Originally, durian fruit is native only to Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. It was introduced to Thailand in the 18th century.
Durian is a tropical tree and is a member of Malvaceae plant family. Its botanical name is Durio Zibethinus. It can grow up to 50 meters and starts bearing fruit four to five years after being planted. The fruits’ skin is thick and covered with a thorny armor, this is to protect the fruit from breaking up when falling to the ground. It can weigh up to seven pounds. Durian flesh is delicate, creamy, soft and sweet. Its smell is very distinctive, repulsive and lingering that seems to stick in your clothes and hands. The durian season typically runs from June to August in Southeast Asia.
Thailand is currently the largest exporter of durian and annually holds a World Durian Festival each May. Malaysia produces the best quality durian in the region and this is what they are famous for. Let’s get into durians’ nutritional and health benefits. This superfruit is an abundant source of nutritional requirements, like vitamin C and B complex, essential minerals that include sodium, potassium and calcium, dietary fibers and protein.
Durian has a high level of an essential amino acid called tryptophan (also found in chocolate) which is the key ingredient in making serotonin; without it, serotonin won't be produced. Serotonin is a compound that brings feelings of calm, relaxation, and sleepiness. And just like chocolates, this is what makes durian very addictive. It has good monounsaturated fats that can lower your cholesterol level and in keeping your blood pressure moderate. For healthy individuals who needs to quickly replenish their energy level, eating durian can give you that boost. It can also help you reduce fatigue and relieve mental stress and anxiety. It also contains estrogen in large quantity which is beneficial to women, uniquely responsible for the growth and development of their sexual characteristics and reproduction.
But watch out, durian is wickedly high in calories and carbohydrates, which is certainly not good for your waistline if you overeat. If you’re diabetic, you must limit your intake. This fruit has three kinds of sugar in it – fructose, sucrose and glucose. Too much of a good thing can be bad.
Eating durian is generally safe and there are very few side effects except when too much is consumed. It can make you feel nauseated, experience mild stomach aches, headaches and increase body heat. It is best that pregnant women avoid eating durian because not much is known about the effect of the many compounds it hold. It is also advised not to take alcoholic drinks after eating durian which may cause blood pressure to shoot up. To enjoy durian, it has to be eaten in moderation.
If you’re a first timer, try durian ice cream if you can find one, it does not have that awful smell. Enjoy!
Durian fruit fact: This is probably the only fruit that is banned in public places due to its repulsive smell.
Stay fit. Enjoy life.
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