Durian aka the "King of Fruits" is well known among Southeast Asians, thanks to its unique flavour, strong scent and creamy texture. If you have ever tried durian, it's either one of your favourite fruits or the most despised. It is a divisive fruit that can inspire extreme opinions. It has many health benefits despite its controversial reputation.
What is Durian?
The durian is the edible fruit of several tree species which belong to the genus Durio. There are as many as thirty recognised Durio species, native to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
The fruit can grow as large as twelve inches long and six inches in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms. Durian’s shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.
Durian is a tropical fruit that is quite infamous for its strong scent, creamy texture and unique flavour. These traits make the fruit quite unforgettable to the ones who taste it. Naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace once wrote about the fruit: “to eat durian is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience.”
Its unique flavour is attributed to the presence of fat, sugar and sulphur-containing compounds. There are different varieties of durian from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
The iconic fruit gets its name from the Malay word "Duri", meaning "thorn" due to its spiny exterior. Upon cutting the fruit, it emits a strong scent reminiscent of rotten eggs or onion, which is considered offensive by many. However, the fruit is loved by many precisely for its odour and taste.
Durian is grown in Southeast Asia and is one of the most expensive fruits in the region. It also holds the epithet of being the "King of Fruits" in the subcontinent.
The durian is seen to be cultivated in tropical regions, and it stops growing if the temperatures drop below 22 °C. Although as known, the durian is not native to Thailand, the country is ranked the world's number one exporter of durian, producing around 700,000 tonnes of durian per year, 400,000 tonnes of which are exported to mainland China and Hong Kong.
The unusual flavour and odour of the fruit, even though it is accompanied by a sweet flavour, have prompted many food lovers to show various views ranging from deep appreciation to intense disgust.
Durian nutrition facts
243 grams of durian contain the following nutrients:
| Nutrients |
| Measure |
| Calories |
| 357 |
| Protein |
| 3.6g |
| Total Fat |
| 13g |
| Total Carbohydrates |
| 66g |
| Sodium |
| 4.9mg |
| Potassium |
| 1059mg |
| Vitamin A |
| 2.1% |
| Vitamin C |
| 80% |
| Calcium |
| 1.1% |
| Iron |
| 5.8% |
Durian health benefits
Durian is a nutritionally-rich fruit, which is an excellent source of flavonoids, anthocyanins, ascorbic acid and carotenoids. Durian has powerful bioactive compounds to prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. It has also shown probiotic qualities.
The pulp of the fruit is an excellent source of nutrients like proteins, dietary fats, fibres and carbohydrates. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, folic acid, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin A, iron, zinc, phosphorus, sodium, calcium and potassium.
Even in traditional Southasian medicine, durian is prized for its anti-fever and anti-malarial effects. It is used to relieve colds, treat skin problems, jaundice, phlegm and swellings. The fruit is said to banish problems caused by the cold weather due to its warming properties.
- High in antioxidants
- High in vitamin C
- Lowers blood sugar
- Fights infection
- Prevents heart disease
- Reduces cancer risk
- Lowers glycemic index
- Antibacterial properties
- Anti-yeast properties
- Boosts immune system
- Reduces weight
- Treats insomnia
- Improves mood
- Speeds up wound healing
- Could treat PCOS
Good for heart health: Durian is high in Potassium (K) fibre and unsaturated fats. Potassium is important for its well know the property of lowering high blood pressure. It also has cholesterol-lowering properties.
High in Vitamin C: Durian is very high in Vitamin C. Deficiency in Vitamin C leads to various kinds of chronic and non-chronic pain including cancer-related pains. Consumption of durian is beneficial in avoiding these types of pains.
Lowers blood sugar: Durian is known to reduce blood glucose levels, making it an ideal fruit for diabetics.
1. Striegel, L., Chebib, S., Dumler, C., Lu, Y., Huang, D., & Rychlik, M. (2018). Durian Fruits Discovered as Superior Folate Sources. Frontiers in nutrition, 5, 114. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2018.00114
2. Charoenphun N, Klangbud WK. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of durian (Durio zibethinus Murr.) pulp, seed and peel flour. PeerJ. 2022 Feb 7;10:e12933. doi: 10.7717/peerj.12933. PMID: 35186500; PMCID: PMC8830296.a
3. A Aziz, N. A., & Mhd Jalil, A. M. (2019). Bioactive Compounds, Nutritional Value, and Potential Health Benefits of Indigenous Durian (Durio Zibethinus Murr.): A Review. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 8(3), 96. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods8030096
“The recipes, food, its nutritional value or any other information are developed/shared by expert professionals as per their skill levels. The website shall not be responsible for any consequences arising as a result of using or following any information given in this video/article. Viewers discretion advised.”