Durian, also called the “king of fruits”, is a tropical fruit. It has large edible pods called the durian pulp. Unfortunately, durian has a slightly ill reputation for its unpleasant smell. Some countries have banned it due to its pungent smell. However, it has a creamy texture and sweet taste. Durian is full of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and dietary fibres. Due to this, it offers many health benefits when consumed. It helps to reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases, improves skin and hair, boosts immunity, and regulates blood sugar levels. Durian is considered a superfood due to its high and diverse nutritional content.
You will mainly find it in Southeast Asia and countries like Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Durian is a large fruit covered in spiky flesh. It may not be eye candy, but it is full of benefits. Durian looks somewhat similar to jackfruit; however, it contains more fibre and less sugar.
Nutritional Value and Facts
100 grams of durian contains:
- Energy/Calories: 147 kcals
- Carbohydrates: 27.1 g
- Proteins: 1.47 g
- Fats: 5.33 g
- Dietary fibre: 3.8 g
Vitamins and Minerals
- Vitamin A: 2 mcg
- Vitamin C: 19.7 mg
- Magnesium: 30 mg
- Iron: 0.43 mg
- Copper: 0.2 mg
- Calcium: 6 mg
- Potassium: 436 mg
- Phosphorous: 39 mg
Health Benefits of Durian
1. Reduces Risk of Cancer
Free radicals are present in many foods and commonly used products in today’s age. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that can damage cells and DNA. They even cause mutations in the DNA, leading to many types of cancers. Durian contains a high amount of antioxidants like polyphenols. These antioxidants help to illuminate free radicals from the body. Thus, reducing the risk of cancer.
Additionally, durian contains a high amount of flavonoids and phenolics. These compounds have shown anticancer activity. As a result, they stop the growth and spread of cancer cells in the body. A study suggests the potential of durian extracts on destroying breast cancer cells. They function by arresting the cell cycle in cancer cells and bringing about their death.
2. Reduces Risk of Heart Diseases
The primary cause of heart diseases is unhealthy lifestyle habits such as a poor diet containing unhealthy fats and high sugar. These unhealthy fats and LDL cholesterol can deposit along the walls of arteries. Consequently, this leads to hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
Durian contains a high amount of potassium, good for blood circulation and heart health. Therefore, it prevents or reduces high blood pressure in people suffering from it. In addition, many studies have demonstrated the potential cholesterol-lowering effects of durian. Therefore, regularly eating durian also lowers unhealthy fats and cholesterol levels in the blood. Thus, it reduces the risk of heart diseases. Additionally, it can also lower the risk of liver diseases caused by fat accumulation in the liver.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar
Durian has a low glycaemic index. Therefore, after eating durian, the blood glucose level doesn’t increase quickly. As a result, this is beneficial for people with diabetes to regulate their blood sugar levels.
Also, the high amount of dietary fibres in the durian helps slow down carbohydrate digestion. The fibres accumulate in the intestine and block carbohydrate and sugar absorption. Thus, it prevents the spike in blood sugar levels.
A study suggests the increase in insulin levels after the consumption of durian. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. It helps in maintaining blood glucose levels. If there is a decrease in insulin, the glucose levels remain elevated. However, this might lead to various disorders in the long run. Therefore, the consumption of durian can help improve glucose metabolism in the body.
4. Improves Digestion
Durian contains a high quantity of dietary fibres, both soluble and insoluble. As a result, this helps in better digestion and improves gut health.
Eating dietary fibres makes you feel satiated and full. Subsequently, this can prevent overeating and increase the time interval between meals. Additionally, dietary fibres improve gut health. Due to these properties, fibre-rich foods can prevent stomach problems like constipation, gas, bloating, and flatulence.
5. Boosts Mood
Our mood is a function of the brain’s balance of neurotransmitters and hormones. Some foods, like durian, help increase the levels of neurotransmitters that improve mood.
Durian contains the amino acid tryptophan. Interestingly, Tryptophan can also help to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin helps to create a feeling of happiness, calmness, and relaxation.
6. Boosts Immunity
100g of durian meets 24% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C. This is a great way to boost your immunity. One of the most important immune cells in our body is white blood cells (WBC). They protect our bodies by killing foreign pathogens that enter. Studies suggest that vitamin C helps WBCs function better. Therefore, by consuming Vitamin C every day, you help strengthen the immune system.
7. Improves Skin Health
Vitamin C in durian helps boost skin health and reduces pigmentation due to the presence of vitamin C. In addition, it helps to increase collagen production. Collagen is a protein found in the skin, hair, and nails. Additionally, the high amount of other antioxidants in durians like polyphenols also help the skin. They reduce the amount of harmful free radicals in the body. Thus, it prevents cellular damage and oxidative stress, reducing wrinkles and skin damage.
Antioxidants are great for the skin. Therefore, they help lighten the skin’s scarring or pigmentation. They do this by detoxifying the body and healing blemishes on the skin. A study talks about the use of durian in pharmaceutical industries for potent antioxidants in them.
8. Improves Hair
Minerals like zinc, iron, and vitamin B complex help nourish hair health. It promotes hair growth. Research studies demonstrated that vitamin C present in durian helps to boost collagen production. Therefore, it helps make new hair follicles and increases hair growth and thickness.
Best Ways to Consume Durian
While durian may taste delicious and sweet, it is not easy to eat. Durian has tough and spiky flesh, which is hard to remove.
Here are the steps to remove the flesh and enjoy the fruit inside:
- First, it is better to wear gloves, as the smell can persist on the skin afterwards.
- Cut off the stem of the fruit using a sharp knife.
- Then, cut the fruit into 6-7 compartments along the seams.
- Open up the shell and remove the fruits from the shell.
- Open up each compartment and remove the edible fruit from the inside.
- Transfer it to a plate.
- Remove the seed inside the fruit before eating it.
There are various ways to eat durian fruit.
- Eat raw as a snack or as a side dish.
- Incorporate into desserts like ice cream.
- Add to a fruit salad or eat as durian chips.
Healthy Recipes Using Durian
1. Durian Ice Cream
Preparation time: 10 minutes
- Durian (pulp): ½ cup
- Milk: 1 cup
- Jaggery: 2 tbsp
- Blend durian pulp with milk until it reaches a smooth texture
- Add a teaspoon of jaggery and mix well
- Store the mixture in the refrigerator
- Serve cold and enjoy
2. Durian Pancake
Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Eggs (whites): 2
- Durian: 30 g
- Jaggery: 5 g
- Oats (powdered): 15 g
- Cinnamon Powder: A pinch
- Blend the egg whites and add powdered oats to them
- Mix well and add the rest of the ingredients
- Blend all the ingredients
- Pour ladleful of batter on a hot pan and spread in a circular motion
- Cook well from both sides until light brown and serve hot
Potential Side Effects of Durian
1. Stomach Disturbances
Durian eaten in excess may cause gut-related problems like bloating, gas, flatulence, and constipation. Therefore, the recommended daily intake of durian is two servings of fruit or four durian pods.
2. Drug Interactions
People who have diabetes should not eat durian regularly. It can disrupt diabetes medications and make them ineffective. Furthermore, do not combine durian with alcohol. Consequently, it can lead to vomiting, headache, and other unwanted reactions in the body.
3. Worsen Kidney Disease
People with compromised kidneys or people undergoing dialysis must not eat durian. Research suggests that excess intake of durian increases potassium levels. The diseased kidneys are incapable of filtering out a high amount of potassium. Therefore, it may accumulate in the body and cause various disorders.
Durian is a tropical fruit found in Southeast Asia. It is full of nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. It has a sweet taste but a foul smell which can sometimes throw people off. However, it offers several health benefits when eaten. It also has a high amount of dietary fibre.
All these properties make durian beneficial to health. Eating durian reduces the risk of cancer and heart diseases, improves skin and hair health, and regulates blood sugar levels. In addition, it has a sweet taste, and one can eat it as a dessert. Therefore, integrating durian into your diets can prove beneficial to health.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Is durian a Superfood?
A. Yes, durian can be considered a superfood. This is because it has high amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fibres. Therefore, it is highly nutritious and beneficial to health.
Q. What are the benefits of eating durian?
A. Durian offers several health benefits. These include reducing the risk of cancer and heart diseases, improving skin and hair health, and regulating blood sugar levels.
Q. Is durian good for the kidney?
A. There has been no evidence to suggest that durian improves kidney health. Also, people suffering from kidney diseases should not consume durian. This phenomenon is because kidneys cannot filter out the high potassium content in the durian. As a result, one can face many health issues.
Q. Is durian good for the skin?
A. Yes, durian is a skin-friendly food. It can help improve skin health and reduce blemishes. In addition, it helps to boost collagen and reduces pigmentation, which gives a glow to the skin.
Q. Is durian a protein?
A. According to the USDA, 100 g of durian contains 1.47g of protein. Thus, durian isn’t a protein-rich food. However, it has many nutrients, vitamins, and dietary fibres.
Q. Is durian good for high blood pressure?
A. Yes, durian is suitable for high blood pressure. However, this is because high potassium levels help regular blood circulation. Also, its bioactive compounds help lower unhealthy cholesterol in the body. Consequently, this may reduce blood pressure in people suffering from high blood pressure.
Q. Why is durian bad for health?
A. durian may have potential side effects, especially when eaten in excess. For example, it causes bloating, gas, and constipation. In addition, people with kidney problems and pregnant women should not consume durian.
Q. Can I eat durian every day?
A. Yes, you may eat two servings of fruit or four durian pods every day. However, if you experience any side effects, stop eating durian and consult a physician.
Q. Who should not eat durian?
A. People on Diabetes medications, people with compromised kidneys, undergoing dialysis, and pregnant women should not eat durian before consulting a physician. Durian may have severe side effects on these people.
Q. What happens when you eat too much durian?
A. Overeating durian can lead to stomach problems. For example, it may cause bloating, constipation, gas, and flatulence. Therefore, the recommended serving for durian in a day is four pods.
Q. Can durian cause high blood pressure?
A. No, durian does not cause blood pressure. However, eating durian may lower blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension. However, it helps to reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol in the body and improves our blood circulation. Therefore, this occurrence may lead to lowering of high blood pressure.
Q. Can diabetes eat durian?
A. Diabetics aren’t advised to eat durian. The components of durian may interfere with the medication for diabetes and make them ineffective.
Q. Is durian high GI?
A. No durian is a food with a low glycaemic index. Therefore, after consuming durian, the blood sugar levels in the body do not shoot up.
Q. Can we eat durian with medicine?
A. durian may interfere with medication for diabetes. Therefore, consult a physician before eating durian with any medication.
Q. What are the side effects of eating durian?
A. Some side effects of eating excessive durian are constipation, gas, bloating, etc. In addition, it may interfere with the medication for diabetes and make them ineffective. Also, the effects of durian on pregnant women are ambiguous. Therefore, consult a physician before eating durian if you are pregnant or suffering from a disorder.