There are a lot of fruits harvested in summer. During this season, mango is sweet. Watermelon is juicy. Durian is soft and creamy. Among fruits, lychee is the most extraordinary. Although Chinese proverb says, “A piece of lychee is equivalent to three torches of fire”, people commonly eat a half to one pound of it unknowingly. In recent news, it reported that eating lychees led to poisoning and death. What’s the matter actually? In addition, sugarcane juice is a refreshing summer drink to beat the sweltering heat, but do you notice whether the bagasse of the sugarcane is mildewed?
Lychee is a delicious fruit characterised by a sweet and acid taste. Though we should eat more fruit and vegetable as recommended by the Healthy Eating Pyramid, sometimes people forget that eating everything should be in a moderate amount. For an example, there are two types of natural toxins in lychees, namely Hypoglycin A and α-Methylenecyclopropylglycine (aka ‘MCPG’).
According to the past scientific literature and research, hypoglycin A and α-MCPG presented in lychee can hinder the metabolism of fatty acid and inhibit the reaction of gluconeogenesis; so, the glucose in the body cannot be self-generated, resulting in symptoms like dizziness, nausea and palpitation. In severe cases, the victim may develop hypoglycaemia. Consequently, individuals who eat excessive amounts of lychee on an empty stomach and malnourished children having too many lychees may develop illnesses and even death.
Follow the tips below for safe consumption of lychee:
ü Do not eat lychee on an empty stomach, whereas recommended to eat this after meal;
ü Never consume lychee in excessive amount as having too many is not good for health;
ü Never eat unripe lychee because the natural toxins are four times more than the ripe one.
Sugarcane, which has several species, is the raw ingredient made for sucrose. It is generally divided into two types by its appearance, namely the black sugarcane, whose colour of outer stalk is deep purple to black, and the green sugarcane. In Chinese society, the black one is considered of higher body-nourishing than the green one. On the other hand, it is believed that the green one has a property to cool the body; so, people would like to drink the green sugarcane juice to remove the body heat while eating hot pot simultaneously.
Sugarcane is prone to spoilage after being harvested. When the harvested sugarcane is stored at inappropriate temperature during long-time transport, it creates the favourable conditions for the fungus Arthrinium spp. to grow and reproduce rapidly. The contaminated sugarcane begins to develop more mildew, which produces a 3-nitropropanoic acid. That is a neurotoxin and able to damage the human’s central nervous system.
Sugarcane is mostly produced in Southern China. In order to ensure food safety, when purchasing sugarcane, it is advisable to pay attention to the following points:
üIf the sugarcane is mildewed, or its outer stalk generally lacks of lustre and in soft texture, or the colour of flesh is slightly deep, light brown, spotting in dark grey, never buy sugarcane with such appearance;
üChoose freshly squeezed sugarcane juice for consumption. If it tastes sour or you have any doubt of its quality, stop drinking immediately;
üDo not leave sugarcane juice overnight, otherwise it ought to be stored at -18°C.