Durian is an exotic and controversial fruit in many parts of Southeast Asia, and is widely celebrated for its long list of health benefits, which include the ability to boost your immune system, prevent cancer and inhibit free radical activity, improve digestion, strengthen bones, improve signs of anemia, cure insomnia, prevent premature aging, lower blood pressure, and protect against cardiovascular diseases. Some of the more minor benefits of durian is its ability to help with diabetes management, reduce inflammation of the joints, help thyroid health, reduce headaches, and lower symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Durian is often called the “king of fruits” in Southeast Asian nations, but is native to Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei, and possibly the Philippines, but debates still continue on that point. It is a large fruit, up to 1 foot long and 6 inches wide, with a hard, spiky exterior, with a range of yellow to red flesh. Out of the 30 species varieties, 9 of them are commonly utilized for cooking or consumption, and only one is found internationally, outside of the local growing areas. That species is called Durio zibethinus.
The reason this fruit is often considered controversial is because the smell has a divisive effect on people. Your natural olfactory sense will either find it pleasant or absolutely revolting and nauseating. This has led durian to be banned on public transportation in certain Asian nations, and the avid fans of the health benefits of durian are balanced by those who are repulsed by the sight and smell of this powerful fruit.
Nutritional value of Durian
Most of the health benefits come fromdurian’s impressive vitamin and mineral content. It contains vitamins such as vitamin-C, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and vitamin A. Important minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, phosphorus are found in durian. It also contains nutrients such as phytonutrients, water, protein and beneficial dietary fats.
Health Benefits of Durian
Digestive aid: Durian, like many “meaty” fruits, contain high levels of dietary fiber, which are essential to the normal function of multiple systems in the body, most notably the digestive system. Fiber causes bowel movement to increase in bulk, which makes it easier for them to move through the intestinal tract. Fiber also stimulates peristaltic motion and the secretion of digestive and gastric juices, further easing the entire process. By reducing conditions like constipation and blockage in the intestines, conditions like bloating, excess flatulence, heartburn, cramps, and indigestion can be reduced, as well as serious conditions like colorectal cancer. Much of the fiber in durian is insoluble fiber, which also lowers the frequency of diarrhea for people with loose stool.
Fiber also helps to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood by scraping LDL cholesterol out of the body and quickly removing it before it can do any damage to the cardiovascular system in the form of plaque buildup.
Blood pressure and cardiovascular health: Durian is a rich source of potassium, and since potassium is such an integral part of the salt and fluid balance throughout the cells of the body, potassium levels also dictate blood pressure. When plenty of potassium is present, the blood vessels can relax, reducing the stress on the cardiovascular system, and reducing the chances of developing conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Reduced stress on the veins and arteries also increases oxygenated blood flow to the brain, and studies have shown that potassium levels can therefore help boost cognitive function and memory, reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia!
Anti-aging: In traditional, herbal medicine, durian was often hailed as a tool to battle aging, and was one of the main reasons why people call it the “king of fruits”. It turns out that durian has a wide variety of antioxidant properties stemming from its vitamin and organic chemical makeup that actively reduce the amount of free radicals in the body. Eating an excessive amount of durian can seriously boost your body’s ability to eliminate those free radicals, thereby reducing the chances of premature aging and delaying the appearance of symptoms such as wrinkles, age spots, macular degeneration, hair loss, tooth loosening, arthritis, cancer, and heart disease. Eat enough durian, and you can feel, look, and act younger than you have in years!
Insomnia: Durian contains tryptophan, the organic chemical closely associated with falling asleep after Thanksgiving, since it is found in massive doses in turkey. By adding tryptophan to your diet, it enters your brain, is converted to serotonin, which induces a feeling of relaxation and happiness. The excess serotonin then releases melatonin into the bloodstream, which causes the body to feel tired, and eventually pass out. If you suffer from insomnia, have a few pieces of durian before you try to fall asleep and see the results for yourself!
Sexual dysfunction: A number of studies have recently been conducted to evaluate the potential of durian meat to act as an aphrodisiac. The results are in, and it can produce intensified sexual libido and stamina, and also reduce the chances of infertility in men and women, and increase sperm motility. All in all, it is an aphrodisiac in every sense of the word!
Cancer prevention: As mentioned earlier, durian has a wealth of vitamins, nutrients, and organic chemicals that function as antioxidants. In the battle against cancer, free radicals are vitally important, because during cell metabolism, there are byproducts created, called free radicals. These free radicals can destroy the DNA of regular cells and convert them to cancer cells, which can then metastasize or form fatal, tumorous growths. All of the antioxidants which reduce oxidative stress on the organs of the body are bonuses to the immune system, and durian is packed with them, including vitamin-C, vitamin-B complex, and vitamin E, as well as phytonutrients that battle cancerous cells.
Bone health: Durian is a great source of magnesium, potassium, manganese, and copper, all of which play an integral role in developing and sustaining bone strength and durability. Potassium also increases the efficiency of nutrient uptake by the cells, so it maximizes how many beneficial minerals the body takes in, also benefiting bone health. These essential minerals help to prevent the development of osteoporosis for patients of any age!
Anemia: Durian has many different minerals inside of it, but there are high levels of folic acid within durian as well, which is an essential component in the production of red blood cells. Also, durian is a good source of iron and copper, two other essential components of red blood cells; once RBC production is back to normal, then symptoms of anemia will disappear, which include indigestion, migraines, fatigue, anxiety, and cognitive malfunction.
A few Words of Warning: The only real danger of eating durians is the fat content. It has about 3 times more fat than most other fruits, with the exception of avocado. They are generally healthy fats, but for those people battling weight gain and obesity, other sources for these other health benefits should be sought out instead.