Named "dragon's eye" in Mandarin, longan fruit has a jellylike flesh with a mild flavor resembling mangoes or grapes. Longans are native to southern Asia, where they are eaten raw, canned, dried, cooked into desserts or sauces, or added to cocktails. Look for fresh longans between July and September.
Boost Your Vitamin C
People with diets rich in vitamin C may be less likely to develop high blood pressure, heart disease, age-related macular degeneration and certain types of cancer. Raw longan is an excellent source of vitamin C: 84 milligrams in approximately 3.5 ounces. This amount supplies 93 percent of a man's recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which is 90 milligrams, and over 100 percent of a woman's 75-milligram daily requirement.
Strengthen Your Bones
A study published in 2013 in "Maturitas" reported that postmenopausal women who had lower levels of minerals such as copper were significantly more likely to develop osteoporosis as they age. Adults should consume about 900 micrograms of copper each day, and 3.5 ounces of fresh longans supplies over 19 percent of this recommendation. Dried longans are an even better source. A 3.5-ounce serving of dried longans has 807 micrograms of the mineral, almost 90 percent of the RDA.
Fill Up on Iron
Vegans and strict vegetarians are more likely to become deficient in iron than those who eat meat. That's because the iron supplied by plant foods is not absorbed as easily as iron from animal-based products. Pregnant women, endurance athletes and teen girls may also need more iron than other groups. Dried longans can help increase your iron intake, with each 3.5-ounce serving containing around 5 milligrams, or about 62 percent of a man's daily requirement and nearly 28 percent of a woman's.
Prevent Eye Problems
Riboflavin is an important vitamin that's part of the B complex. Men need 1.3 milligrams of this vitamin each day, while women should have 1.1 milligrams. According to an "Archives of Ophthalmology" study published in 2005, not consuming adequate riboflavin could increase your risk of eye disorders, particularly cataracts. Raw longans contain 0.14 milligram of riboflavin in each 3.5-ounce serving, but dried longans have 0.5 milligram per serving. Eating 3.5 ounces of dried longans supplies 38 percent of the daily riboflavin requirement for men and 45 percent of the RDA for women.
- Los Angeles Times: Growing Longan, The Exotic 'Dragon's Eye' Fruit
- Purdue University Consumer Horticulture: Longan
- Nature's Pride: Longan
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Longans, Raw
- Maturitas: Comparative Evaluation of Serum Levels of Main Minerals and Postmenopausal Osteoporosis
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Copper
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Longans, Dried
- Linus Pauling Institute: Iron
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin)