Banned in public places, but loved by addicts all over Southeast Asia, the durian fruit is befitting its royal title as “King of Fruits”. The taste is reminiscent of the smell, but much sweeter. No visit to Southeast Asia is complete without sampling durian fruit at least once!
Family: Bombacaceae (or Durionaceae)
Species: Durio Zibethinus Linnaeus
There are about nine species produced edible fruits of all 30 recognized Durio species. Durio zibethinus L. is the most popular species of durian and is the only species of durian commercially cultivated on a large scale and available outside of its native region. The common durian has many differences in fruit colour, odour, and size of aril or flesh, seed, tree characteristics and growth. In its natural state in a rainforest, a durian tree usually grows to a height of 30 to 40 m with some exceptional trees reaching majestic height of 60m. It has a very long life of 80-150 years or more.
Durian fruit development takes about 95 to 130 days after pollination depending on the varieties or cultivars. Fruit ripening usually heralds the start of the rainy season.
The durian fruit is actually a capsule and the edible sections are technically called arils or pulp units. The aril varies extensively between cultivars in colour, aroma, flavor, texture, thickness, and colour.
The structure of durian:
The characteristic strong odour and flavor is due to the production of volatile compounds. How can such an esteemed and expensive fruit smell so bad? Some researches indicate that the odour originates from a complex mixture of thiols, esters, thioethers and sulfides. Durian fruit also contains a high level of tryptophan which is an essential amino acid found in chocolate.
The durian shell can also drop the heat by drinking the water through the shell. The durian shell is used to counter the smell of the durian. We run water through the shell to wash our hands to get rid of the strong smell of durians after eating them.
Myth about durian fruit:
Durian has high cholesterol. NOT REALLY
Mangosteen will reduce the heatness associated with durians. NOT REALLY
Eating durian can boost your libido. NO
Eating too much durian can cause stress headache. NO
Below are the nutrition facts about the durian provided by The USDA
National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference:
(Serving size: 100 grams durian without seed)
The rich nutritional content of the fruit assures several health benefits:
(a) Rich in calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. A 100 gram serving of durian provides about 440mg of potassium. This is a vital nutrient for healthy bones that prevents excessive loss of calcium through urine excretion. Also, potassium helps to regulate blood pressure, which improves cardiovascular health.
(b) Contains various minerals, including copper and iron that are required for the production of red blood cells that play a vital role in the distribution of oxygen throughout the body. The fruit is also rich in manganese which helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
(c) Rich source of protein, phytonutrients and simple fats that have a zero cholesterol value.
(d) Soft and easy to digest fruit. When eaten, it quickly revitalizes the body.
(e) Rich in easily digestible soft protein. This makes it an excellent muscle builder. The high protein content also makes the fruit an excellent dietary aid for organ function.
(f) An excellent source of dietary fiber that cleanses the digestive tract of toxins which helps to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Fiber also helps to(f) prevent constipation and piles.
(g) The durian is one of the few fruits that contain the B group of vitamins. Vitamin B3 helps to maintain a healthy digestive system. Vitamin B1 improves appetite and facilitates production of hydrochloric acid. This supports proper food digestion. The fruit is rich in vitamins B1 and B2, which help to sustain the functions of muscles.
(h) Good source of ascorbic acid this has antioxidant properties. A serving of 100 grams provides around 20mg of vitamin C. This vitamin improves the body’s resistance against infections and diseases. It also reduces inflammation and helps wounds to heal faster.
(i) Presence of phytosterol compound in Durian seed has been discovered from screening work using reagent test. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) allowed companies to add phytosterols to foods as it is healthy for the heart.
(j) The shell of durian as the tonic. The Cantonese cook the inside of durian shell in soup as a tonic because they believe that the soup can boost up immune system and strengthen the body.
Credited by Nutritionist Nadhirah Binti Maarof