If you’re native to Asia, especially South China, you must have stumbled upon round or pear-shaped orange colored fruits grown on small evergreen shrubs. That, my friends, is loquat fruit. Loquat, known as Eriobotrya japonica botanically, is a subtropical fruit used since time immemorial in herbal and traditional medicine. The benefits of this fruit are documented by several researchers and scientist. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most amazing facts and health benefits of loquat fruit. Just keep reading.
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Loquat has been grown in India and Japan since the ancient times, but it was naturalized in Japan around millennia ago, after which, it spread to the other Asian, North American, Middle Eastern and South American countries. The fruits, grown in clusters, are rounded, oval or pear-shaped, and are 1 to 2 inches long. Being a member of the Rosacea family, the taste of loquat is similar to those of apples. It’s sweet, slightly tarty and has a pleasant aroma. The taste of loquat is also said to be a cross between peach and mango. (This has got us craving for the fruit even more).
Loquat Nutritional Value:
The delicious loquat fruit and its leaves are a rich source of iron, calcium, potassium and Vitamin A, B, C and E. It contains all the B-complex vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, folate, folic acid, and pyridoxine. For the minerals, it contains manganese, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, copper, zinc, and selenium. Furthermore, loquat fruit also contains omega 3 and 6fatty acids.
Health Benefits Of Loquat Fruit:
The array of nutrients in loquat are essential for optimal health and wellbeing. It’s proven to help prevent diabetes, lower the risk of cholesterol and cancer, improve bone mineral density and gastrointestinal health. Let’s take an in-depth look at the health benefits of loquat fruit below.
- Loquat Controls Blood Pressure:
Loquat is loaded with potassium, which acts as a vasodilator for the cardiovascular system in the body. It reduces the stress and strain on the arteries and blood vessels, thereby lowering the blood pressure and protecting the heart health. Potassium is also considered a brain booster, as it increases the blood flow in the capillaries of the brain, thereby improving cognition.
- Regulates Cholesterol Levels:
Even though the mechanism isn’t understood fully, but research has linked loquat to lower cholesterol levels in people who consumed the fruit regularly. But this health benefit isn’t proven on a large scale, and studies are still going on it.
- Prevent Diabetes:
A regular consumption of loquat will prevent and even treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar level. The fruit, when consumed, releases polysaccharides, a set of natural body chemicals, which reduce diabetes by increasing the production of insulin. The unique organic compound in loquat leaves regulates the glucose and insulin levels, thereby protecting the body against diabetes. It also avoids drop and spikes in the blood sugar levels.
- Lowers The Risk Of Cancer:
Loquat contains chock full of antioxidants, which are highly beneficial for human health. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals in the body, which are generated as a byproduct of cellular metabolism. These molecules with the unpaired electrons cause the healthy cells to mutate, which lead to chronic diseases, including cancer. Loquat tea is also linked to lower the possibility of oral and lung cancers. Loquat extracts are also useful in cancer therapies because of its cytokine immune modulation capabilities. Even laetrile in loquat is known to be the anti-cancer agent.
- Soothes The Respiratory System:
Out of all, expectorant substances are best for the treatment of cold and other respiratory infections. Loquat tea is one of the most useful expectorants, either when it’s gargled or drunk. A regular consumption of loquat tea will cause coughing, thereby expelling the phlegm and mucus from the body. The respiratory system is also the place where bacteria live and grow, which exacerbates other symptoms. So you need to eliminate the phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tract to make yourself feel better. The mild sedative quality of loquat also soothes the senses, especially during cold and flu.
- Strengthen Bones:
Weak bone mineral density is a problem for many people in the old age, especially in women after menopause. Loquat has been proven to prevent the loss of bone density in several parts of the body due to its rich content of nutrients, vitamins and hormone-mimicking chemical components.
- Circulatory System:
A high iron diet is crucial to avoid anemia and the other symptoms associated with it. Loquat contains high quantities of iron, which is required for the production red blood cells. Iron is also a crucial part of hemoglobin, which transports the red blood cells throughout the body, thereby boosting circulation. This is turn will speed healing, increase overall energy and ensure that all the organ systems work at full capacity.
- Improves Immune System:
Loquat contains high levels of vitamin C, an essential component in our immune system. Vitamin C stimulates the production of white blood cells in the body, which is the body’s first line of defense against the pathogens. It also works as an antioxidant to keep chronic illness at bay. Besides, vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen, which in turn grows and repairs the tissues of the body, following an injury or illness.
- Aids Digestion:
Pectin, a dietary fiber found in the loquat fruit, is acclaimed for aiding digestion. Dietary fiber bulks up the stool and stimulates peristaltic motion, thereby regulating the bowel movements. Dietary fiber also eases discomfort caused due bloating and gastritis.
Health Benefits Of Loquat Leaves:
Loquat leaves have been proven to provide several health benefits, primarily because of the high quantities of antioxidants in it. The health benefits of loquat leaves include detoxification of the body, protection from free radicals, regulation of normal blood sugar and supporting brain health. Loquat leaves can also help ease aches and wounds. Just make salves or poultices from the crushed loquat leaves and apply on the aches or wounds.
Selection And Storage Of Loquat Fruit:
When purchasing loquat, ensure that fruits are bright yellow in color, have a smooth surface and emit a sweet aroma. It shouldn’t have any cuts, patches, and wrinkles on the skin. And avoid extremely soft fruits as they perish easily.
How To Eat Loquat:
Loquat fruit is best enjoyed on its own, but you can use it to make jellies, jams or incorporate in smoothies and salads. Ensure that you wash the fruits in cold water to remove the dirt and pesticide residue.
Loquat leaf tea is one of the easiest loquat recipes you can make at home. It’s also the best way to obtain all the nutrients of loquat leaves.
How To Make Loquat Leaves Tea?
- Cut the loquat leaves in thick strips.
- Add 5 grams of loquat leaves to 4 cups of water and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let it steep for another 10 minutes.
- Strain the tea and drink.
- You can even cool the tea and serve with ice during the summers.
Side Effects Of Loquat:
Anything consumed in high quantities can be toxic and same is the case with loquat and its parts. Excess consumption of loquat leaf extract has reported to cause strange occurrences in the body, toxic myopathy being one of it. The condition causes weakness and nonspecific pain. Loquat seeds contain toxic alkaloids, which can cause life-threatening symptoms like breathlessness, vomiting and even death in extreme cases. So always consume loquat and its product in limited amounts.
Now that we’ve acquainted you with the health benefits of loquat, it’s your job to stock this fresh fruit right away. Did we miss any of the health benefits of loquat? Let us know in the comment section below!