Health benefits of longan include acting as a good antidepressant, improves the health of the heart, fights the free radicals, treats anemia, acts as a powerhouse of energy, prevents infections, makes skin and hair healthy, makes our digestive system healthy, improves our mental health, etc. There are more longan health benefits on all of our bodily systems. Lets us talk about them after a little while.
What is longan?
Do you know what is longan? Longan is a tropical tree that is native to the countries of southeast Asia. It belongs to the same family to which Lychee belongs. It is also called dragon eye by the Chinese because of its appearance. The scientific name of longan is Dimocarpus longan.
Longan has a sweet translucent colored flesh and black colored seeds. It makes longan look like a dragon eye. Longan is popularly used in many desserts, kinds of soup, sweets, and snacks in Southeast Asian countries. People love longans due to their distinctive taste and also due to their ample health benefits.
Types of longan:
There are many varieties of this delicious fruit. Let us look at some of the most common types of longan:
- Sri Chompoo
- Biew Kiew
- Kay Sweeney
- Diamond river
- Edau (Daw)
Longan nutrition facts:
Longans are highly nutritious. They are rich in many vital vitamins and minerals which are absolutely essential for our body. They make us healthy if we consume longans regularly. Let us look at the nutritional profile of longans.
Longan nutritional value (Per 100 g of longan):
- Energy: 60 Kcal
- Carbohydrates: 15.14 g
- Dietary fiber: 1.1 g
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Protein: 1.31 g
- Thiamine (vitamin B1): 0.031 mg
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 0.14 mg
- Niacin (Vitamin B3): 0.3 mg
- Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C): 84 mg
- Calcium: 1 mg
- Iron: 0.13 mg
- Magnesium: 10 mg
- Manganese: 0.052 mg
- Phosphorus: 21 mg
- Potassium: 266 mg
- Zinc: 0.05 mg
Health benefits of longan:
1. Reduces inflammation:
Inflammation is the other name of swelling. Inflammation of the body parts can occur over any body part like joints, muscles, intestines, spleen, liver or any other organ. The inflammation is mediated by many substances in the body. Inflammation is the main reason behind the development of many diseases.
According to research studies, the water extract of longan pericarp (WLP) plays a vital role in reducing inflammation. It suppresses the inflammatory mediators like nitric oxide (NO) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF α).
In addition to reducing inflammation, it also stimulates antioxidant enzymes in the body which are crucial for maintaining a healthy body.
2. Acts as powerful antioxidant:
The extracts of longan fruit or Dimocarpus longan have exhibited antioxidant effects to a great extent. They have stimulated the activity of antioxidant enzymes in the body like catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase.
Free radicals are the main reason behind many diseases. They can literally damage any organ of our body like heart, liver, brain, skin, etc. We need to eat a healthy diet rich in antioxidants to combat the free radicals. Due to the antioxidant activity of longan fruit, I can scavenge the free radicals very efficiently.
It helps in the prevention of ailments of heart, liver, kidneys and brain. It also prevents premature aging which is caused mainly due to the detrimental effect of the free radicals on the skin.
3. Treats anemia:
Anemia is the lack of adequate amount of hemoglobin in the body. Hemoglobin is the component of red blood cells in the blood which is responsible for carrying oxygen to the cells of various organs. As hemoglobin is insufficient in anemia, cells do not get sufficient oxygen.
As the oxygen supply is not sufficient, we tend to become tired or fatigued very easily. We tend to develop shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Our skin becomes pale in anemia. Longan fruit has a good amount of iron which helps in the synthesis of hemoglobin.
Longan also has vitamin C in proper amounts which help in the absorption of iron from the intestines. Vitamin C promotes the hemoglobin formation indirectly. If you are suffering from anemia, make sure to eat longan fruits regularly.
4. Good for nervous system and brain:
Our nervous system needs an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals to be healthy and prevent nervous disorders. Longan fruit is rich in all the vitamins and minerals that are required to keep the brain and nervous system healthy.
Many processes like oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis or programmed cell death lead to the wear and tear of neurons and their damage. Longan has antioxidants which prevent the oxidative stress of the nervous system.
It also has anti-inflammatory molecules. The flower extracts of longan fruit have also shown significant anti-apoptotic activity.
Due to its rich nutrient profile and its ability to control inflammation, apoptosis, oxidative stress, longan fruit is really a good brain food. It prevents the development of various neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s diseases, Alzheimer disease, etc.
5. Strengthens bones:
We need to maintain our bones in a healthy manner by consuming sufficient vitamins and minerals, most importantly calcium and magnesium. Calcium is a vital constituent of the bones. The decreased amount of calcium leads to many diseases like osteoporosis, which has decreased bone mineral density.
People with osteoporosis tend to have brittle bones and they suffer from fractures quite often. Even a trivial trauma can fracture their bones. Women of premenopausal and postmenopausal age are particularly susceptible to osteoporosis.
Longan is rich in calcium, magnesium and other minerals that are required to make the bones healthy and strong. They prevent the development of osteoporosis and protect us from fractures and other bone injuries.
Longan also promotes the differentiation of osteoblasts which are cells required for the formation of bones. As per research, longan fruit has a very promising role to cure osteoporosis due to its effects on osteoblasts.
6. Boosts immunity:
People with a poor immune system are susceptible to all sorts of infections. Bacteria and viruses find people with low immunity levels and attack them and cause deadly diseases. We always need to make our immune system strong.
Having low-stress levels and eating a nutritious diet are the two cornerstones of making immune system healthy. Longan fruit fulfills both of theses criteria. It makes our mind calm, relaxes the nervous system and mind and also provides us with nutrients to make our immune system strong.
According to research, longan fruit promotes the activity of phagocytes. Phagocytes are specialized cells of the immune system that engulf the bacteria and other microbes. They kill the bacteria.
Due to enhanced phagocytic activity due to longan fruit, we suffer from bacterial nd other microbial infections less often, if we consume this amazing fruit regularly. In addition to boosting the immune system, longan also scavenges free radicals and possesses antitumor activity.
7. Treats cancers:
Cancers are very lethal. They can affect almost any part of our body. Preliminary research indicates that longan fruit has tumor suppression ability. This fruit suppresses the growth of the deadly cancer cells.
But, it still has to be proved about the exact mechanism by which longan fruit kills the cancer cells. Still, a proper guideline has to be created by the researchers regarding the exact way to use longan fruit to prevent and treat cancers.
8. Boosts energy:
Longan fruit is really very good energy booster. It promotes both short term and long term energy in a person. Long term energy is called Qi or Chi as per the traditional Chinese medicine. Qi or Chi is nothing but the flow of energy through the body.
Proper flow of energy is required to prevent various ailments. Qi makes a person relaxed, makes him calm and relaxed. Qi can even slow down aging and make you very healthy. Many techniques are being used t harness the energy of Qi like Feng shui, Martial arts, Tai chi, Qigong, etc.
All the above practices are very renowned in China and other southeast Asian countries. Now, eating Longan fruit is a very simple and effective way of harnessing the energy of Qi. It is very delicious too. So, you can boost energy and satisfy your sweet cravings at the same time.
9. Treats insomnia:
Insomnia can trouble a person a lot. If you can’t sleep properly at night, you won’t be able to work in the mornings, you can’t concentrate and you become very irritable and restless. Sufficient sleep is required to work properly and to remain happy and healthy.
Drugs used for treating insomnia have many side effects that are intolerable. So, we need to choose natural remedies for insomnia instead. Longan fruit is a wonderful natural remedy for curing insomnia. If longan fruit is consumed along with taking Ginseng tablets daily, it works really well to promote your sleep.
Longan fruit makes a person calm, relaxed and rejuvenated. It de-stresses a person. This is the main reason behind Longan fruit’s insomnia treating ability.
10. Acts as a natural antidepressant:
Depression is a problem which is becoming very common throughout the world. The number of people suffering from depression is increasing day by day. But, people generally don’t prefer to visit a psychiatrist or tell the people around them about their depression due to the social stigma attached to depression.
People are also reluctant to take antidepressants drugs due to the sid effects. More emphasis has to be laid on the natural alternatives to curb depression. Yoga, meditation, and natural foods need to be incorporated by the depressed people to treat depression.
Longan fruit is really effective in relieving stress which is one of the main reasons behind the development of depression. It calms the mind and relaxes a person. It strengthens the nerves and makes the person capable enough to handle depression and be happy.
11. Makes heart healthy:
We suffer from high levels of stress due to today’s competition. We suffer from anxiety, depression and many other nervous and psychiatric disorders due to the high-stress levels.
All theses mental health ailments take a toll on our heart. Psychiatric problems lead to many hormonal changes and release of substances lie catecholamines 9norepinephrine and epinephrine) which in high amounts can affect the heart adversely.
Low levels of hemoglobin or anemia can also lead to heart failure, which is called anemic heart failure as the heart doesn’t get adequate blood and oxygen supply to function normally.
As longan fruit curbs anemia and relieves us from stress, our heart gets relieved from unnecessary burdens and it becomes healthy too.
12. Good for oral care:
Healthy gums, lips, teeth need adequate nutrition in the form of vitamins and minerals. Longan fruit has a good amount of vitamin C which is necessary for the formation of collagen which is a vital constituent of all the tissues like gums, tongue, lips, etc.
Longan fruit makes the gums healthy, prevents gum bleeding and also helps to ward off any infections of the oral cavity.
13. Boosts sex drive:
Many people suffer from lack of sex drive or sexual desire. This adversely affects their marital life and takes a toll on the relationships.
Longan is a well-known sex tonic as per Chinese medicine. It boosts the sex drive and saves you from unwanted marital complications.
14. Treats snake bite:
In some countries like Vietnam, Longan fruit seeds are used as a traditional cure for snake bite. People press the longan seeds against the snake bite and leave it for few minutes in a pressed position.
They believe that the longan seeds absorb the poison of the snake from the snake bite wound and make a person poison free. It is still followed in some parts of the world.
15. Benefits of longan for hair:
Longan fruit has so many nutrients that promote healthy hair growth. The vitamins and minerals in longan nourish the hair, hair follicles, and scalp.
They kill the bacteria causing dandruff and help in preventing dandruff. Even the seeds of longan fruit are good for hair. So, the seeds of longan are crushed and then added to herbal shampoos. The important ingredient of longan seeds that is good for hair is saponin.
Benefits of longan for skin:
16. Make skin healthy:
Longan has many vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and also minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium, etc which promote the healthy growth of skin. They nourish the skin. Deficiency of vitamins is the main reason behind the development of many skin diseases. Adequate nutrition from longan ensures that skin is healthy.
17. Prevents premature aging:
Free radicals are generated in the body due to various metabolic processes. Free radicals are very harmful to many body parts including skin. Free radicals can damage our skin and make us look old at a very young age.
They develop many signs of aging like age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. We get embarrassed if we look very old at an early age. Longan fruit has many antioxidants that fight the free radicals. They prevent early aging. They also help us get rid of all the signs of aging and look vibrant and youthful.
18. Reduces sweating:
Many people suffer from excessive sweating. The unpleasant odor from sweat can be a really embarrassing problem when amongst the people. People might avoid us due to the foul-smelling sweat. We use many deodorants to avoid such problems due to sweat.
In some folk medicines, the seeds of longan are sued to control excessive sweating. They believe that certain ingredients of the longan seeds like saponins and tannins play a vital role in controlling the sweating.
19. Good diet for weight loss:
Longan fruits are rich in fiber and also low in calories in comparison to some high-calorie fruits like mango and custard apple.
Longan fruits satisfy your sweet tooth and avoid adding up unwanted calories to your body. The fiber content of longan keeps you satiated and avoids hunger pangs. It is also highly nutritious and contains many vitamins and minerals. It keeps you healthy while trying to lose weight.
20. Good for hypertension:
Longan fruits have almost zero percent sodium. Sodium is responsible for water retention which leads to increased blood pressure. As longan doesn’t have sodium, it helps in avoiding water retention and prevents an increase of blood pressure.
Longan also has a good amount of potassium which relaxes the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. It also reduces the stress, anxiety, and depression which aggravate hypertension or high blood pressure. It makes a person calm and relaxed which is absolutely necessary to keep our blood pressure under control.
21. Heals wounds:
Longan has many compounds that reduce inflammation and fight the free radicals. These properties are really essential to help in wound healing. Collagen formation is also an important step in promoting wound healing.
Longan has a good amount of vitamin C which helps in the formation of collagen. Longan fruit makes the wounds heal faster due to collagen formation and also due to its anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenging abilities.
Some precautions while eating longan:
- Pregnant women should avoid eating longan as it contains some compounds which can cause vaginal bleeding and it can have adverse effects on the child. It can also lead to spontaneous abortion.
- Also, longan raises the body temperature significantly. So, avoid eating longan when the temperature outside is very high or when the weather is very hot.
Longan Scientific classification:
You have seen all the health benefits of longan fruit. Have you ever tries longan fruit? Do you find it delicious? What are all the ways in which you use longan? Share your experience with us.