What is Durian?
There are many things in life you will either love or hate. Durian, a tropical fruit native to the Southeast nations of Asia just might be one of those things. What makes this fruit so divisive is its distinct smell, not to mention its unique appearance.
Those who don’t mind the smell and can get past it’s exterior fully understand why durian is considered to be “the king of fruits.” Highly nutritious, regularly consuming durian may provide you with a wealth of health benefits.
A Unique Smelling Fruit
Okay, let’s just get this part out of the way. Those who have either experienced the fruit themselves or have just heard about the fruit know that it has an unsavory reputation for being smelly.
Some sources have described the smell to be that of onions combined with sweaty gym socks. The smell is so pungent, in fact, that the fruit is banned from Singapore Mass Transit.
An Even More Unique Taste
First of all, the crazy spiky exterior that encases the fruit may be enough to drive anyone away. The appearance of durian resembles that of a sea monster, but once you chop away the rough exterior, a soft, pulpy meat is revealed.
Durian’s taste is a unique mix of sweet and savory while somehow managing to be creamy. Some have described it to be a mix of whipped cream, caramel, garlic, and chives.
Many sources warn, however, to be careful when choosing durian, as the taste greatly varies. Durian that is under ripe is described to taste like rotten eggs. Overripe durians will be watery and won’t have much of a flavor.
How to Choose the Right Durian Fruit
To avoid playing Russian roulette with durian, it’s important to know how to choose the right fruit when shopping.
Do not purchase durian if the appearance has any of the following characteristics:
- The durian fruit is overripe, if the stem is dark brown and wrinkled up.
- If there is fungus or mold on the shell, the fruit is too old and therefore overripe.
- If the shell is starting to split open, the fruit is past its prime.
- If there are holes dotting the shell, it’s most likely infested with caterpillars.
- If the flesh of the fruit is runny or translucent, it’s too old and the flavor will be off.
Now that you know what to avoid, here’s what to look for when purchasing durian:
- Smell the fruit. Fresh durian that is ready to eat doesn’t have the sharp, pungent smell it does when it’s overripe. If there is no smell at all, however, the fruit is probably under ripe and needs more time.
- Wiggle the stem. If it comes right out, the fruit is ripe and ready to eat. When examining the stem, make sure it is fresh and contains a bright green color when the surface is scratched with your nail. If the stem is shriveled up and brown, the durian is over ripe.
Durian is considered the king of fruits due to its high delicious taste and high nutrition. In terms of vitamin content, this unique fruit contains vitamin A, vitamin C, B6 and other B-vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and folic acid.
Durian is also a rich source of minerals, containing calcium, zinc, iron, phosphorous, sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Durian is also considered to be a great source of water, protein, phytonutrients, and good fats.
Health Benefits of Durian
If you are bold enough to try this very interesting fruit, there are many health benefits with regularly consuming this fruit. Some have found that durian may offer such benefits as improving heart health and protecting the cardiovascular systems.
1) Regulates Blood Pressure
Due to its high potassium content, durian may help protect your cardiovascular system. Potassium maintains the delicate balance of sodium and fluid within the body. Potassium helps to relax the blood vessels, ensuring that blood flows to and from the heart at a healthy rate.
This helps to keep the blood vessels flexible and takes the pressure off the cardiovascular system, preventing the development of atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
Encouraging healthy blood flow also ensures that enough oxygen gets to the brain, sharpening cognitive function. Another bonus to easy blood flow is having properly oxygenated organs, boosting their functioning, improving your overall health, and giving you an energy boost.
2) Improves Digestion
The soft meat of durian is rich in fiber, greatly benefiting your digestive system. Fiber adds bulk to stool and encourages its movement, cleaning out your systems and keeping things regular and preventing constipation.
On the other side of the coin, durian also prevents diarrhea by adding bulk to stools and preventing urgent, watery bowel movements.
Fiber not only improves the consistency of your bowel movements, but it also benefits the digestive system by encouraging the release of gastric juices, which helps to break down food and absorb nutrients.
By increasing the flow of gastric juices, you prevent such gastrointestinal symptoms as gas, cramps, heartburn, and indigestion. Eating a fiber rich diet also helps to prevent colon cancer.
3) Prevent Insomnia
Tryptophan is often associated with turkey, however, it is also happens to be found in durian. Tryptophan works by engaging with your brain chemistry. When it passes the blood brain barrier, it is converted to serotonin.
Serotonin is important because it is responsible for triggering feelings of relaxation and happiness. When there is a surplus of serotonin, melatonin is then released into the blood stream, eliciting feelings of sleepiness.
If you are having trouble falling asleep, trying snacking on some durian fruit, which will allow your body to feel tired enough to fall asleep.
4) Maintains Bone Health
Loaded with minerals, such as potassium, copper, manganese, and magnesium, durian is a great way to keep your bones healthy via diet.
All these minerals work hard to ensure that your bones stay strong and bone mass isn’t lost. A diet consisting of these minerals helps to prevent osteoporosis from setting in.
5) Prevents Anemia
There are several elements in durian that prevents the development of anemia. The rich content of folic acid, copper, and iron encourages the development of red blood cells.
If you already suffer from anemia, these minerals will help get your red blood cell count back on track. They will also help to remedy such anemia symptoms as migraine headaches, fatigue, anxiety, poor cognition, and indigestion.
6) Prevents Premature Aging
Durian is loaded with antioxidants, which help scavenge free radicals responsible for signs of premature aging. Regularly consuming antioxidants prevents the development of wrinkles, fine lines, sunspots, hair loss, macular degeneration, and heart disease.
Antioxidants even help to reverse damage done to cells by free radicals. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant found in durian fruit help to build and maintain collagen in the skin, promoting a youthful appearance and helping your skin to bounce back from toxins and environmental stress fators, such a pollution and sun exposure.
Durian contains very high levels of nutritional fat, about three times more than other fruits, except for avocado. While the fat contained in durian is considered a healthy fat, it is very high in calories and those trying to lose weight should consume this fruit in moderation.
Durian should not be used in place of any medical treatment. There is currently no strong scientific evidence supporting the health benefits associated with durian, however, the preliminary studies are promising.