Loquats and Health Benefits
I know loquats are in season, they’re hanging over the fence, like forbidden fruit, waiting for me. It’s the neighbor’s tree, and it’s free for the stealing. At least, that’s what my neighbor assures me, “Anytime, pick as many as you want.”
If you’re wondering what on earth are loquats, they’re small orange (when ripe) oval-shaped fruits. They grow in bunches and if you peel off the skin, the flesh is tantalizingly refreshing, with a hint of cantaloupe, plum and cherry, all beautifully blend into nature’s perfection. If you love fiber, eat them with the skin on, and from what I learned, they offer even more nutrition…thanks to the skin.
Loquats have been around for a really long time….back when only royalties were permitted to partake of the fruit. Now, you can lay your hands on them---in the farmer’s market, specialty stores or in your own yard, or neighbor’s. They are believed to have originated from the southeastern part of China, preferring high altitudes. Chinese travelers introduced the fruit to Japan, where they are lovingly referred to as the Japanese plum (biwa) as opposed to the pipa (Chinese).
Although the tree is beautiful to look at and in some homes, are planted more for ornamental purposes, the fruits and leaves offer health and medicinal benefits. The long history of use to treat a number of health ailments testify to that.
Health Benefits of Loquat Fruit
As stated, loquats are best eaten fresh. They don’t keep very long and bruised easily but when refrigerated, they can keep up to a week. Loquats can be transformed into various culinary treats—in salsa, jam, tossed into salads or smoothies, used as garnishing on meat dishes. You don’t need much coaxing to like the fruit and what’s more, they are bursting with health benefits.
- Promotes Weight Loss
Loquats are low in calories and rich in insoluble fiber and pectin. If you’re looking for a nutritious snack without a hefty caloric profile, loquats make a natural choice. The fiber and pectin also act to fill you up, high on satiety index, to help you stay full longer, thereby eliminating unnecessary snacking, a good way to help weight control.
- Full of Nutrients
If you’ve a need to check out nutritional profiles, loquats have an impressive one. Loaded with calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, vitamin A and B-complex vitamins such as folates, niacin and vitamin B-6, loquats have a lot to offer. For instance, Vitamin A is quite a multi-tasker. Not only is it good for night vision, it stimulates the production of white blood cells, helps with bone growth and maintains the integrity of endothelial cells (those lining the body’s interior surfaces) and regulates cell growth and division. Potassium helps to regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
- Promotes Good Health
Loquat’s pectin helps to protect the body against colon cancer by binding to toxins and flushing them out of the colon. Pectin is known to reduce cholesterol by preventing the re-absorption of cholesterol in the colon.
- Helps Production of Blood
Various minerals can be found in loquats; among them: manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, copper and folate. These minerals play a crucial part in the formation of red blood cells. Working in tandem with this aspect of promoting health, the vitamin C found in the fruit helps to increase the absorption of iron.
Not to be outdone, loquat leaves boost numerous health benefits as well. If the glossy deep green leaves seem a bit show-offy, they have ample reasons to do so. They are gloriously health-promoting, boosting a long history of use in traditional medicine to treat a number of health conditions.
If you have a loquat tree, you may be happy to know that you’re actually growing a cabinet of medicine. Ponder the many health benefits of Loquat Leaves:
Health Benefits of Loquat Leaves:
- Dissolves Thick Mucus
Are your lungs drowning in thick mucus, resulting in a heavy cough or are you having trouble breathing through the mass of mucus accumulating in your respiratory system? If you’re, loquat leaves extract may offer up some relief. The Chinese have long used it in a traditional medicine called “Pipa Gao” (aka Pei Pa Koa), made from a combination of loquat leaves and herbal ingredients as a demulcent and expectorant. Reportedly, it soothes the digestive and respiratory system.
- Fights Inflammation
Utilize the soothing effect of Loquat leaves to fight skin inflammation. In Japan, dried loquat leaves are brewed for drinking to encourage good skin and treat skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It is also used in the making of topical creams to treat edema and histamine-induced skin contraction.
- Treats Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes can be debilitating. Lack of insulin production or the body’s inability to regulate the movement of sugar into cells have dire consequences such as dizziness, thirst, poor eye and skin health, including numbness of the feet. Loquat leaves contain turmentic acid that helps to stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin.
Toxins can build up in the body from the food we eat to the pollutants we breathe in. Whether it manifests itself in a sluggish metabolism or poor immunity, a body riddled with toxins is bad news. Loquat leaves contain Amygdalin (B-17) that supports the liver’s ability to process and eliminate toxins—good news.
Every day, our body is bombarded with virus. They clamor to bring us down. But why let them? Loquat leaves are rich in a variety of acids, among them megastimane glycosides and polyphenolic constituents, known for their antiviral properties.
Many Uses of Loquats
Now that we've learned how healthy loquats (and their leaves) can be, why not put them to good use? It's not quite possible to list them all but I'll try:
- Eat it as a fruit--so delicious
- Puree it and make it into a fruity yummy sauce
- Use it in the smoothie
- As an alternative/creative ingredient in salsa (try it!)
- Dice it and toss it in salads, on pancakes or as a garnishing
- Add it to cupcakes, fruitcakes or wherever fresh fruits are called for.
- Loquat jam
- Loquat pickles (use the green fruits instead)
- Dry the leaves and use it as tea.
Nutritional Profile of Loquats
1 cup, raw
% Daily Value
Calories from Fat