11 Promising Health Benefits Of The Nutritious Durian Fruit

by Sindhu Koganti

Durian is also known as the “king of fruits” with numerous health benefits and medicinal properties. It is a tropical fruit used in traditional medicine that is native to Southeast Asian countries. Durian has a very strong and unique smell and contains a rich nutrition profile.

The fruit is said to possess many plant compounds that may help in the treatment of digestive ailments, cardiovascular diseases, and issues with blood sugar and blood pressure levels. In this article, we have discussed the potential health benefits, nutrition facts, and side effects of the durian fruit.

What Is The Durian Fruit?

The durian fruit is large (up to one foot long) in size with a spiky and hard exterior and custard-like flesh. It contains large seeds. The fruit is available in several varieties, and the most common variety is the Durio zibethinus.

A single durian weighs nearly 602 grams and is a good source of energy. A 100 grams of this fruit renders about 147 Kcal of energy, which is about 7% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA).

This edible fruit has a very strong odor due to the presence of volatile sulfur compounds and fatty acids. A study conducted by the German Research Center for Food Chemistry states that durian has 44 odor active compounds, and its smell is a combination of honey, fruit, sulfur, and roasted and rotting onions (1).

Check out the nutritional information of this fruit below.

Nutrition Facts Of Durian Fruit

The durian fruit has an impressive nutrition profile. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 100 g of durian consists of  (2):

  • Energy – 147 kcal
  • Protein – 1.47 g
  • Carbohydrate – 27.09 g
  • Fiber – 3.8 g
  • Calcium – 6 mg
  • Potassium – 436 mg
  • Vitamin C – 19.7 mg
  • Riboflavin – 0.2 mg
  • Folate – 36 micro g

It contains vitamins B6 and A, niacin, and plant compounds, such as flavonoids, carotenoids, anthocyanins, and polyphenols. Durian also contains essential minerals, such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.

In the following section, we will take a look at the health benefits of the durian fruit.

What Are The Benefits Of Eating Durian Fruit?

1. May Improve Digestive Health

The dietary fiber in durian helps in easing bowel movement. This, in turn, helps prevent constipation and improves digestive health (3). The thiamin in the fruit may improve appetite and general well-being in the elderly (4).

The fiber in durian fruit also stimulates peristaltic motion. It may ease the digestive process in the intestines. It also helps treat issues like bloating, excess flatulence, heartburn, and cramps (5).

2. May Help Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases

The organosulfur in durians may regulate the inflammatory enzymes and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases (6).

A study conducted by the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine found that intake of fruits that are rich in soluble dietary fiber may help lower the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (7). Durian fruit is a heart-friendly food with a high fiber content (3).

3. May Help Maintain Blood Sugar Levels

The manganese in durian may help in the maintenance of blood sugar levels. In one study, the intake of durian had also improved the insulin response curve in 10 patients with diabetes. The antioxidants in durian also help reduce oxidative stress, which can otherwise aggravate diabetes symptoms (8). Durian also has a lower glycemic index (GI) (9). Hence, the fruit would not lead to blood sugar spikes.

4. May Help Regulate Blood Pressure Levels

Durian is a good source of potassium (10). Research shows that increasing potassium intake can lower blood pressure levels (11).

The potassium in the fruit also works as a vasodilator. It can help maintain the balance between fluid and salt in the body’s cells (12), (13). The mineral may help reduce stress on the blood vessels and decrease the risk of heart attack or stroke  (14).

5. May Help Delay Aging

Durian is rich in vitamin C. The nutrient is a powerful antioxidant that reduces oxidative stress caused by free radicals (10). The lower the oxidative stress levels, the slower the aging process.

Durian is rich in other antioxidants as well (15). Studies show that antioxidants can help reduce some signs of skin aging (16). The consumption of durian may reduce the signs of premature aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, or age spots. However, direct research is lacking in this aspect.

6. May Reduce Cancer Risk

Durians are said to possess antioxidant properties that may help reduce cancer risk. The fruit contains polyphenols that inhibit cancer growth and even kill cancer cells. In one study, the fruit showed protective effects against breast cancer cell lines (17).

Free radicals are known to destroy healthy cells and cause the spread of cancer. Since the antioxidants of durians fight free radicals, they may also help in lowering cancer risk. However, more direct research in this regard is warranted.

7. May Help Treat Sexual Dysfunction

Durian pulp is believed to possess aphrodisiac properties (3). However, there are no studies to validate these claims. Though durian is traditionally used to boost fertility, its effectiveness is yet to be studied (18).

8. Helps Maintain Bone Health

Durians are rich in potassium and magnesium. These two minerals contribute to bone health. Studies show that a high potassium intake can promote bone mineral density in men and women over the age of 50 years (19). Research also shows that magnesium deficiency can increase the risk of osteoporosis (20). However, more direct research is needed to substantiate the efficacy of durians in promoting bone health.

9. May Treat Anemia

Durian is a rich source of folate (21). Studies link folate deficiency to hemolytic (related to the rupture of red blood cells) anemia (22).  Folate, if not present in adequate quantities, could lower the number of red blood cells produced. This, in turn, can trigger anemia. Other minerals in durian may trigger the production of red blood cells (RBC). However, more research is warranted in this regard.

10. May Treat Insomnia

Eating durian fruit may treat insomnia. Durian contains tryptophan (an essential amino acid) (23). Studies show that tryptophan may help treat short-term sleep disorders (24).

11. May Act As A Natural Anti-Depressant

It is believed that durian can help relieve the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress (3). Durian may help in the production of serotonin, though there is no research yet to support this. Studies show that low levels of serotonin can aggravate depression (25).

After reading about these promising benefits of durian fruit, you must be wondering how to eat it. Check out the next section to know more.

How To Eat Durian Fruit

Cutting a durian fruit can be a bit challenging. Its spiky shell requires one to wear gloves. However, the process is simple.

  • Make a cut on the top of the durian fruit with a knife.
  • Pull the skin apart and remove the flesh from within.
  • Cut open the other sections as well. The flesh of durian is also sold frozen separately.

Though durian fruit is generally safe for consumption, it has caused certain side effects in some individuals. Check them out in the next section.

What Are The Side Effects Of Eating Durian?

Limited research is available on the side effects of durian. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that durian may cause gas, diarrhea, stomach upset, vomiting, and allergic reactions in some people. The consumption of durian seeds may cause shortness of breath. However, these are yet to be validated by concrete research.

  • May Aggravate Diabetes

This is highly unlikely, given the low glycemic index of durians. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that excess intake of durians in a short period may spike blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, limit your durian intake.

  • May Cause Problems During Pregnancy

Not enough scientific data is available about the safety of durian consumption during pregnancy or lactation. Hence, stay safe and avoid use. Consult your doctor.

Eating durian along with alcohol is thought to lead to death (3). Some compounds in the durian fruit may stop certain enzymes from breaking down alcohol. However, evidence is lacking in this  regard.

Conclusion

Durian is a delicious fruit with a high nutritive value. It may offer a wide range of health benefits, ranging from improving digestive health to treating anemia. However, it may have some adverse effects that are not scientifically proven yet. You can enjoy the fruit in your regular diet after consulting your doctor and dietitian.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Can I drink water after eating durians?

You may drink plenty of water after eating durians.

Can I drink lemon water after eating durians?

Yes. Lemon water also promotes digestive health. You can have it after taking durians.

What can you not mix with durian?

Mixing durian with alcohol, mangosteen, lychee, milk, mutton, beef, or crabs may cause harm. However, this information is based on anecdotal evidence only.

25 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Sindhu Koganti

Sindhu Koganti is a Biotechnology graduate and has been in the writing field for over 4 years now. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has hands-on experience in writing articles and press releases on Life Sciences and Healthcare, Food and Beverages, and Chemicals and Materials. When she’s not writing, she loves watching movies and listening to music. She also enjoys traveling.
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