Surprising benefits of eating durian

Surprising benefits of eating durian
PHOTO: The Straits Times

This spiky, controversial fruit is actually good for you in many ways. Known as the king of fruits, durian is well-liked by many Singaporeans.

Fans of the fruit just can't get enough of the rich flesh and creamy texture, while haters can detect the pungent smell metres away. Love it or hate it, durian has more benefits than you think.

All nutrition information are obtained from the Health Promotion Board.

Durian makes you happy (really)

The yummy durian flesh is not the only reason for that smile on your face. This decadent fruit actually has happy chemicals to make you feel good.

Durian contains the amino acid tryptophan which gets converted to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that induces feelings of happiness and relaxation. So your mood naturally improves after eating durian.

Durian helps to regulate sleep

Surprise, surprise, the king of fruits can make you sleep better.

Tryptophan (an essential amino acid) in durian is converted to melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep cycle. The higher your melatonin levels, the easier it is to fall asleep.

If you have trouble snoozing, swop your usual bedtime snack for durian - just one seed is enough! Remember to gurgle away the durian breath thoroughly after that.

Durian controls blood pressure

Durian is rich in potassium, an electrolyte that helps to maintain blood pressure levels. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to several health complications such as heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

According to latest stats from the Ministry of Health, almost one in four Singapore residents aged 30 to 69 has hypertension.

Durian is an excellent source of energy

Durian is great as a pre-workout snack. It's high in carbohydrates, which gives a quick release of energy to keep you going strong during exercise.

Two medium seeds (54g) contain 89 calories, and give you almost the same amount of carbohydrates as a medium banana.

Durian improves bone health

Iron and copper are minerals that are essential for strong bones. And durian is rich in those minerals.

A study by the National Centre For Biotechnology Information showed that having a higher iron intake helped to increase bone density, whereas higher calcium intake had a negligible effect on bones.

Durian can give you good skin

With 11.6mg of vitamin C per serving (two medium seeds), durian contains more vitamin C than most tropical fruits. Vitamin C has antioxidant properties to fight free radicals in your body, thus reducing the appearance of pigmentation and wrinkles.

Environmental factors like exposure to cigarette smoke and ultraviolet rays from the sun cause free radical damage to the skin.

Durian increases sex drive

Durian is known to be a libido-boosting food among Asians. In fact, there's a well-known traditional Indonesian saying: When the durians fall, the sarong goes up.

The Malaysian government is looking to do a comprehensive study on the aphrodisiac value of durians. Even if durian doesn't improve your libido significantly, it contains many vitamins and minerals that are great for your overall well-being. Win-win!

This article was first published in Shape Singapore

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