If you're looking for a new fruit to try, consider the longan. This small, tan-skinned fruit, sometimes called Dragon's Eye, is similar to the lychee fruit and grows mainly in Asia. However, unlike the sweet and sour taste of the lychee, the longan has a sweet flavor similar to that of grapes. Eating this fruit will provide you with essential nutrients and may also have some health benefits.
1. Longan Nutrition
You can eat 100 grams of longan fruit, or about 30 pieces, for only 60 calories. This serving will give you more than a day's worth of vitamin C, with 84 milligrams. Getting plenty of vitamin C in your diet may help lower your risk for heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure, according to University of Maryland Medical Center.
2. Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Action
Longans provide you with a variety of different antioxidants, which help prevent damage to your cells by compounds called free radicals, according to a study published in "Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine" in 2012. Limiting this type of cell damage can help lower your risk for heart disease and cancer, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
3. Anti-inflammatory Effects
The 2012 "Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine" study authors also noted that longans have an anti-inflammatory effect. Reducing the inflammation in your body may make you less likely to suffer from health conditions such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, arthritis, cancer and heart disease, according to MayoClinic.com.
4. Use in Asian Herbal Medicine
Longan fruit is used in Asian herbal medical treatments for treating insomnia, intestinal parasites, fevers and neurasthenic neurosis, a condition that may cause fatigue, aches and pains and exhaustion. Longan is also used for improving digestive function. However, research to back up these potential health benefits is limited, so don't rely on longan fruit alone to prevent or treat any medical condition.
- Food and Agriculture Organization: Longan
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Longans, Raw
- Fruits and Veggies More Matters: Longan: Nutrition. Selection. Storage
- Purdue University: Longan
- Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Longan (Dimocarpus longan Lour.) Pericarp
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C
- MayoClinic.com: Buzzed on Inflammation
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Antioxidants