Top 8 Benefits of Durian

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Durian fruit has the ability to boost your immune system, increase your energy levels, and inhibit free radical activity. The health benefits of this fruit also include improved digestion, strengthened bones, and reduced signs of anemia. It is also good for curing insomnia, preventing premature aging, lowering blood pressure, and protecting against cardiovascular diseases.

The other benefits of durian include its ability to help with diabetes management, reduce inflammation of the joints, help thyroid health, reduce headaches, and lower the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.

What is Durian?

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 and a range of yellow to red flesh. Out of the 30 species, 9 of them are commonly utilized for cooking or consumption, and only one is found internationally, outside the local growing areas. That particular species is called Durio zibethinus.

The reason this fruit is often considered controversial is that 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.

Fresh and ripe durian fruits on a wooden table

Nutrition Facts

Durian, raw or frozen
Serving Size :
Water [g]64.99
Energy [kcal]147
Protein [g]1.47
Total lipid (fat) [g]5.33
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]27.09
Fiber, total dietary [g]3.8
Calcium, Ca [mg]6
Iron, Fe [mg]0.43
Magnesium, Mg [mg]30
Phosphorus, P [mg]39
Potassium, K [mg]436
Sodium, Na [mg]2
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.28
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]19.7
Thiamin [mg]0.37
Riboflavin [mg]0.2
Niacin [mg]1.07
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.32
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]2
Vitamin A, IU [IU]44
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Nutritional Value of Durian

According to USDA National Nutrient Database, durian has an impressive vitamin and mineral content. It also contains vitamin C, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and vitamin A. Important minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, and phosphorus are also found in durian. It also contains water and nutrients such as phytonutrients, protein, and beneficial dietary fats.

Health Benefits of Durian

The health benefits of durian are explained in detail below.

Aids in Digestion

Dr. Nurul Arneida Husin from the Asian Institute of Medical, Science, and Technology, Malaysia, has suggested that eating durian fruit regularly can help improve the digestive process.

Durian contains high levels of dietary fiber, which is 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, problems like bloating, excess flatulence, heartburn, cramps, and indigestion can be reduced. Much of the fiber in durian is insoluble fiber, which also lowers the frequency of diarrhea for people with loose stool.

Heart Health

A 2018 study reveals that durian can be included in an anti-cardiovascular diet. This can be explained with the presence of fiber in it. Fiber helps to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood by scraping LDL cholesterol (bad 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.

Reduces Blood Pressure

A 2015 study titled, “Effects of Durian Intake on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate in Healthy Individuals” revealed that durian fruit does not negatively affect the blood pressure levels and also increases heart rate.

Durian is also 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, reduce the stress on the cardiovascular system, and reduce 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 Properties

In traditional, herbal medicine, durian was often hailed as a tool to battle aging, and was one of the main reasons why people called it the “king of fruits”. It turns out that durian has antioxidant properties stemming from its vitamin and organic chemical makeup that actively reduce the number 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, and heart diseases. Eat enough durian, and you can feel, look, and act younger than you have in years!

Cures Insomnia

In a research study from the peer-reviewed journal Medicine, we found that tryptophan is helpful in alleviating sleep disorders. Tryptophan is the organic chemical closely associated with falling asleep after Thanksgiving since it is found in massive doses in turkey. Durian fruit also happens to contain this somniferous amino acid.

Tryptophan enters your brain and gets 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!

Treats Sexual Dysfunction

A number of studies have recently been conducted to evaluate the potential of durian meat to act as an aphrodisiac. One such research conducted at the Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences, Malaysia reveals that durian acts as a fertility-enhancing agent. 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!

Health benefits of durian - infographic

Improves 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 many beneficial minerals the body takes in, while also improving bone health. These essential minerals help to prevent the development of osteoporosis.

Treats Anemia

Durian contains different minerals, 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, symptoms of anemia will disappear, which include indigestion, migraine, fatigue, anxiety, and cognitive malfunction.

Word of Caution: The only real danger of eating durians is the fat content. It has about 3 times more fat than most fruits, with the exception of avocado. They are generally healthy fats, but for those people battling weight gain and obesity, other sources for these health benefits should be sought out instead.

Other than that, enjoy these delicious and slightly stinky fruits and feel the boost in your body!

About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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