#Durian – contains high amount of folate or folic acid which is essential in the production of haemoglobin. Also contains a number of trace metals including calcium and potassium, also amino acid known as tryptophan.

Durian is the fruit of several tree spcies belonging to the genus Durio.  There are about 30 recognized durio species, however, at least nine of which produce edible fruits.  Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions.  Durio zibethinus or locally known as durian is belong to the family of Bombacaceae, or by others in a broadly defined Malvaceae or by others in a smaller family of just seven genera Durionaceae. Durian is native to Southeast Asia.  It is found wild or semi-wild in South Tenasserim, lower Burma and around villages in peninsula Malaysia. 

In addition, wild durian widely planted in Borneo and Sumatra.  Borneo is the centre for diversity of Durio species.  Durian is commonly cultivated along roads or in commercial orchards in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines.  Apart from durian, this species also well-known with other common names such as Civet–Cat Fruit Tree, Civet fruit, Kampung Durian as called in English, Dian, Durian Puteh and Jatu called in Borneo, Liu Lian as called in Chinese, Dereyan called by Indonesia and etc (Lim, 2012).

Durian is a unique tropical fruit. It’s popular in Southeast Asia, where it’s nicknamed “the king in fruits.” Durian is very high in nutrients, containing more than most other fruits.

Durian thrives in a hot, humid and wet climate with average annual temperature of 24-30C, relative humidity of 75-90%.  Durian needs well distributed rainfull.  However, a relatively dry spell stimulates and synchronizes flowering.  Durian species thrive best in lowlands as it does not grow well and produce fruits above 800 m altitude.  Durian grows best in a well-drained and fertile soil rich in organic matters that have a pH range from 5-6.5.  Durian is intolerant of water logging which will cause destructive fungal root and trunk rot diseases.  Furthermore, durian cannot withstand more than 0.02% of salinity in the soil (Lim, 2012).

The durian tree can reach up to 27- 40 m in height in tropical forests.  Durian tree usually erect with sort, straight, rough, peeling truck to 1.2 m in diameter and have an umbrella-shaped canopy of rough branches and thin branchlets coated with coppery or gray scales when young.  The evergreen, alternate leaves are oblong, elliptic or rounded at the base, abruptly pointed at the apex; leathery, dark-green and glossy above, silvery or pale-yellow, and densely covered with gray or reddish-brown, hairy scales on the underside.  The fruits are avoid or avoid-oblong to nearly round and up to 8kg in weight.  The yellow or yellowish-green rind is thick, tough, semi-woody, and densely set with stout, semi-woody, and densely set with stout, sharply pointed spines, 3-to 7-sided at the base.  Inside there are 5 compartments containing the creamy-white, yellowish, pinkish or orange-coloured flesh and 1 to 7 chestnut-like seeds (Morton, 1987).

Nutritional Value of Durian’s Edible Part

Durian is used in sweet and savory dishes. Both the creamy flesh and seeds are edible, though the seeds need to be cooked. It’s also used in traditional medicine.

Table 1 shows the nutrition value of durian’s edible part per 100 g.

Table 1:  Nutrition value of durian’s edible part per 100 g (Source:  USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27).

Nutrient                                                     – Value per 100 g

Water                                                                  64.99 g

Energy                                                              147 kcal

Protein                                                                  1.47 g

Total lipid (fat)                                                     5.33 g

Ash                                                                         1.12 g

Carbohydrates                                                   27.09 g

Fiber, total dietary                                              3.80 g

Calcium, Ca                                                      6.000 mg

Iron, Fe                                                              0.430 mg

Magnesium, Mg                                             30.000 mg

Phosphorus P                                                 39.000 mg

Potassium, K                                                436.000mg

Sodium, Na                                                       2.000 mg

Zinc, Zn                                                              0.280 mg

Copper, Cu                                                         0.207 mg

Manganese Mn                                                 0.325 mg

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid                       19,700 mg

Thiamin                                                               0.374 mg

Riboflavin                                                            0.200 mg

Niacin                                                                   1.074 mg

Pantothenic acid                                                 0.230 mg  

Vitamin B-6                                                          0.316 mg

Folate, total                                                                36

Vitamin B-12                                                              0

Vitamin A, RAE                                                          2

Retinol                                                                         0

Carotene, alpha                                                          6

Cryptoxanthin, beta                                                   0

Vitamin A, IU                                                            44 IU

Cholesterol                                                                  0 mg

☆  Health Benefits

Its also rich in healthy plant compounds, including anthocyanins, carotenoids, polyphenols, and flavonoids. Many of these function as antioxidants.

Durian is widely celebrated for its long list of health benefits, which include the ability to boost immune system, prevent cancer and inhibit free radical activity, improve digestion, strengthen bones, improve signs of anaemia, prevent premature aging, lower blood pressure, and protect against cardiovascular diseases. 

Some of the more minor benefits of durian are to reduce inflammation of the joints, help thyroid health, reduce headaches, and lower symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.  Most of the health benefits come from durian’s impressive vitamin and mineral content. 

Durian contains such as vitamin-C, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6 and vitamin A. Important minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnessium, sodium, zinc, phosphorus, are also found in durian. It also contains nutrients such as phytonutrients, water, protein and beneficial dietary fibre.

Relieves Anaemia and Promotes Healthy Pregnancy

Anaemia is a medical condition that reduces the level of haemoglobin can lead to fatigue, headache, insomnia, and etc. In pregnant woman, anaemia can lead to abnormality and fatality of the foetus.

Reduces cancer risk – its antioxidants may neutralize cancer-promoting free radicals. In one test-tube study, durian extract prevented a strain of breast cancer from spreading.

Durian contains high amount of folate or folic acid which is essential in the production of haemoglobin. Besides that, low content of iron in durian aids in haemoglobin production alleviating condition of anaemia (Kevat, 2013).

Furthermore, presence of folate in durian is important for pregnant woman as it promote regular tissue growth as well as protects the brain and spine in developing baby (Health benefits of durian, 2015).

Helps to Maintain Healthy Bones

Durian contains a number of trace metals including calcium and potassium. Even calcium is present in low level in durian, but amount of potassium present in durian fulfills about 9% of our body’s daily requirement.

Potassium is required for the development of healthy bones. Even though the most abundant mineral of our bone is calcium, but potassium is crucial to regulate the distribution and deposition of the calcium in bones so that it is not dissolved or released into the blood excessively (Kevat, 2013)

Helps to Alleviate Depression and Improves Sleep

Durian contains animo acids known as tryptophan – a natural sleep inducing compounds. Tryptophan is required to increase the level of of serotonin and melatonin. These two neuro-chemicals are required to manage our emotions.

Serotonin is essential to relieve stress, sleeplessness, anxiousness, appetite as well as depression. In addition, these types of hormones help to manage sleeping function and could be utilized in the epilepsy cure (Kevat, 2013).

¤ Fight Cancer

Durian has a wealth of vitamins, nutrients, and organic chemicals that function as antioxidants. In the battle against cancer, free radicals are vitally important, because cell metabolism, there are by-products created, called free radicals.

Durian contains nutrients and plant compounds that may offer several health benefits, including for cancer, heart health, infections, and blood sugar control.

These free radicals can destroy the DNA of regular cells and convert them into cancer cells, which can then metastasize or form fatal, tumorous growths, all of the antioxidants which reduce oxidative stress on the organs of the body are bonuses to the immune system, and durian is packed with them, including vitamin-C, vitamin-B complex, and vitamin E, as well as phytonutrients that battle cancerous cells (Health benefits of Durian, 2015).

¤ Aids in Digestion

Durian contains high levels of dietary fibre, which are important for the normal function of the digestive system. Fibre causes bowel movement to increase in bulk, which makes it easier for them to move through the intestinal tract.

Fibre 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, conditions like bloating, excess flatulence, heartburn, cramps, and indigestion as well as colorectal cancer can be minimized.

Prevent heart disease – several compounds in durian may help produce cholesterol levels and your risk of atherosclerosis, or the hardening of your arteries.

Much of the fibre in durian in insoluble fibre, which also lowers the frequency of diarrhea for people with loose stool. Fibre also help to reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood by scraping LDL cholesterol out of the body and quickly removing it before it can do any damage to the cardiovascular system (Health benefits of Durian, 2015)

¤ Anti-aging

Durian has a wide variety of antioxidant properties stemming from its vitamin and organic chemical makeup that actively reduce the amount 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 apperance of symptoms such as wrinkles, age spot, macular degeneration, hair loss, tooth loosening, arthritis, cancer, and heart disease (Health benefits of Durian, 2015).

In aadition, the high water content of Durian is an added advantage along with its antioxidant content. Water keeps the skin hydrated, reduces dryness and alleviate the appearance of fine lines. It also nourishes skin for clear and smooth skin (Kevat, 2013).

¤ Fight Infection

The rind contains compounds that have antibacterial and anti-yeast properties.

¤ Lowers Blood Sugar

Durian has a lower glycemic index (GI) than many other tropical fruits, meaning it may spike blood sugar levels less.

¤ Increase and Encourage Fertility

Estrogen is a hormone which helps in conceiving. Most of the women who suffer from fertility usually have a low estrogen level in their body which is increased with pills, injections and supplements.

Studies have shown that durian contains a high level of this hormone and can act as an herbal medicine (Kevat, 2013).

Besides, durian can produce intensified sexual libido and stamina, and also reduce the chances of infertility in men and women, and increase sperm motility (Health benefits of Durian, 2015).

Potentially Harmful in Combination with Alcohol

Durian contains compounds that may prevent alcohol from being fully metabolized, causing symptoms like nausia and vomiting.

~ Consuming durian at the same time as alcohol can cause problem.

~ Scientists believe that sulfur-like compounds in durian may prevent certain enzymes from breaking down alcohol, causing increased alcohol levels in your blood.

~ This could lead to symptoms like nausia, vomiting, and heart palpitations.

~ To be safe, avoid eating durian and drinking alcohol at the same time.

Used as Traditional Medicine

Durian is a very nutritious fruit that’s rich in fiber, B vitamins, vitamin C, and various healthy plant compounds.

According to traditional use, durian may have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and vasocontrictor properties.

Traditionally, durian leaves and roots are in Malaysia used to treat fever.

The juice of fresh leaves is used as an ingredient in a lotion for fevers, and the juice from the bark is used as an antimalarial in Sumatra.

The Javanese also believe that durian has aphrodisiac properties.

In addition, durian leaves are considered anthelmintic and are used for jaundice treatment. Decoctions of the leaves and fruits are used to treat swelling and skin conditions (Clark’s Nutrition, 2011).

References: utm.my>ibd>project / healthline.com

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