Longan Fruit: Health Benefits,Nutrition Profile & Side Effects

Don’t be fooled by its small shape; its immense health benefits may take you by surprise.

Medically reviewed by Staci Gulbin, RD, LDN Staci Gulbin Staci GulbinRD, LDN linkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health Swathi Handoo MSc (Biotechnology), Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , BSc (Life Sciences), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach Himanshi Mahajan BSc (Life Sciences), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
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This lychee’s little brother has the effects of a mutant. Fortunately, it is not destructive but beneficial. Curious to know the benefits of a longan fruit? Here is a teaser! This fruit is known to be good for eye health, immune system, stress relief, and digestion, with anti-aging, wound healing, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Keep reading to know more such interesting benefits of this fruit.

protip_icon Know Your Ingredient: Longan Fruit

What Is It?
Longan fruit is a small, round, sweet, and watery fruit that is similar in appearance to lychee.

What Are Its Benefits?
It can heal wounds, allergies, flu, and other inflammatory diseases.

Who Can Use It?
People with anemia and iron deficiency and those who want to reduce stress and treat insomnia should include it in their diet.

How Often?
One or two servings per day.

Caution
Despite the many health benefits, one might need to keep their blood sugar levels in check while consuming longan fruit since it has high sugar content.

What Is Longan?

Longan (Dimocarpus longan) is a small, round, sweet, and juicy fruit that is verry similar to lychee. It has a yellowish-brown thick shell, also known as a pericarp, which hardens as it ages.

When it‘s young and fresh, you can peel the pericarp off to get a translucent, white, watery pulp embedding a big black seed, almost like an eye. You need to separate the seed to eat it. However, the seeds can also be processed to obtain essential oils and extracts.

These super delicious tropical fruits of the Sapindaceae family are grown widely in Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, and China. Locals use longan in sorbets, jellies, salads, desserts, and puddings.

But longan is not just another exotic fruit from Southeast Asia; it has been used for many years in traditional medicine.

A blogger shared her experience of tasting the longan fruit for the first time: “Not particularly sweet, as far as fruits go. I thought it tasted like a combination of melon and lima bean, if you can imagine that. The smell definitely reminded me of shelling lima beans with my great-grandmother and grandmother (i).”

Let’s explore the different ways longan can help your body and nurse you to health.

protip_icon Trivia
The Han dynasty emperor ordered planting longan trees in his gardens in Shaanxi, China, but the mission failed in 200 BC. Longan trees started to grow in Fujian and Guangdong after 400 years.

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Longan?

1. Has Anti-Cancer Effects

Longans have high levels of polyphenols. The polyphenolic compounds like gallic acid eliminate the stress-causing free radicals and toxic intermediates that can cause cancer. The fruit, flower, and the seed are equally potent antioxidants.

Traditional Chinese medicine has used longan seed extracts that interfere with DNA synthesis and suppress the undesirable oncoproteins in the tumors, in turn, destroying them.

Hence, consuming longan fruits or seed extract powders can have anti-cancer benefits, systematically inhibiting breast, colorectal, liver, lung, and cervix cancer cells (1).

2. Has Anti-inflammatory Effects

Close up of a woman experiencing psoriasis.
Image: Shutterstock

The Asians used longan fruit pulp to heal wounds, allergies, flu, and other inflammatory diseases.

The pericarp (outer layer), pulp, and seeds have anti-inflammatory phytochemicals like gallic acid, epicatechin, and ellagic acid.(2)

These compounds inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory chemicals like prostaglandins, histamines, nitric oxide, and tissue necrosis factor (TNF) in your body (3).

Also, because of the abundance of vitamins B and C, longans promote healing and treat chronic inflammatory conditions like edema, GERDi  A chronic medical condition where stomach bile reenters the food pipe and irritates the esophagus, causing chest pain and heartburn. , irritable bowel disease (IBS)i  A gastrointestinal disorder that causes stomach issues like constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and flatulence. , skin allergies, wounds, burns, psoriasis, and Crohn’s disease.(4)

3. Treats Anemia And Iron Deficiency

Longan extracts, along with other native herbs, are used in Chinese traditional medicine to cure intractable anemia, thrombocytopeniai  A medical condition characterized by excessively low blood platelet count, resulting in excessive bleeding and delayed wound healing. , and other blood-related disorders. It was identified that urban women who did not maintain WHO recommended level of iron in their diets (5).

Dried longans contain 1.5 mg of iron per ounce. Having longans in your fruit custard or salad will boost the platelet count and hemoglobin concentration – especially in menstruating and expecting women (6).

4. Gives Young And Glowing Skin

Longan fruit gives you a youthful glow
Image: Shutterstock

Longan fruit can prove beneficial for skin health.

Phytochemicals have always been the best solution to treat various disorders, and longan has them in abundance.

Bioactive compounds like corilagin, gallic acid, and ellagic acid in dried longans possess the highest free radical scavenging activity. The fruit also has antityrosinase activity and hence can prevent the onset of cancers (7).

Consuming such a potent antioxidant can give you clean, bright, and spotless skin with reduced risk of developing photosensitivity or skin cancer.

5. Reduces Stress And Treats Insomnia

Longan fruit helps treat insomnia
Image: Shutterstock

Commercially available drugs to treat insomnia that target the GABA receptors, histamine receptorsi  Specific proteins that utilize histamine (an organic compound released in response to an injury) in the body , and other active centers of your brain have temporary benefits and long-term side effects. The leaves and pulp of longan have bioactive compounds that suppress the levels of neurotransmitters that cause anxiety, insomnia, and stress.

A 2014 research claims that longans, in combination with other hypnotic derivatives, can increase the rate of sleep and sleep duration. This fruit can also enhance learning and memory by increasing the rate of immature neuronal survival (8),(9).

Did You Know?

  • Longan seeds are excellent antifungal agents. Mouthwashes containing longan extracts can fight oral infections caused by fungi (Candida and Cryptococcus species)
  • Because of their saponini  A toxic substance found in plants that is used in soapmaking due to its emulsion (foam) forming abilities. content, longan seeds are dried and used in shampoos and hair washes.
  • The Chinese call the longan ‘Dragon’s eye’ because of the black colored seed it has – resembling an eye.

Though the mechanism is yet to be understood, it doesn’t hurt to start eating this little tangy-sweet, fibrous, and pulpy fruit for all the health benefits it may provide.

And when you look at the nutritional profile of longan, you have even more reason to love this deliciously sweet and musky fruit. Check it out!

Nutrient Profile Of Longan

Calorie Information
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Calories1.8(7.5 kJ)0%
From Carbohydrate1.6(6.7 kJ)
From Fat0.0(0.0 kJ)
From Protein0.1(0.4 kJ)
From Alcohol~(0.0 kJ)
Carbohydrates
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Total Carbohydrate0.5 g0%
Dietary Fiber0.0 g0%
Starch~
Sugars~
Fats & Fatty Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Total Fat0.0 g0%
Saturated Fat~~
Monounsaturated Fat~
Polyunsaturated Fat~
Total trans fatty acids~
Total trans-monoenoic fatty acids~
Total trans-polyenoic fatty acids~
Total Omega-3 fatty acids~
Total Omega-6 fatty acids~
Protein & Amino Acids
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Protein0.0 g0%
Vitamins
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Vitamin A~~
Vitamin C2.5 mg4%
Vitamin D~~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)~~
Vitamin K~~
Thiamin0.0 mg0%
Riboflavin0.0 mg0%
Niacin0.0 mg0%
Vitamin B6~~
Folate~~
Vitamin B120.0 mcg0%
Pantothenic Acid~~
Choline~
Betaine~
Minerals
Amounts Per Selected Serving%DV
Calcium0.0 mg0%
Iron0.0 mg0%
Magnesium0.3 mg0%
Phosphorus0.6 mg0%
Potassium8.0 mg0%
Sodium0.0 mg0%
Zinc0.0 mg0%
Copper0.0 mg0%
Manganese0.0mg0%
Selenium~~
Fluoride~

You must be wondering if there’s a way to rope in all the vitamin C, potassium, and the fiber this fruit contains. I’ve got that covered!

I’ve collected some simple and quick recipes with longans for you. Would you want to give then a shot? Scroll down!

2 Quick And Simple Recipes With Longan Fruit

1. Longan-Banana Smoothie

Longan-banana smoothie
Image: Shutterstock
What You Need
  • Longan fruits: 5, fresh and ripe
  • Banana: 1
  • Coconut milk or water: 1 cup
  • Blender
Let’s Make It!
  1. Discard the hard outer shells and seeds of the longans.
  2. In a blender, make a smooth puree of the longans.
  3. Break the banana into smaller pieces and add them to the blender.
  4. Pour in coconut milk or water. Blend until you obtain a smooth mixture.
  5. Refrigerate before serving (if you prefer).
  6. That’s the best tropical beach-side-chiller drink you’ve made, by the way!

2. Longan Steamed Egg Custard

Longan steamed egg custard
Image: Shutterstock
What You Need
  • Longans: 8 fresh, peeled
  • Longan syrup: 2 cups
  • Eggs: 3, medium-large size
  • Baking ramekins

Note: The quantity of beaten eggs should be exactly equal to that of longan syrup. Here, the volume is set to 2 cups each.

Let’s Make It!
  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and set aside.
  2. Add the longan syrup to the bowl and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Sieve the egg mixture into two ramekins. You can make many smaller portions if you prefer.
  4. Add two peeled longan fruits to each ramekin.
  5. Steam for 8 minutes.
  6. Serve hot topped with extra longans.
  7. This is how you make a quick, filling, and exotic snack bowl!

Weren’t you instantly transported to the East Asian kitchens and seas? Such is longan’s exotic taste!

protip_icon Did You Know?
Dried longans are a popular fruit in Chinese cuisines, Chinese sweet dessert soups, and Asian sweet and sour foods. You can also consume longan wine.

Though they taste heavenly and are bountiful nutrient carriers, could there be drawbacks of eating longan fruits?

Let’s find out!

What Are The Side Effects Of Eating Longan Fruits?

There are not many side effects of binging on longans that have been documented. But there is a possibility that you can be allergic to longan. The chances are super low, though. The key is portion size.

But there’s one concern that stands out –

High Carbs And Sugar Content

People with diabetes should not consume longans. Although it boosts your immunity and energy levels because of its high levels of vitamins C and B, what’s alarming is the sugar content.

Each ounce of raw longans has about 20.7 g of carbs. This might increase the blood glucose levels in susceptible people.

You can try other low carb alternatives like melons, camu camu, and berries to get your dose of these vitamins and minerals.

Longan and lychee are often confused for each other due to their similar appearance. However, they have certain key differences. Learn more in the next section.

Longan Vs. Lychee

Longan and lychee are two tropical fruits with distinct characteristics. Longan is small and round with translucent flesh encased in a thin, brownish shell. It has a sweet and slightly musky flavor. It also is richer in vitamin C and potassium than lychee (10).

Lychee is also small and round with a reddish-pink, textured shell. It has a sweet and floral taste. However, it is richer in calcium and phosphorus than longan (11).

You can use both the fruits in salads, smoothies, jellies, and desserts. The choice ultimately boils down to your personal taste and preference.

Infographic: Top 4 Health Benefits Of Longan Fruit

Longan fruit contains essential nutrients that make it beneficial for your skin and overall health. We have rounded up the top 4 benefits of consuming this delicious fruit in the infographic below! Scroll down to know more!

top 4 health benefits of longan fruit (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Longan benefits you in multiple ways. It can reduce the risk of cancer, edema, GERD, IBS, and effectively combat anemia. It also imparts a glow to the skin and helps manage insomnia and stress. However, excess consumption may trigger undesirable side effects as this fruit is high in carbs and sugar. Hence, people with diabetes should not consume longans. Consume it in moderation to reap all of its benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you eat longan fruit during pregnancy?

Food taboos across the world say no to ‘wet-hot’ foods like mangoes, lychees, pineapple, and shrimp during pregnancy.
Such foods increase the internal heat in your body, causing problems in the unborn child and while delivering. Traditions in the Eastern and African countries prohibit consumption of such foods (12).
Since research has not proven it yet, you should consult your doctor about having longans while you are carrying or nursing your child.

How long does it take for a longan tree to bear fruits? What is the best season?

Seedling trees may take up to 6 years to bear fruits, whereas air layered trees may bear fruits 2 to 3 years after planting.
The main blooming season for longans is from February/March through April and the beginning of May. Harvest is generally during June, July, or August.
However, some cultivars produce off-season blooms and fruits are harvested 3 to 6 months later.

Is longan good for high blood pressure?

Yes, longan fruit is rich in potassium and may help lower high blood pressure (13).

Is longan acidic or alkaline?

Logan is alkaline when fresh but may turn acidic upon drying or processing.

Can I eat longan during my periods?

Yes, drinking longan tea or eating longan during menstruation can nourish the blood as it is rich in iron. The fruit may also help reduce menstrual cramps.

How do you store longan fruit?

Longan fruits can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. While its skin may harden a little, it would be fit for consumption for at least two weeks.

Key Takeaways

  • Longan is a fruit similar to lychee, small and round in proportions that is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  • Being rich in iron, it helps in preventing anemia, regulating blood pressure, and supports a healthy heart.
  • Longan fruit also boosts cognitive function, memory, and helps in the proper functioning of the nervous system.
longan fruit benefits_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Discover the amazing benefits of longan fruit! Learn how it can help improve your health and wellbeing. Check out the video to uncover the power of this great source of natural nutrition!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Potential roles of longan flower…” World Journal of Experimental Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  2. Gallic Acid Promotes Wound Healing in…” Molecules, US National Library of Medicine.
  3. Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory properties…” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. Role of vitamins in gastrointestinal diseases” World Journal of Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Fruit and vegetable consumption and anemia among adult…” Peer-J, US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Treatment for intractable anemia…” International Journal of General Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
  7. Evaluation of free radical scavenging…” Food and Chemical Toxicology, US National Library of Medicine
  8. Herbal Insomnia Medications that…” Current Neuropharmacology, US National Library of Medicine.
  9. The memory-enhancing effects of…” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, US National Library of Medicine.
  10. Longans, raw” US Department of Agriculture
  11. Lychee” US Department of Agriculture
  12. Motivations for food prohibitions…” Journal of Ethnobiology
  13. Potential roles of longan flower and seed extracts for anti-cancer, World Journal of Experimental Medicine, US National Library of Medicine.
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Staci Gulbin

Staci GulbinMS, MEd, RD, LDN

Staci Gulbin is a registered dietitian, freelance writer, health editor, and founder of LighttrackNutrition.com. She has been a registered dietitian with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2010 and has over a decade of experience in the nutrition and dietetics industry. Staci has also been applying her health and wellness knowledge to writing and editing for websites, such as CDiabetes,...read full bio

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