LYCHEES (荔枝) are so tasty, but remember never to eat lychees on an empty stomach! Why? It is because they can possibly kill you! How? Hypoglycin is a chemical found in lychees. This chemical is toxic because it prevents the body from producing glucose, a sugar which is an important energy source. Despite that, lychees are also rich sources of fibres, vitamins and minerals. Moderation is always the key.
LYCHEES were first discovered 2,000 years ago in Southern China, which is why they are also called the ʻChinese strawberryʼ.
Besides China, lychees today can also be found in tropical and subtropical areas around the world like India (印度), Nepal (尼泊爾), Bangladesh (孟加拉), Taiwan (台灣), Vietnam (越南), Indonesia (印尼), Thailand (泰國), Mexico (墨西哥) and the Philippines (菲律賓). Nevertheless, China and India are still the greatest producers of lychee in the world.
Lychees in different forms
APART from eating fresh lychees, we now see many different edible forms — lychee juices, lychee ice-creams and some people like to put lychees in their salad bowls. Lychees are also available in dried form.
ONCE again, do not eat lychees on an empty stomach. We also should be careful about the seed of lychees. They contain a toxin that can affect our digestive system, so it is not a good idea to chew on it. However, Chinese doctors do think powdered lychees seeds have a medicinal purpose.