Health

Eating durian has surprising benefits for one's health

Some claim the fruit can make you happy, regulate sleep and even increase sex drive

Known as the king of fruits, durian is well liked by many Singaporeans.

Fans just cannot get enough of the rich flesh and creamy texture, although haters can detect the pungent smell metres away.

Love it or loathe it, durian has more health benefits than you think.

However, avoid overconsumption as too much heaty foods that warm up the body can lead to rashes, fever and a sore throat.

Makes you happy (really)

Durian actually has happy chemicals to make you feel good.

It contains the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that induces feelings of happiness and relaxation, so your mood naturally improves after eating it.

Helps to regulate sleep

Tryptophan in durian also gets 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.

Controls blood pressure

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

Excellent source of energy

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

Two medium seeds (about 55g) contain 90 calories and give you almost the same amount of carbs as a medium banana.

Improves bone health

Iron and copper are minerals that are essential for strong bones, and durian is rich in them.

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

Gives you good skin

With 11.6mg of vitamin C a 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.

Increases sex drive

It is known to be a libido-boosting food among Asians - which could explain the well-known traditional Indonesian saying, "When the durians fall, the sarongs go up".

Malaysia is even looking to do a comprehensive study on the aphrodisiac value of durians.

This article was first published in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

Food & Drink