11 Amazing Health Benefits of Durian
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 name “durian” is derived from the Malay word “duri” which means “thorn” or “spike”. Like mangosteen and rambutan, durian is a seasonal fruit that are generally available from June until August.
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 A, vitamin C, and vitamin B complex. It also cholesterol free and high in water content, dietary fiber, and minerals such as copper, iron, protein, folate, manganese, potassium, and magnesium.
Below is the nutritional value of one cup of durian pulp (243 grams) (in percent Daily Value*) [source]:
- Vitamin C: 80%
- Thiamine: 61%
- Manganese: 39%
- Vitamin B6: 38%
- Dietary fiber: 37%
- Potassium: 30%
- Riboflavin: 29%
- Copper: 25%
- Carbohydrate: 22%
- Folate: 22%
- Magnesium: 18%
- Niacin: 13%
- Protein: 7%
- Iron: 6%
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. Maintain 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 ensures 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 encourages 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 carbohydrates, which gives a quick release of energy to keep you going strong during exercise. With roughly 66 grams of carbs per serving, this exotic fruit can be a great as a pre-workout snack.
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 nourishes skin for clear and smooth skin.
8. Aids in digestion
Being a rich source of dietary fiber, durian is helpful in preventing constipation by adding bulk to stools and softening them.
Apart from fiber, the high amount of thiamine and niacin in durian improves appetite and regulates healthy digestion. Durian also improves metabolism that in turn leads to better absorption of nutrients in the body.
9. Maintain healthy thyroid levels
Durian has a good amount of copper, which is important for regulating thyroid functions. It is play 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. Helps in fertility
A number of studies have recently been conducted to evaluate the potential of durian meat to act as an aphrodisiac. They found that it can produce intensified sexual libido and reduce the chances of infertility in men and women.
11. Prevents insomnia
Durian is also shown to be beneficial in treating insomnia due to its tryptophan content, an amino acid that is used to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is responsible for triggering feelings of relaxation and happiness.
When there is an excess of serotonin, melatonin is then released into the blood stream, which causes the body to feel tired or sleepy. This in turn help you in overcoming anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
How to Choose 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 the smell is very faint or there is no aroma, the durian isn’t ripe. If the smell is strong, it’s overripe. The ideal aroma should neither be too faint or have an overly strong smell.
- 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 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.