Top 8 Health Benefits of Durian

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Durian is a fruit with the ability to boost your immune system, increase 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 slowing 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, reduce headaches, and potentially decrease the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.

What is Durian?

Durian is often called the “king of fruits” in Southeast Asian nations, however, it is native to Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and possibly the Philippines, but debates still continue on that point. Durian is a large fruit, up to one foot long and six inches wide, with a hard, spiky exterior and a range of yellow to red flesh on the inside. 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. 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 :
NutrientValue
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 the 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

Research in the journal Bioinformation led by 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. Insoluble 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.

Heart Health

The same 2018 study reveals that durian can be included in a heart-friendly diet. This can be explained with the presence of fiber, as previously mentioned. 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 as waste 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 a rich source of potassium, and since potassium is such an integral part of the salt and fluid balance throughout the body’s cells, potassium levels also dictate blood pressure. When an adequate amount of potassium is present, the blood vessels can relax, reducing the stress on the cardiovascular system and 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; studies have shown that potassium levels can, therefore, help boost cognitive function and memory, reducing the risk of developing 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 the fruit 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!

Treats Insomnia

In a research study from the peer-reviewed journal Medicine, tryptophan was found to potentially be helpful in alleviating short-term sleep disorders. Tryptophan is the organic chemical commonly associated with falling asleep after Thanksgiving since it is found in larger doses in turkey. Durian fruit also happens to contain this same somniferous amino acid.

When tryptophan enters your brain, it gets converted to serotonin, which induces a feeling of relaxation and happiness. Excess serotonin then releases melatonin into the bloodstream, which causes the body to feel tired, and eventually induces sleep. If you suffer from insomnia, consider trying a few pieces of durian before you sleep and see if this method is useful for you!

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 study conducted at the Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences, Malaysia looked at the fruit’s impact on fertility disorder like PCOS. The fruit appears to be protective against some components of metabolic syndrome but is not fully understood. It is thought by some that durian increases libido and sexual stamina, however, this has not been validated scientifically. Still, if durian helps increase your mojo, we say enjoy!

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 a number of different minerals, including high levels of folic acid, which is an essential component in the production of red blood cells (RBC). 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 may lessen, which include indigestion, migraine, fatigue, anxiety, and cognitive malfunction.

Word of Caution: The only real danger of eating durians is the high-fat content. It has about three times more fat than most fruits, with the exception of avocado. The fats contained in durian are generally healthy fats, but for those people battling weight gain and obesity, portion size should be limited, or 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!

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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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