Loquat, also called as Chinese Plum is a fruit that grows on a large shrub and is native to China. The scientific name of this fruit is Eriobotrya japonica and belongs to the Rosacea family. Loquats are related to the pome family which includes apples, pears and plums. Loquat is one of the first fruits to be cultivated in Asia and is often referred to in Chinese mythology.
There are two species of loquat, European and Japanese, and Japanese is more acclaimed than the European. At least 14 varieties of loquat are cultivated in India and all vary in quality, size, shape, acidity and sweetness. Regions which cultivate loquat are Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and a few hill stations in South India.
It’s a round or pear shaped fruit with a yellow coloured thin and hard skin. The pulp is white in colour and has brown seeds of various sizes. It tastes similar to apricots, cherries and other sweet fruits. It is mainly consumed raw and is also processed to prepare jams, jellies and juice. You can use loquat leaves to prepare tea for relaxation effects.
Loquat fruit benefits are high as they are an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B and C. It contains almost all the B complex Vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, Pyridoxine, Folates and Folic acid. It contains minerals like calcium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, selenium and carbohydrates. It also contains monounsaturated fats like omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids. The fruit is also low in cholesterol and calories since it hardly contains any lipids or proteins.
Several researches have revealed that loquat extracts are beneficial in cancer therapies due to its cytokine immune modulation capabilities. Laetrile in loquat is a known anti-cancer agent. Pectin in loquat retains moisture in the colon and thus functions as a bulk laxative. In this way it helps to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time to toxic substances as well as binding the cancer causing chemicals in the colon.
Loquat is an excellent source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A maintains the integrity of mucous membranes of the skin. Consumption of Vitamin A rich foods prevents lung and cavity cancer. Vitamin A is also crucial for the visual and dental health in a person.
Potassium in loquat is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps to control the heart rate and blood pressure.
Pectin also reduces blood cholesterol levels by decreasing the re absorption in the colon by binding bile acids resulting in its excretion from the body.
Loquat has a good source of minerals like iron, copper, calcium, manganese etc. Manganese is used in the body as a co factor for the anti-oxidant enzyme. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells where as iron is required for cellular oxidation and proper blood circulation in the body.
Loquat extracts fight against memory impairment and neurological and oxidative stress.
Loquat leaves contain significant anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities and is a valuable agent in the treatment of cancer. Loquats leaves extract also protects the body against cellular ageing. Besides, Loquat leaves are also believed to have a mild restrictive effect on HIV. The leaf contains 2-alpha-hydoxyursolic acid which alos contains anti HIV effects.
Loquats have a mild sedative quality and can be processed into a soothing cough syrup or a paste to relieve from nausea. This paste improves respiratory functions by removing phlegm and making it easier to cough. Loquat leaf is shown to shorten the recovery time from respiratory illness.
Loquats are rich in fiber and are a healthy option for those who want to lose weight. Foods rich in fiber keep the stomach full for a longer period and reduce irregular hunger pangs.
Loquat aids digestion and provides relief to those suffering from digestive problems.
Loquats are a functional food for the prevention of diabetes and hyper lipidemia. Loquats release a set of natural bodily chemicals known as polysaccharides which help to reduce diabetes by increasing insulin production. Its extract also support pancreas by supplementing insulin production.
These health benefits of loquat fruit make it an ideal for consumption to maintain optimum health.
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