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If we were to choose the most unique fruits across Asia, durian would definitely make the cut. With its strange, spiked shell and uniquely foul odor, durian is truly one of a kind. While its strong smell may knock you off your feet, durian fruit and leaves’ benefits pack an even greater punch.
The durian tree is tall, growing up to a height of 20 meters. The fruit is covered by a shell with sharp spines and weighs about 3 kilos.
Durian leaves are green and oval with a smooth front and scaly underneath.
Although the trees do not grow all over the country, the fruit has already become a delicacy of the Philippines and is often made and sold as confections such as jams and candies.
In Southeast Asia, durian is hailed as the “King of Tropical Fruits”.
Durian is a heavy hitter when it comes to nutrient content.
About 1 cup of the fresh or frozen fruit (approximately 243 g) contains a total of 357 calories. It has 66 grams of carbohydrates, 9.2 grams of fiber, and 13 grams of fat as well as 3.6 grams of proteins.
The durian has no cholesterol, but it offers calcium, high levels of potassium, and vitamins B and C.
Since durian has ample amounts of fiber, it promotes and maintains healthy bowel movements and prevents conditions like constipation.
Additionally, you can also consider durian as a prebiotic that promotes digestive health and colon functions, as the indigestible fibers serve as a source of food for the body’s “good” gut bacteria.
The fact that durian is rich in fiber and has a high level of potassium means that it can vastly improve cardiovascular health.
Natural fibers are said to lower the level of LDLs in the body. LDLs or low-density lipoproteins are considered “bad” cholesterol because it increases the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. In addition, potassium is an electrolyte needed to maintain blood pressure along with other cellular functions.
The fruit and the leaves of durian are said to have antibacterial properties that make them a good treatment for wounds as they inhibit infections.
Durian also contains B-vitamins, mainly B9 which is commonly known as folate or folic acid.
Folate supplementation is always emphasized during pregnancy as it is essential for the proper development of the fetal nervous system and brain– but did you know that folate is important even if you’re not pregnant?
There are studies that suggest that it can even prevent cancer.
If you decide to use the fruit and durian leaves, please be mindful of the following points:
Before anything else, know that consuming durian may be bad for you if you have severe kidney conditions or diabetes. There are also cases of allergic reactions to durian.
Generally, durian fruit is safe when taken in small food quantities.
If you have known allergies to durian, don’t consume it. Should you want to apply it to your skin, don’t forget to perform a quick patch test to check for allergic reactions.
A study concluded that durian may be a superior folate source for pregnant women, but since there isn’t enough study to conclude its safety for expectant and breastfeeding mothers, stay on the safe side and avoid consumption.
If you have a pre-existing health condition, particularly concerning your heart and kidney, it is best to wait for the doctor’s advice before you consume the durian fruit. The same thing is true if you are diabetic.
The high levels of potassium in the fruit may be dangerous for people who are suffering from end-stage kidney disorders. If you are diabetic, eating the fruit may unnecessarily increase your blood glucose level.
It is best to avoid eating durian and drinking alcohol at the same time. Studies suggest that consuming alcohol and durian fruit simultaneously may be toxic and even fatal.
Aside from this, there is no other data on durian’s side effects and interactions; the safest action is to consult your doctor first, especially when you are in a special diet regimen or are taking medications.
Please be reminded that the dosages and forms below are not meant to replace the advice given by your physician:
Durian has no medically-accepted dosage, so it’s best to consume it in moderation. You can enjoy the fruit fresh or frozen.
To get the fruit, you need to cut through the shell. You will notice pods that contain stone or a pit, remove it before eating the fruit. Similarly, you can add durian to sweets like ice cream and cakes. It is also sometimes sold as candies.
A decoction can also be made from durian leaves by boiling them in clean water. Durian leaves decoction is used in folkloric medicine to treat wounds and other skin conditions. Sometimes, it is also used for medicinal baths.
Although durian is not available for consumption all-year round unless you live in an area where durian trees grow endemically, it’s best to consume it while it is in season– usually between August and November.
Not only does it have a distinct taste and smell, but it is a delicacy that holds a lot of health benefits: it’s naturally healthy, promotes heart health, and even has the potential to heal wounds.
People who may be susceptible to nutrient deficiency may receive many benefits from durian due to the amount of micro and macronutrients it contains.
Finally, do not forget that even durian leaves are useful for topical applications.
Learn more about the medicinal benefits of fruits and herbs, here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Durian / duryan / Durio zibethinus Murr.: Philippine medicinal herbs / Philippine alternative medicine. (n.d.). StuartXchange Front Page – SX – Godofredo Umali Stuart’s Cyber-Warehouse. https://stuartxchange.com/Durian
Durian fruits discovered as superior folate sources. (n.d.). Frontiers. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnut.2018.00114/full
Durian nutrition facts and health benefits. (2019, March 21). Verywell Fit. https://www.verywellfit.com/durian-fruit-nutrition-facts-4588715
Durian: Uses, side effects, interactions, dosage, and warning. (n.d.). WebMD – Better information. Better health. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1458/durian
Koganti, S. (2013, July 12). 11 promising health benefits of the nutritious durian fruit. STYLECRAZE. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-durian-fruit/
A review on the nutritional, medicinal, molecular and genome attributes of durian (Durio zibethinus L.), the King of fruits in Malaysia. (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6137565/