Known as the “King of Fruits” in the Southeast Asian countries, durian is well known for its strong odor and unique appearance. Regardless of the aroma and appearance, it’s the powerhouse of nutrients. Let’s see the amazing health benefits of the fruit!
What is Durian?
Durian (botanically known as Durio zibethinus) is an exotic tropical fruit that belongs to the genus Durio. It is native to parts of Southeast Asia (such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei).
The durian fruit can grow up to 30 cm long and 15 cm diameter with thorny green to brown skin. The average weight of durian ranges from one to five kilograms.
The edible part of the fruit is the flesh inside the thorny skin. The flesh has pale yellow or golden, creamy soft texture with a bittersweet flavor.
The most distinctive feature of the durian fruit is its strong smell. Some find it delightfully sweet, while many others find it absolutely unbearable, which is often described as resembling sour milk or rotten meat.
Durian can be eaten fresh or used to make various types of desserts. In Thailand, for example, durian is served with sticky rice added coconut milk or cream. In Indonesia and Malaysia, durian is fermented and added to some other aromatic ingredients to make tempoyak. It also used as an ingredient for ice cream, pudding, pancakes and in various food products.
Durian Nutrition Facts
Durian is loaded with a huge amount of vitamins such as vitamin C and B vitamins. It also cholesterol free and high in water content, dietary fiber, and minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, potassium, and magnesium.
According to the USDA FoodData Central, a 100 gram serving of raw or frozen durian contains:
- 147 calories
- 27.1 g of carbohydrate
- 3.8 g of dietary fiber
- 1.5 g of protein
- 19.7 g of vitamin C
- 36 mcg of folate
- 0.4 mg of thiamine
- 1.1 mg of niacin
- 0.3 mg of manganese
- 436 mg of potassium
- 30 mg of magnesium
- 0.2 mg of copper
- 0.4 mg of iron
Durian Health Benefits
1. Enhances immune system
Durian is high in vitamin C, which help in optimizing the immune system and protecting the body against infections. It eliminates free radicals and prevents cold and flu.
2. Maintains blood pressure
Durian contains potassium, an electrolyte that helps to maintain blood pressure levels by reducing the effects of sodium. Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.
3. Improves bone health
Durian is an excellent source of copper, manganese, magnesium and calcium, all of which play an important role in developing and sustaining bone strength and durability. Also, the potassium in durian helps to ensure that the calcium is deposited in bones and thus improves bone health and prevents osteoporosis.
4. Prevents anemia
The high amount of folate, copper, and iron in durian encourage the development of red blood cells.
5. Prevents scurvy
Scurvy is a condition caused by a lack of vitamin C. People with scurvy may experience fatigue, bleeding gums, nosebleeds, and poor wound healing.
Since durian is a great source of vitamin C, it can help prevent the condition and keep you healthy. A single serving of just 100 grams of this fruit can provide a person with quarter of their daily requirement for vitamin C.
6. Boosts energy
Durian is also rich in carbohydrate, which gives a quick release of energy to keep you going strong during exercise. The high potassium content in durian can also help reduce fatigue and relieve anxiety.
7. Improves skin health
The vitamin C content in durian helps protect your skin from free radical damage, which can breakdown your collagen and encourage wrinkles and sagging.
Apart from that, the high water content in durian can keep your skin hydrated and alleviates the appearance of fine lines. It also increase your skin’s elasticity, which will keep your skin soft and supple.
8. Promotes digestion
Being a rich source of dietary fiber, durian is helpful in preventing constipation by adding bulk to stools and softening them.
The high amount of thiamine and niacin in durian also necessary for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
9. Maintains healthy thyroid levels
Durian has a good amount of copper, which is important for regulating thyroid functions. It plays a vital role in thyroid metabolism, especially in the hormone production and absorption. Therefore, eating durian would be beneficial in maintaining the function of the thyroid gland.
10. Cures insomnia
If you’ve been struggling with insomnia, eating durian may help cure your symptom and prevent it from coming back. Durians contain tryptophan, an amino acid that is used to produce serotonin and melatonin.
Serotonin and melatonin are hormones that regulate mood and sleep. So, an increase in tryptophan levels can increase serotonin and melatonin production that will lead to a better mood and improve your sleep quality.
11. Treats sexual dysfunction
A number of studies have recently been conducted to evaluate the potential of durian meat as an aphrodisiac and they found that it can produce intensified sexual libido and reduces infertility in men by increasing the sperm motility.
How to Choose a Good Durian
There are three steps to pick a good and ripe durian:
- Shake the durian. Grasp the durian with both hands, bring it near to your ears and give it a shake. If there’s no noise, the fruit may be underripe or overripe. When a durian is underripe, its flesh would be hard and bland. On the other hand, an overripe durian would tend to have waterlogged flesh which make it feels heavy. A durian with ideal ripeness would make a crisp, clear, and slightly squishy sound when shaken.
- Smell the durian. If it smells raw, then the durian is probably not ripe. If the smell is very strong and sharp, it is likely overripe. It should smell somewhere in between – neither too raw nor too strong.
- Check the spikes of the durian. The color of the spikes or thorns could tell you the ripeness of a durian. Bright green spikes indicate an unripe durian, while dry brown spikes shows an overripe one. For the perfect ripeness, look for green spikes with brown husks.
How to Open a Durian
To open a whole durian fruit, you need to cut the shell with a knife and then pry it open with your hands.
First of all, cut off the stem to make the durian easier to handle. Then, flip the durian stem-side down. You can use a newspaper or hand towel to hold it in place.
Place the knife directly at the center of the bottom. Push down until the knife enters to the handle. Twist the knife back and forth. The seams will rupture. Now, use your hands to pull apart the skin. You should be able to open the durian completely now.