Health Benefits of Loquat

The loquat tree is a medium-sized tree found in mild temperate climates. The tree is most famous for its fruit, which boasts many health benefits. Loquat fruits, also known as Japanese plums, are bright orange ovals. The fruits are about 1-2 inches long and contain large brown seeds. Many people love loquat fruits for their unique tart and sweet flavor.

Loquat trees are native to China, where they grow in the wild. In China, loquats have been used as traditional medicine for thousands of years. The Chinese used loquat fruits and leaves to treat coughs, diabetes, and cancer, among other ailments. The fruits were first brought back to Europe by a Portuguese explorer in the 16th century.

Loquat fruits are often eaten raw or as an extract, but the fruit is also found in jams, pies, and juices. The loquat leaf and flower are also sometimes used in teas.

Health Benefits

Loquat fruits, seeds, and leaves have a wide variety of health benefits like:

Disease Prevention

Loquats are very high in antioxidants, chemicals that help protect your cells against damage and disease. One study showed that loquat leaves had a stronger antioxidant effect than 54 other medicinal plants.

Loquats are particularly high in carotenoid antioxidants, which boost the immune system. A strong immune system is important for fighting off sickness.

Cancer Prevention

Early research shows that loquat fruit and leaves may help prevent cancer. Antioxidants in loquat fruit help suppress cancerous tumor growth. Loquat extract or fruit can help kill cancer cells in your body, which stops the creation and spreading of tumors. The anti-cancer effect of loquats has been shown in animals and on a cellular level, but it has not been studied in humans.

Loquat fruit is especially high in vitamin A and beta carotene, an antioxidant. These nutrients lower the risk of colorectal, lung, and other cancers.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

The loquat leaf, seed, and fruit have been shown to reduce inflammation, the body’s over-reactive response to an irritant like germs or allergens. Chinese medicine has been using loquat leaves for centuries to treat diseases caused by inflammation such as bronchitis and asthma. Several substances found in loquats, such as triterpene acids, reduce inflammation in the body.

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For example, inflammation of the lungs causes many problems, such as bronchitis and coughing. In several studies, loquat leaf extracts showed anti-inflammatory effects that helped reduce chronic bronchitis. Most of these studies were performed on animals, so it is too soon to be sure whether humans get the same anti-inflammation benefits from loquats.

Diabetes Prevention and Treatment

Diabetes is a disease caused when a person’s body does not produce enough insulin, or their body is resistant to insulin. This can lead to very high blood sugar (in the case of type 1 diabetes) or very low blood sugar (in the case of type-2 diabetes). 

Many studies show that loquat leaf extract can help prevent and control both type 1and type 2 diabetes. This happens because loquats can lower blood sugar and increase insulin levels.

Nutrition

Loquat contains flavonoids and carotenoids which act as antioxidants that help reduce the risk of serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Loquat also contains:

Nutrients Per Serving

A 100 gram serving (the size of a medium banana) of loquat contains:

Portion Sizes

Loquats may cause allergic reactions. Reactions may be mild, but in severe cases loquats can cause anaphylaxis (loss of breathing). Check with your doctor if you’d like help adding loquats to your diet.

Do not swallow the large brown seeds in loquat fruits. While it is rare, the seeds may cause mild poisoning if eaten raw.

How to Prepare Loquat

Loquat fruits can be consumed and used in many different forms, including as a tea, supplement, extract, or snack.

If you’re eating whole loquat fruit, you can either peel of the skin and eat around the seeds or slice it in half, remove the seed, and eat around the skin. Not all loquats have the same number of seeds. They usually contain one, two, or three seeds. It’s important to note that the soft flesh of loquat fruit can stain your hands brown.

Here are some ways to incorporate loquat into your diet:

●Make a delicious loquat jam or preserve

●Braise chick with a honey-loquat glaze

●Add loquat to your morning smoothie

●Whip up a delicious loquat crumble for dessert

●Experiment with loquat-onion chutney 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on December 08, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A: “Quantification of amygdalin, prunasin, total cyanide and free cyanide in powdered loquat seeds.”

Food Science and Biotechnology: “Oral administration of loquat suppresses DMBA-induced breast cancer in rats.”

International Journal of Molecular Sciences: “Biological Activities of Extracts from Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica Lindl.): A Review.”

International Journal of Molecular Sciences: “Total phenolic contents and antioxidant capacities of selected chinese medicinal plants.”

Journal of Ethnopharmacology: “Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of the total triterpene acid fraction from Folium Eriobotryae.”

Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology: “Allergy and Anaphylactic Reaction to Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) Are Induced by a Bet v 1 Homolog.”

Research Gate: “Nutrient value of loquat fruit.”

Life Sciences: “Anti-oxidative effect of triterpene acids of Eriobotrya japonica (Thunb.) Lindl. Lead in chronic bronchitis rats.”

Nutrients: “Association of Dietary Vitamin A and β-Carotene Intake with the Risk of Lung Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of 19 Publications.”

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