The Malaysian Durian A Health point of view
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By : Dr. Adlina bt Ahmad MD

Introduction

The durian! Hailed as the King of Fruits in Malaysia.

Its creamy texture sweet bitter taste is attributable to the presence of fat, sugar and sulphur containing compounds and esthers. It is also the most expensive fruit in the region.

It is a seasonal tropical fruit grown in South East Asia between June and September. Out of 30 known durian species, only 9 are edible, but only the Durio Zibethinus is available in the international market.

In Malaysia, a few species have been recommended for commercial planting such as D24 (Durian Merah), D99 (Kop Keil), D145 (Berserah).

Malaysians celebrate this wonderful flavorful fruit with pride. The durian season is welcomed by durian lovers and are sold everywhere, from back of lorries to night markets to already peeled ready-to-eat pieces at supermarkets.

Malaysians gather with family and friends for durian feasts, even head off to durian farm stays to enjoy the fruits and eat to their hearts content.

“RM50 All You can Eat!” shouts a signboard in one of many restaurants selling solely durian. Durian certainly is a roaring business in Malaysia.

Love it or hate it, Malaysians love their durians. It is incorporated into many dishes and desserts, and due to the fact that it can be frozen and does not change its taste when thawed, that makes them freely available anywhere in Malaysia all throughout the year.

Malaysians use durian in everything they can think of.

Here is a list of food that is made with durian:

Durian pudding (pengat) Durian jam Durian dodol Durian ice cream Crepe durian Durian cake Durian chendol Durian served with sticky rice and coconut milk Durian candy Durian cookies Durian chips Durian coffee

The list is endless.

It is so popular that McDonald’s has even added a durian ice cream and a durian Mcflurry in its menu.

My personal favourite is the durian tempoyak, which means fermented durian, which can be mixed with spicy sambal belacan, served with fresh stalks of local greens we call ulam and piping hot rice. And a light soupy tempoyak dish of river paten, need I say more?

Malaysians say, you haven’t lived if you haven’t had durian.[/vc_column_text]

(Left) Durian crepe with its soft sweet durian and cream filling
(Right) Durian is spread into every layer of this durian crepe cake
Durian served with red beans , green chendol, on ice shaving, drowned in coconut milk and drizzled with brown sugar sauce
McDonald’s Durian Ice cream and McFlurry Durian
(Left) Durian served with glutinous rice and coconut milk (Right) Durian cookies
(Left) Durian chips (Right) Durian jam or dodol
Have the courage to try this durian pizza?
(Left) Cooked fish in tempoyak (fermented durian) served with hot rice
(Right) Fermented durian (tempoyak) served with sambal belacan and ulam (stalks of local herbs)

I know all this seems a little bit too sugary and packed with a little too much calories. Let’s give the durian the benefit of the doubt. It is a fruit, so it has got to have lots of vitamins and goodness. My next topic would appropriately be “Is the durian beneficial or not to our health?” Let’s take a closer look at this beloved fruit from the health point of view.

The Durian : A healthy fruit or otherwise?

Hailed as the King of Fruits, it is densely packed with nutrients and minerals that it is categorized as a Superfruit. Here are some reserched facts about the durian.

The Nutritional value of durian’s edible part per 100g

 

Let’s analyse its contents and see how durian benefits us.
1. Packed with healthy fats
Durians are dense with mono-saturated fats, which have the ability to lower our bad cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
2. Immune boosters
Vitamin C in durians is a powerful antioxidant that protects us from harmful free radicals and boosts our immunity against infections and viral attacks.
3. Promotes digestion
The fibre content in durian provides roughage which aids in digestion and helps to soften stool and prevent constipation.
4. Prevent anemia and promote healthy pregnancy
Folate or folic acid is essential in the production of haemoglobin, and the high content in durian can help combat low haemoglobin which leads to anaemia. Furthermore, folic acid is essential for tissue growth, brain and spine development of the growing fetus.
5. Fights cancer
The wealth of vitamins, organic chemicals and nutrients as well as phytonutrients in durian act as antioxidants that fight against free radicals that convert normal cells into cancerous ones. All these antioxidants boost the boy’s immunity to battle against cancerous cells.
6. Anti ageing
The antioxidative properties that reduce the oxidative stress in our bodies can also reduce the chance of premature aging, and appearance of wrinkles, hair loss, tooth loosening. Water content in durian an added advantage that keeps the skin hydrated, reduces dryness and nourishes the skin for clear and smooth skin.
Other benefits
The durian husks can be dried and used as natural fertilizers for plants or fuel. It can also be used as an ingredient for making special textured art paper. Its strong smell can be used as an insect repellent. On an industrial level, Dr S Kathiresan of AIMST University discovered that durian peel can be used to recover oil spills at coastal areas when it is chemically modified and acts as an efficient oil absorbent to remove oil from water. Polysaccharides present in the large thick husks were found to poses moisturization benefits and able to trap lipids , thus making it potentially ideal for cosmetic products.
Undeniably the durian has abundant benefits to mankind, on the other hand, the not so good effects of durian comes from over consumption of the fruit.

The disadvantages of durian over consumption :

1. Durian is a high glycemic food
It has a high content of sugars namely glucose and fructose. As a guide it is advised that diabetes patients are allowed only two seeds of durian a day.
2. It has a high calorie content
Although durian contain no unhealthy cholesterol, it has a high calorie content. A small durian weighing 600g contains 885 calories, which is equivalent to 44% of the daily 2,000calories recommended to an adult. It has triple the amount of calories as compared to other fruits, which obese people should avoid. In conclusion, we now know how the durian offers unquestionable benefits to us but over consumption can lead to disastrous health outcomes. Hence, durian lovers should consume durian in moderation to avoid health problems.
Durian being a natural organic substance has abundant potential in saving he environment . I hope one day our beloved durian will be able to save oceans and sea life and shoo away insects with durian repellent. And I can’t wait to buy durian made lipstick and facial moisturizers, can you?

Reference :
1. Exploring the Nutritional contents and benefits of Durian ( Durio zibethinus ) Research study by Tan Mei Chan & Shyamala Asohan, University Institute Teknologi Malaysia, Institute of Bioproduct Development.
2. Bioactive compounds, Nutritional valueand Potential Health Benefits of Indeginious Durian ( Durio Zibenthinus ) A Review. By Nur Athirah A. Aziz & Abbe Maleyke Mhd Jalil School of Nutrition and Dietatics, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Malaysia.
3. Durian : How good (or bad) is it for you? RafflesHealth Singapore.

NUTRIENTAMOUNT PER 100g
Water64.99g
Energy147kcal
Protein1.47g
Total Lipid (fat)5.33g
Carbohydrates2709g
Fibre3.80g
MINERALS
Iron0.43mg
Calcium6.00mg
Magnesium30.00mg
Potassium436.00mg
Sodium2.00mg
Zinc0.20mg
VITAMINS
Vitamin C19,7000mg
Thiamin0.374mg
Riboflavin0.2mg
Niacin1.074mg
Folate36ug
Vitamin B60.316mg
Vitamin A, RAE2ug
Vitamin A, IU44IU
LIPIDS
Fatty acids, total trans0mg
Cholesterol0mg

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