Durian isn’t just a delicious, Asian fruit. Regular consumption can improve your general condition and help with various health problems. You shouldn’t let the thorns or its smell scare you from giving it a try! Find out more about the benefits and side effects of durian! Durian is the fruit of various tree species that belong to the Durio genus (part of the family Malvaceae). The fruit is native to Southeast Asia, where it is known as the “king of fruits”, and is sold in various Asian countries, is also imported to Europe and the USA. Its name comes from the Indonesian and Malaysian word “Duri”, which means thorn, to which the suffix “-an” was added (used in both languages in order to build nouns).
Durian trees are known to be quite large, growing up to 30-50m tall. They have evergreen, elliptic to oblong leaves that are usually 10-16cm long. The flowers are produced on branches or straight on the trunk, in clusters of 3-30 flowers; each flower has a calyx and five petals. They are usually pollinated by a particular species of bats, but other species can also be pollinated by honey bees or birds. The trees have one or two flowering periods per year and can bear fruit after 4-5 years.
The fruit can grow to be quite big, having 15cm in diameter and being 30cm long. The weight of the fruit varies, based on the fruit’s size, but it’s generally between 1-3kg. It can be either oblong or round, with a green-brown husk covered in thorns. Its flesh has a pale-yellow to red color; it has a distinctive, strong odor that people either love or hate. Out of 30 recognized species, the fruits of at least nine species are known to be edible.
Durian fruits contain important nutrients, as they are rich in vitamins and minerals. It is a great source of vitamin C and vitamin B complex (especially B1, B5, B6). It is rich in dietary fiber, which makes the fruit a great laxative, as well as tryptophan, an amino acid. The fruit contains plenty of minerals: potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium. They also contain an important amount of sugar, compared to other fruits, as it seems that 100g of fresh durian fruit has 147 calories.
How to Use Durian
Durian, as a fruit, is incredibly popular in many Asian countries, especially in the southeast part of the continent, being used for culinary purposes as well.
This amazingly delicious fruit is added to give a special aroma to various types of sweets and desserts: traditional candies, biscuits, ice cream, milkshakes, cakes, pastries. It can even be added to cappuccino.
Besides desserts, the fruit is often added to cooked meals and side dishes, as well. It is especially used for fish dishes or fish soups. The fruit can also be cooked as a vegetable in many countries. Durian fruits (especially those of lower quality) can also be fermented.
Durian seeds, which are generally the size of a chestnut, can also be consumed, though only when cooked. They can be boiled, fried, or roasted. Uncooked durian seeds shouldn’t be eaten, as they are considered to be toxic. Besides the fruits and seeds, other parts of the plant can also be cooked. Young leaves and shoots are sometimes cooked as greens. The petals of the flower are eaten in some parts of Indonesia. Also, the nectar and pollen of the flowers are used to make honey.
Benefits of Durian
Regular consumption of durian can help you have a healthy body. The fruit is known to have many health benefits.
First, durian is known to have lots of antioxidants. They protect the body from oxidative stress and fight against free radicals which could lead to cancer cells. This way, regular consumption of durian protects your cells from any kind of damage and also protects you from cancer.
Durians can be consumed if you’re suffering from anemia. It helps stimulate the production of new blood because of its content of folate, copper, and iron. Also, the fruits help maintain your blood pressure and blood sugar levels to regular levels, which lowers the risk of getting a heart attack or a stroke.
Durian is quite good for our bone’s health, as the fruits contain an important amount of calcium and potassium. The two help by improving bone density and promoting healthy development of the bones. Plus, potassium promotes calcium absorption. Durians don’t just improve your bones’ health, but they also help prevent various bone-related disorders, such as osteoporosis. They are also good if you’ve got joint problems.
Regular consumption is bound to help you strengthen your immunity system. This way, you’ll feel protected from infections, the flu, or common colds.
If you eat durians, your digestive system is bound to get better, as the fruits are known to generally improve one’s digestion. Also, they are often recommended to people who are dealing with constipation, as the fruits have a laxative effect.
Durians are good for your sleep and mood, as well. Regular consumption of durians will help get rid of both stress and headaches. This way, they will also improve your mood and make you feel energized. Plus, durians are known to help fight against sleeping problems (especially insomnia) and depression.
Durian Side Effects
Durians are mostly considered safe. There are very few side effects you have to be worried about when it comes to eating the fruit.
Durian is known to contain important amounts of sugar. Because of this, pregnant and nursing women should avoid consuming the fruit. People who have diabetes should not eat durian, either.
In some cases, the consumption of durian can cause your body heat to rise. Also, some people might feel bloated or nauseated after eating durian. Some might also get mild stomachaches and headaches.
The last possible side effect is related to alcohol consumption. You shouldn’t consume durian fruit and alcohol together. If you combine these two, it might lead to stomach problems, such as gastro-spasms and flatulence. You should also avoid drinking coffee after you’ve eaten durian, as this can also lead to unwanted side effects.