If you have ever been to any Southeast Asian country, there is a high possibility that you were offered durian fruit by the locals. Often referred to as the ‘king of all fruits’, this smelly snack is loaded with nutrients that are good for your health. Not only is the fruit a really good antioxidant, but it also has healthy plant compounds including anthocyanins, carotenoids, polyphenols, and flavonoids which makes it delicious and healthy.
The tropical fruit is distinguished by its large size and spiky, hard outer shell, and people often avoid eating it because of its pungent smell. One may describe the taste of the fruit as a mix of cheese, almonds, garlic, and caramel all at once. The consumption of durian fruit is beneficial for one’s health and it also aids in weight loss. It has also been used in traditional medicine for ages and has some medicinal properties that are being studied. Let’s see why you should include this fruit in your diet.
Healthy benefits of durian fruit that make it the ‘king of all fruits’
Durian fruit offers several health benefits. In fact, the fruits’ leaves, husk, and roots have been used in traditional medicine in Malaysia to treat various illnesses. The smelly fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and Vitamin B6. It also contains a good amount of potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.
It reduces cancer risk
The antioxidants and polyphenols present in this tropical fruit may counteract cancer-promoting free radicals. A test-tube study showed that the extract from this fruit controlled a strain of breast cancer cells from spreading.
Eating durian fruit prevents heart disease
Several compounds like organosulfur found in this tropical snack potentially help reduces cholesterol levels. It also lowers the risk of atherosclerosis and the hardening of the arteries.
It helps fight infection
The rind of the durian fruit contains compounds that have antibacterial and anti-yeast properties. It helps fight any infections and keeps the bacteria and virus-causing irritation away.
Durian lowers blood sugar
The smelly snack has a lower glycemic index (GI) than many other tropical fruits. This means that its consumption will not spike blood sugar levels as badly as other fruits. It also has manganese which improves the insulin response. The potassium in the fruit works as a vasodilator which helps in maintaining the balance between fluid and salt in the cells.
It improves digestive health
Durian is loaded with dietary fibre that helps in easing bowel movement and prevents constipation. The thiamin in the fruit improves digestive health and appetite. It also stimulates peristaltic motion easing the digestive process in the intestines. Eating this tropical fruit also helps in treating issues like bloating, excess flatulence, and heartburn.
Durian fruit is also good for skin and hair
Vitamin C and antioxidant compounds such as phytonutrients, polyphenols, and flavonoids present in this fruit help in protecting skin cells and tissues from oxidative damage. The rich minerals in the fruit may help in lightening dark spots and scars. It is also very good to treat uneven skin tone, sun tan, wrinkles and fine lines.
Nutrients like vitamin B complex, zinc, and iron aid dandruff control and ensure that you have long and lustrous tresses. It also helps in treating split ends.
How to cut a durian fruit
Start by wearing hand gloves. This protects you from the thorns and the strong smell. Slice the stem from the top of the fruit and start cutting the fruit. Pull back the skin and open the fruit completely. Now remove the large pods of the fruit and separate the flesh from the seeds. The fruit is ready to be enjoyed. You can either eat it directly or prepare delicious recipes like durian coconut smoothie, durian ice cream, and more.
Side effects of eating this tropical fruit
The durian fruit has a few drawbacks when consumed in unripe form or in excess. It may trigger allergic reactions in some people. Some people might find it difficult to digest this smelly snack. It may lead to gut problems like abdominal pain and stomach cramps.
Avoid consuming durian at the same time as you consume alcohol. It may result in nausea and vomiting. Anyone with gastrointestinal issues and kidney complications should also avoid eating the fruit at all costs.
Hero Image: Courtesy See D Jan/Shutterstock; Feature Image: Courtesy Elly Suhailee/Shutterstock
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India.