazil, Jamaica, Japan, Taiwan, India, and China. People call the world capital of Lychee, Guangdong, China, the “Kingdom of Lychee,” as it boasts the world’s highest production of the fruit. Lychee production has increased markedly since the 1990’s thanks to various agricultural advancements. It is incredibly popular in Hawaii too, as is well known to those working Hawaii farm jobs.

Lychee’s Primary Benefit: Free Radical Protection

Lychees boast an incredible antioxidant profile, containing various protectants against oxidative stress. One of the most powerful among them is quercetin, a flavonoid and powerful anti-inflammatory. Lychees also contain phenolic compounds that mitigate mitochondrial dysfunction. Lychees’ concentrated levels of flavonols make them a great choice for athletes, for they protect the body against exercise induced-oxidative stress. For those looking to reduce free radical damage and thereby prevent ageing, fatigue, chronic disease, and cellular dysfunction, consuming lychee is an excellent choice.

Healthy Heart and Blood

Lychees contain multiple minerals and compounds that enhance cardiovascular health. Lychee contains oliginol, which boosts levels of nitric oxide in the body to open dilated blood vessels and, by extension, reduce blood pressure. It also contains a substance called rutin, which strengthens blood vessels. Lychee contains copper, magnesium, iron, and folate, all of which contribute to proper blood formation and circulation.

Vitamin C

Just one serving of Lychee contains over 100% of your daily Vitamin C, outperforming oranges in RDA value. Obtaining adequate Vitamin C is absolutely essential to good health because it performs such a wide array of functions in the body. Vitamin C allows the body to repair wounds, muscles, and tissues. It also facilitates iron absorption, enhances bone health, and improves immunity. It can even prevent the emergence of viral illnesses, cancer, arthritis, aging, and macular degeneration.  To boot, it also contains anti-viral proanthocyanidins, bolstering the immune-boosting effects of lychee’s high vitamin C content.

Other Benefits

Lychees contain such a myriad of health benefits that it just isn’t possible to group them all into neat categories. If you work Hawaii farm jobs and have the privilege of consuming this prized fruit, here are some more reasons why you should revel in the opportunity.

Lychees have long been employed in folk medicine; they were used to treat conditions ranging from gas, bloating, and hernia to respiratory issues and physical pain. Modern studies confirm that lychees indeed contain anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-cancer, and pain-relieving properties. They are even anti-diabetic, though diabetics should only consume lychee in moderation. One of the only downfalls of the lychee fruit is that it contains a lot of sugar.

Lychee also functions as a cofactor in enzymatic reactions. That means that it plays a role in producing a host of essential compounds in the body. For example, it enables the production of collagen, which is necessary for healthy skin, hair, nails, and digestion. It also facilitates the production of carnitines, which allow the body to convert fat into usable energy. Finally, lychee aids in the creation of catecholamines, hormones that the adrenal glands manufacture.

Lychee Uses

After reading about all of the benefits of lychee, you are bound to be wondering how you can incorporate it into your diet. Lychee is excellent eaten raw. It’s rough, bumpy, bright red or pink skin peels right off to reveal the succulent white or translucent fruit inside. If you are working Hawaii farm jobs in the months of May and June, you know how excellent raw lychee is.

Just one fruit contains just over 6 calories, making lychee a low-calorie food, but it packs a lot of satisfaction eaten raw. Lychee is also used in ice cream, mochi, and desserts, and some people even dehydrate it. At Gingerhill, we like to freeze lychee and consume it as an ice cream-like treat. The fruit’s succulent texture becomes surprisingly creamy upon freezing.

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