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13 Incredible Health Benefits Of Longan Fruit

Longan is a delicious tropical fruit widely found in China, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand. It possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties that contribute to many of the health benefits of longan fruit.

What Is Longan Fruit?

Longan is an edible tropical fruit of the longan tree (Dimocarpus longan). The longan tree is a member of the soapberry family (Sapindaceae), which other fruits like lychee, rambutan, guarana, ackee, korlan, genip, pitomba also belong [1].

Longan fruit is a small, round white-fleshed fruit with yellow-brown skin that grows in hanging clusters. The fruit tastes mildly sweet and juicy and shares similarities with the lychee fruit. Longan fruit has a drier sweetness and a musky flavour, while lychees are juicier, aromatic and have a slightly more sour sweetness.

Longan fruit is also called dragon's eye fruit because it has white flesh with a small brown seed in the middle. As the fruit ripens, the outer layer of the skin forms into a hardened shell which can be easily peeled off while eating it. Before eating the fruit, the seed should be removed.

The seeds of the fruit are now gaining popularity as a health food because it contains gallic acid (GA) and ellagic acid (EA), which are plant-derived phenolic compounds [1] [2].

Longan fruit is eaten in fresh, dried and canned form. The fruit is also used for medicinal purposes; it has been used in traditional medicine in Asia, thanks to its nutritional value.

Nutritional Value Of Longan Fruit

100 g of longan fruit contain 82.75 g water, 60 kcal energy and it also contains:

• 1.31 g protein

• 0.1 g fat

• 15.14 g carbohydrate

• 1.1 g fibre

• 1 mg calcium

• 0.13 mg iron

• 10 mg magnesium

• 21 mg phosphorus

• 266 mg potassium

• 0.05 mg zinc

• 0.169 mg copper

• 0.052 mg manganese

• 84 mg vitamin C

• 0.031 mg thiamine

• 0.14 mg riboflavin

• 0.3 mg niacin

Let's explore the health benefits of longan fruit.

Health Benefits Of Longan Fruit

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1. Boosts immunity

Longan fruit is a good source of vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that plays a major role in strengthening immunity and warding off illnesses. Vitamin C has the potent ability to help protect the body from the harmful effects of free radicals [3].

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2. Protects against chronic diseases

Longan fruit is high in antioxidants, which help fight free radicals in your body that damage the body's cells and leads to chronic diseases. Consuming longan fruit can help prevent cell damage and lower the risk of developing chronic diseases [4] [5].

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3. Improves digestion

Both fresh and dried longan fruit has fibre. Fibre helps bulk stool and help in proper bowel movement. It also helps in improving the gut bacteria, thereby keeping your digestive system healthy. Consumption of fibre also prevents other digestive issues, such as constipation, diarrhoea, stomach upset, bloating and cramping [6].

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4. Lowers inflammation

The outer layer, pulp and seeds of the longan fruit possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which help in wound healing and lowering inflammation. A 2012 research study published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that the pericarp (outer layer), pulp and seeds contain gallic acid, epicatechin, and ellagic acid, which inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals like nitric oxide, histamines, prostaglandins and tissue necrosis factor (TNF) in your body [7].

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5. May treat insomnia

In traditional Chinese medicine, longan fruit has been used for treating insomnia [8]. A 2014 study published in the Current Neuropharmacology showed that longan fruit can increase the rate of sleep and sleep duration when used in combination with hypnotic derivatives [9].

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6. Improves memory function

Longan fruit can help support cognitive function and memory. An animal study showed that longan fruit can enhance learning and memory by increasing the rate of immature neuronal survival [10].

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7. Boosts libido

In traditional Chinese medicine, longan fruit has been used to increase sex drive in both men and women. Several research studies have pointed out that longan fruit is considered as an aphrodisiac which can help boost libido [11] [12].

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8. May relieve anxiety

Anxiety is a mental health disorder characterised by feelings of worry or fear that are strong enough to hinder one's daily activities. Noted studies have shown that longan fruit can help treat anxiety [13]. In traditional Chinese medicine, longan tea is consumed to help reduce anxiety.

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9. May aid weight loss

Consuming longan fruit may effectively help in losing weight due to its low calorie content. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Studies showed that longan fruit can help suppress appetite and promote weight loss [14].

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10. Regulates blood pressure

The presence of potassium in longan fruit can help regulate blood pressure. Potassium works by easing tension in the walls of the blood vessels, which further help lower blood pressure [15].

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11. May prevent anaemia

In traditional Chinese medicine, longan extracts are used to cure anaemia due to the presence of iron in it. As longan fruit has trace amounts of iron, it can help stimulate the production of red blood cells and boost blood circulation.

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12. May manage cancer

The presence of polyphenol compounds in longan fruit may help prevent the development of cancer. Noted studies have shown that the polyphenol compounds exhibited anti-cancer activities that may help prevent the growth of cancer cells [16] [17].

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13. Enhances skin health

Longan fruit is rich in antioxidants that help provide youthful glowing skin. It contains a good amount of vitamin C, which is effective in reducing oxidative damage to the skin and promoting collagen formation [18] [19].

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Ways To Eat Longan Fruit

  • The pulp of longan fruit can be used to make sorbets, juices and fruit smoothies
  • Use longan fruit to make pudding, jams and jellies.
  • Add longan fruit to your fruit salads.
  • Add longan fruit to herbal teas and cocktails.
  • Use longan fruit in your soups, stews and marinades.
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Longan Fruit Recipe

Longan tea [20]

Ingredients:

  • A cup of water
  • Black or green tea leaves or tea bag
  • 4 dried longan

Method:

  • Add the tea in a tea pot. Pour hot water.
  • Allow it to steep for 2-3 minutes.
  • Place the longan fruit in your tea cup.
  • Strain the hot tea into your cup over the longan fruit.
  • Let it steep for 1-2 minutes.
  • Sip warm and enjoy.

Image ref: foodiebaker