The durian is a fruit having its origins in the Malay Archipelago, a south east Asia region including Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. The tree which produces the fruit can reach 20 to 40 meters high. It’s almost exclusively cultivated in Asia because it grows under very specific conditions and is difficult to acclimate. This tree is similar to cocoa, cotton, baobab and mallow. Durian is a relatively large fruit. It can weigh up to 5 kg and measure 20 to 30 cm in diameter with 40 cm in length. It has spines and a very unpleasant odor.
When durian is matured, its skin cracks. Its skin has sharp grooves and you can therefore use the grooves to open the fruit. Durian has five or six sections separated by a membrane which is not edible. Each section has a few seeds that are edible. The flesh is creamy and whitish, and the taste is very special.
Health effects of durian
Very few studies were conducted specifically on this fruit.
The glycemic index of the durian is 49 which is slightly less than other tropical fruits such as banana.
Like all other fruits, durian has bioactive compounds such as carotenoids, anthocyanins, polyphenols and flavonoids.
Use of durian
When you purchase this fruit, you’re looking for a fruit with slightly yellow skin which indicates the fruit is ripe. To open the fruit, bring a knife into one of the grooves. You can then remove the flesh with a spoon. It can be eaten as it is, with a spoon, or integrate it in yogurt, ice cream and some pastries. It can also be cooked, and use as jam. This fruit accompanies sticky rice in Asia. It can also be dried and used to make fruit bars.
Durian seeds can be roasted like nuts. The powder from durian seeds are used to make candies.
The durian can be kept up to 2 days at room temperature. In Malaysia, it’s preserved in brine in order to consume it throughout the year.
The durian is certainly a fruit to try if you are travelling in Asia. Otherwise, its nutritional content is not necessarily the best among other fruits.
In case of overdose, each year, several deaths are reported by the press in Thailand, Indonesia and the rest of the region. Actually, it is strongly recommended to people with hypertension and pregnant woman not to consume durian. But the real danger when consuming the durian fruit is the association with alcohol. Japanese scientists of Tsukuba University have recently established that the durian, probably because of its high sulphur content, is able to inhibit the aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDH) enzyme, which is the main defense of our liver against toxic alcohol effects.
About 50% of Asians do not correctly produce this enzyme and cannot eliminate the acetaldehyde which is responsible of hangovers. And even without alcohol, you should never eat too much durian because this fruit is extremely rich in sugars and fat. It is one of the fruits with the most calories almost as much as an avocado, and two times more than olives.