Reading the headline makes your heart skip a bit, doesn’t it? It nearly gave me a heart attack! After all, most of us have been giving litchis to our kiddos. As soon as the summer season starts, the litchis make their appearance and the streets are bursting with fruit carts loaded with this delightful juicy fruit. Just a look at the juicy wonder and you feel refreshed. But before you finish off the entire litchis bunch, please read this.
Since 1995, come mid-May and an epidemic will outbreak in Muzaffarpur city of Bihar. Lots of parents will rush to hospital with their children suffering from seizures and most of them died after slipping into coma or lost their normal brain function. From the hospital records, researchers discovered that the disease mostly affected poor and undernourished children living near the lichi orchards and most of them would have consumed a lot of litchis and skipped dinner.
Researchers have recently found that the cause of this epidemic. which caused unexplained neurological illness with high mortality among children and which had been a puzzle for over two decades is – consumption of litchis on an empty stomach. They found that a deadly toxin – Methylene cyclopropyl-glycine (MCPG), present in litchi blocks enzymes involved in normal glucose metabolism, eventually leading to very low level of blood sugar. Unripened litchis contain higher levels of MCPG, thus being more dangerous. Researchers concluded that consumption of litchis on an empty stomach, when the blood sugar levels are already low in the body, can lead to acute encephalopathy, thereby causing seizures, coma and death or loss of brain function.
So, this summer season, please exercise caution while eating litchis. Eat only ripened litchis, minimise the consumption of litchis and never eat them on an empty stomach! If you are fasting, please stay away from litchi!