Durian fruit has been described as the king of fruits in Southeast Asia, where it originated and grows most abundantly. While the durian fruit is indeed delicious and nutritious, not everyone likes its strong odor, spiky husk, and soft texture that many compare to mushy tofu. However, there are many health benefits associated with eating durian fruit that make up for the undesirable qualities of this otherwise healthy treat. Here are 10 amazing durian fruit benefits you didn’t know about.
1. It’s highly nutritious
This tropical fruit is considered a nutrient-dense fruit by experts. Read More.
It’s high in fat, fiber, protein, carbohydrates, vitamin c, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, and manganese.
It also contains protective compounds such as antioxidants, including polyphenols, anthocyanins, bioflavonoids, and carotenoids similar to those found in cocoa, green tea, and berries.
A single serving is equivalent to four small apples without skin or one large pear.
Durian is also sugary and fat-dense and may contribute to your daily calorie intake.
A cup of frozen or raw durian pulp contains:
- Fiber: 9 grams
- Fat: 13 grams
- Calories: 357
- Protein: 4 grams
- Carbs: 66 grams
- Vitamin C:80 percent of the requirement
- Thiamine:61 percent of the daily requirement
- Manganese:39 percent of the daily requirement
- Vitamin B6:38 percent of the daily requirement
- Potassium:30 percent of the daily requirement
- Riboflavin:29 percent of the daily requirement
- Copper:25 percent of the daily requirement
- Folate:22 percent of the daily requirement
- Magnesium:18 percent of the daily requirement
- Niacin:13 percent of the daily requirement
- Phosphorus: 9 percent of the daily requirement
- Pantothenic acid: 6 percent of the daily requirement
- Zinc: 5 percent of the daily requirement
2. Boosts brain function
Durian is high in antioxidants, which have been shown to prevent free radical damage in your body (including your brain) and protect against oxidative stress.
According to a study published in Alternative Medicine, eating durian fruit improves brain function. If you struggle with mental fogginess, incorporating durian into your diet may help clear it up. The study also found that durian could be an alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other cognitive impairments. The researchers behind these findings say that eating one or two pieces of durian daily could benefit memory recall, focus, and concentration.
3. It may boost mood and happiness
Durian is full of tryptophan, an amino acid that gets broken down to release serotonin, a neurotransmitter and a feel-good hormone that keeps you relaxed, happy, and in a better mood. Eat durian as a sweet snack to feel better and overcome any sadness you may be feeling!
4. It may help you sleep better
Once tryptophan has been broken down to release serotonin, serotonin can be converted into melatonin, a sleep hormone that signals the body to prepare to sleep.
Research shows that high levels of tryptophan in the blood can increase both serotonin and melatonin levels. This indicates that regular consumption of durian fruit may help you maintain your tryptophan levels high.
5. Improves heart health
Durian fruit is very high in potassium compared to other fruits. A cup of raw or frozen durian can provide up to 30 percent of your daily potassium requirement. Potassium is a mineral that helps the body get rid of excess sodium, thus relaxing the blood vessels and reducing blood pressure. This lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Potassium is also essential for muscle contraction, muscle signaling, and overall muscle function.
Despite the benefits, the average American gets about 2,650 milligrams each day, compared to the daily recommendation of 4,700 milligrams. Incorporating durian fruit into your diet may help boost your intake.
6. It’s high in antioxidants
Durian contains high levels of vitamin C and other natural compounds that offer antioxidant protective benefits. This helps fight free radicals that may cause inflammation and oxidative stress.
Vitamin C is also important to the skin as it protects it against free radicals from UV exposure that may lead to premature signs of aging like wrinkles. It also lightens hyperpigmentation, evens out the skin tone, and enhances a natural glow.
Durian fruit also contains anti-proliferative properties, which prevent the spread and growth of cancer cells.
7. Promotes digestive health
Durian fruit is high in fiber which aids digestion, promotes bowel movements, and prevents constipation.
The fiber also acts as a prebiotic, which feeds the good bacteria in the gut, promoting their diversity and function, including supporting the immune system.
8. It may support bone health
Those who eat durians on a regular basis are less likely to develop diseases like rickets, osteoporosis, osteomalacia, and even tooth decay. The high vitamin C content found in durians helps prevent dental carries by strengthening teeth against cavities, gum infections, and plaque build-up.
Additionally, calcium and phosphorus in durians help maintain healthy bones. Without enough calcium and phosphorous, your body can’t produce healthy bones that are high in minerals.
Durian is also rich in potassium, iron, magnesium, and copper, all of which play an essential role in maintaining strong and healthy bones.
Potassium also increases nutrient uptake by the cells, thus maximizing the different beneficial minerals in the body. This may also lower the risk of having fractures and developing osteoporosis.
9. Reduce pain and inflammation
A study published in Experimental Biology and Medicine revealed that eating durian fruit daily reduces joint pain and inflammation. A member of the same family as stinky onions, garlic, and leeks, durians contain sulfur-containing compounds that help break down cartilage buildup in joints.
Research is ongoing to better understand how these compounds work, but for now it’s safe to say eating one or two fresh durians every day may help prevent chronic joint pain.
10. Boosts energy
Durian is rich in carbohydrates which can help provide a quick release of energy to keep you going. As little as two seeds may give as much energy as a medium-sized banana. The high potassium levels may also help relieve fatigue and anxiety.
11. Lowers blood pressure
Potassium-rich durian fruit is a delicious way to lower your blood pressure. A study in Hypertension found that consuming foods high in potassium and low in sodium can significantly reduce your risk of developing hypertension.
Aside from being rich in potassium, durians are also packed with magnesium and phosphorus, which help support healthy blood flow. This delicious fruit is one you definitely want to add to your diet if you have elevated blood pressure. In fact, it may be even more effective than taking medication for lowering blood pressure!
Research published in Medical Hypotheses suggests that eating durian regularly may be as effective as medications for lowering blood pressure. Participants who ate two to three servings of durian per week were able to decrease their systolic blood pressure by 6.5 mmHg on average compared to those who didn’t eat any durian at all. That’s about twice as much as participants who took an antihypertensive drug for three months saw in terms of reduction in systolic blood pressure.
12. Lowers cholesterol
Natural fats found in durian fruit have been shown to improve heart health and lower bad cholesterol levels, making them a good choice for people with high cholesterol. Specifically, studies have shown that eating durians can increase levels of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and decrease LDL (low-density lipoprotein). High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Elevated HDL cholesterol is protective against cardiovascular disease.
13. Improves the immune system
Durian fruit is rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, boosting your immune system while keeping colds and flu at bay. It also contains high levels of amino acids, which are essential for healthy tissue growth. If you’re looking for a way to increase your body’s natural defenses while helping prevent health problems later on, eat more durian fruit.
14. Burns fat faster
While there are other factors that determine whether a food is good for weight loss, including calorie count and macronutrient breakdown, adding a little durian to your diet can help you burn fat faster. It’s low in calories and high in fiber, which helps you feel full without taking in too many additional calories. Durians also contain several B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy—the more energy your body uses up, the fewer it has left over to store as fat. Finally, durians are rich in antioxidants, which may reduce inflammation throughout your body and improve metabolic function. These benefits all add up to one thing: burning fat faster with every bite of durian fruit!
15. Can be used as an Aphrodisiac
The most basic benefit of durian fruit is its healthful nutrition. The pulp and seeds contain essential fatty acids, calcium, potassium, iron, zinc, and more vitamin C than an orange. But many people are attracted to durians for more mysterious reasons–like for their purported aphrodisiac qualities.
According to some research studies in rats and mice conducted at Taiwan’s Asia University and Japan’s Kyushu University, eating durians may increase sexual desire and performance.
In these studies, male rats that were fed a diet containing 10 percent dried durian flesh (the equivalent of about two or three whole fruits) experienced a boost in testosterone levels as well as improved sperm quality. In humans, however, it’s unclear whether eating durians could have similar effects on libido or fertility, but these animal studies are an opening for further studies in humans.
16. Prevent and Treat Allergies and Asthma
It turns out that eating durian fruit can actually help reduce allergy symptoms. This benefit is closely linked to a fatty acid in durian called oleic acid, which is commonly found in olive oil. Research shows that durians contain more oleic acid than any other fruit, making it one of our top food picks for preventing and treating asthma and allergies.
17. Fights cancer
Researchers found that a natural compound in durian fruits called furanodiene is a potent anticancer agent and can fight various types of tumors. It can also inhibit tumor growth by restricting tumor blood supply through antiangiogenesis effects, as well as cell proliferation and migration.
Another study showed that consuming durian extract could prevent breast cancer metastasis. The research team concluded that durian has great potential for preventing cancer recurrence.
18. Promotes healthy digestion
Like many fruits, durian is high in dietary fiber, which supports digestive health in various ways. For instance, it softens and increases the size and weight of stools, helping normalize bowel movements. This, in turn, decreases your chances of constipation, and in case you have diarrhea, fiber will help solidify the stool because it absorbs water.
Additionally, the fiber in durian fruit acts as a prebiotic. A prebiotic is a type of fiber that feeds your good gut bacteria or probiotics. Probiotics are essential for boosting your immune system, among other benefits.
In addition, this fruit is rich in vitamin B1 and B3 which regulate your appetite and increase nutrient absorption.
Risks and Side Effects
Durian fruit is generally safe to consume, but its high carbohydrate levels may not be suitable for diabetes.
Durian fruit may also cause side effects when consumed with alcohol. These may include heart palpitations, nausea, and vomiting.
According to research, the high levels of sulfur may inhibit the breaking down of alcohol by enzymes leading to high alcohol levels in the blood, resulting in side effects. Read More.
How to Eat Durian Fruit
Not everyone can appreciate the unique taste of durian fruit, but there are ways to enjoy this rich and creamy fruit without offending your taste buds. Here are 8 ways how to eat durian fruit and enjoy it!
First, you need the fruit, either ripe or slightly under-ripped. Most people prefer under-ripped durian since a fully ripe one has a more pungent smell.
You may also want to use gloves to protect your hands as it has a spiky and hard shell.
Cut it with a knife and pry it open with your hands and gently remove the flesh. It’s this flesh that’s edible and often used in various ways.
Eat as is
Make sure you try eating a durian fruit as is before experimenting with anything else. The creamy flesh of durian is delicious on its own, and you should allow yourself time to appreciate its natural flavor before adding anything else. You’ll probably want to try something more creative if you don’t like it at first, but give it a chance; many people who don’t care for it at first develop an appreciation for its unique flavor over time.
Add it to smoothies
This is a great way of enjoying both your favorite smoothie and some durian. Simply add 1/2 cup of ripe durian into your usual smoothie recipe and you’ll be able to enjoy some of those creamy flavors you love from durian without all that hassle.
Bake with it
Durian is excellent for baking. If you can get your hands on a fresh durian, that’s best, but thawed frozen durians work well too. Get creative: stir them into pancakes or muffins, or use them together with other fruits in banana bread.
Make ice cream out of it
Despite its pungent odor, durian is used in many Southeast Asian cuisines—including desserts. Purée durian with coconut milk or evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt for a creamy dessert that mimics ice cream. In Vietnam, you can find durian ice cream served by street vendors in bars or alongside bowls of pho (noodle soup).
Drink durian juice
While durian pulp is often enjoyed raw or cooked, durian juice is a great option for those who are just learning how to eat durian fruit. The creamy flesh tastes like citrusy pineapple with a hint of almond, making it an ideal flavor complement for juices like orange or mango.
Add to sticky rice
The traditional method of eating durian is in a sticky rice package with coconut milk, salt, and palm sugar.
Enhance your desserts
You don’t need to be a chef or fancy dessert maker in order to take advantage of durian fruit. From cakes to frosting, there are many ways you can incorporate it into your favorite treats. Most of these desserts will surprise you with how delicious they are!
Durian is a nutrient-dense tropical fruit with a strong smell that may not be favorable for some people.
It’s rich in beneficial nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, magnesium, folate, and copper.
Consuming durian fruit may increase your energy levels, enhance better sleep, promote digestion, improve heart health, maintain healthy skin, promote heart health, and contribute to strong and healthy bones.
However, the fruit may not be suitable for diabetes or those on a low-calorie diet due to its high calories.
Additionally, the fruit may interact with alcohol causing unpleasant side effects. So avoid eating it with alcohol.
Durian fruit can be eaten raw or cooked and added to different recipes.
Other Exotic Fruits
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