We’ve all read and believed that litchis have been a cause for encephalitis and the mishappenings with children in Bihar. Excessive use of pesticides on these fruits and a toxin called methylenecyclopropyglycine has been regarded as the cause of low blood sugar levels, encephalitis, and ultimately, the deaths of children after consumption.
However, this may be far from the case.
First, the said toxin is found only in seeds - the inedible part of the litchi fruit. Second, litchis do contain sugar - which makes them a sweet delicacy in the summer season - unable to bring sugar levels down.
The encephalitis that is harming children in Muzaffarpur is due to a combination of social and environmental factors such as excessive heat, humidity, malnutrition and eating unripe litchis on an empty stomach.
The litchi fruit - having been gifted to Chinese emperors in the past as a token of respect - contains vitamin B, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, and other minerals beneficial for health.
When eating litchi or any other fruit keep the following precautions in mind:
Do not eat too many litchis in one sitting
Do not eat unripe litchis
Make sure you trust the vendor you buy from
Do not eat litchis on an empty stomach since it is acidic in nature and can cause discomfort
Do your research on information before believing and sharing.
Sources: The Hindu, Indiatoday