10 Best Benefits of Loquat

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Loquat has several health benefits, including the ability to manage diabetes, lower cholesterol levels, and protect bone mineral density. It has anti-cancer potential and also helps improve gastrointestinal health, boosts vision health, strengthens the immune system, soothes the respiratory tract, boosts circulation, and decreases blood pressure.

What is Loquat?

If you’ve ever been walking through south-central China and stumbled across a small evergreen shrub or tree with bright orange fruit, then perhaps you’re familiar with loquat. Scientifically called Eriobotrya japonica, the loquat is also known by other names such as Chinese plum, Japanese plum, Japanese medlar, Pipa, Nispero, and Maltese plum.

Pear-shaped and slightly larger than a plum, the fruits can have yellow or orange skin, sometimes with a red blush. The tangy flesh of the fruit is white, yellow or orange with brown seeds. The taste of the loquat fruit has been compared to a cross between mango and peach. It can be eaten either fresh or in dried form. The brightly colored, blemish-free ones are juicy as compared to the greenish ones which are sour and acidic.

Being one of the first fruits to be cultivated in the Asian continent, it is native to China but was naturalized in Japan more than a millennium ago. There are two main cultivated varieties of loquat: Chinese and Japanese. In East Asia, there are said to be over 800 varieties. Today, it is cultivated in many parts of the world.

Close up of tasty whole and halved loquats with leaves on a wooden table

Nutrition Facts

Loquats, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]86.73
Energy [kcal]47
Protein [g]0.43
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.2
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]12.14
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.7
Calcium, Ca [mg]16
Iron, Fe [mg]0.28
Magnesium, Mg [mg]13
Phosphorus, P [mg]27
Potassium, K [mg]266
Sodium, Na [mg]1
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.05
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]1
Thiamin [mg]0.02
Riboflavin [mg]0.02
Niacin [mg]0.18
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.1
Folate, DFE [µg]14
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]76
Vitamin A, IU [IU]1528
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.04
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.09
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Loquat Nutrition Facts

The loquat fruit and leaves include pectin (fiber), vitamin A, vitamin C, and B-complex vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, folates, and folic acid, which make it very effective for boosting overall human health. Loquats are also an excellent source of minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, and selenium. Low in cholesterol and calories, loquats contains monounsaturated fats like omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids.

Health Benefits of Loquat

Let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of loquat.

Lowers Blood Pressure

One of the many nutrients found in good supply in loquat is potassium, which acts as a vasodilator for the cardiovascular system. By reducing the strain and pressure on the blood vessels and arteries, potassium is able to lower blood pressure and protect heart health. Potassium is often considered a brain booster, due to the increased flow of blood to the capillaries of the brain, which can improve cognition.

Manages Diabetes

Loquat tea is often suggested for managing diabetes, as blood sugar has been shown to significantly reduce in those who regularly consume it. The unique organic compounds found in loquat tea are able to regulate insulin and glucose levels, which helps protects against diabetes. Also, for those living with diabetes, avoiding spikes and drops in blood sugar is crucial, which this tea can help with.

Anti-cancer Potential

As a traditional medicine component, the loquat is suggested to have chemoprotective properties. Animal studies conducted with the fruit extract showed that it can suppress cell carcinogenesis at different stages such as cancer initiation, proliferation, and metastasis. Additionally, loquat leaves contain polyphenols that displayed cytotoxicity against human oral tumor cells, according to a study conducted in Japan. Studies published in the Archives of Pharmacal Research also show that the leaves have anti-metastatic properties and display anti-cancer potential. Further studies are required to gauge the potential for cancer treatment.

Soothes Respiratory System

Expectorant substances are important in the treatment of colds and other respiratory infections. Loquat tea is used as an expectorant, either when drunk or gargled, as it can cause coughing and through that, the expulsion of mucus and phlegm. This is where bacteria can live and grow, while also exacerbating other symptoms, so eliminating these toxic substances from your respiratory tract can help you feel better fast.

Boosts Immunity

Loquat is a wonderful source of vitamin C, which helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, the body’s first line of defense against pathogens, and also works as an antioxidant to prevent chronic illness. Furthermore, vitamin C is needed for the production of collagen, which aids the growth and repair of tissues throughout the body. The loquat leaf also produces acids containing antigens like megastigmane glycosides and polyphenolic compounds, which act as antiviral agents. Triterpene compounds help destroy rhinovirus, which causes the common cold.

Aids in Digestion and Weight Loss

Pectin is a particular type of dietary fiber found in loquat fruit, and it is often praised as a digestive aid. Dietary fiber can bulk up the stool and stimulate peristaltic motion, which helps with the regularity of bowel movements. If you suffer from constipation, diarrhea, cramping, bloating, or other stomach disorders, dietary fiber can ease that inflammation and improve the health of your gut. Eating more fiber can also keep you full for longer, stopping those hunger pangs that make you overeat.

Protects the Brain

The powerful antioxidants contained in loquat combat oxidative stress due to free radicals, which is one of the primary causes of neurological degeneration and memory loss.

Controls Cholesterol Levels

Although the precise mechanism isn’t fully understood, research has directly linked loquat with lower cholesterol levels in subjects who regularly consumed the fruit and tea. This health benefit of loquat is very exciting, but also relatively unproven on a large scale, and studies to find out more are ongoing.

Strengthens Bones

Losing bone mineral density is a major problem for many people as they age, particularly for women following menopause. Fortunately, loquat has been shown to prevent bone density loss in various parts of the body, owing to its rich mixture of vitamins, nutrients, and hormone-mimicking chemical components.

Regulates Circulatory System

High iron levels in a person’s diet are important if they want to avoid anemia and its brutal symptoms. Iron is found in high concentrations within loquat, which is good news for your red blood cells. Iron is a necessary part of hemoglobin, which transports oxygenated red blood cells throughout the body, thus boosting circulation. This can speed healing, increase energy, and ensure that all your organ systems are working at full capacity!

Word of Caution

  • Too much intake of loquat leaf extract (a concentrated form occasionally sold in health food stores or naturally derived) can cause toxic myopathy, which is weakness and non-specific pain.
  • The seeds of the loquat fruit contain toxic substances and can be life-threatening if consumed.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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