Health

Seven surprising benefits of eating durian

The king of fruits is loved by many Singaporeans. But haters can detect its pungent smell metres away. Love it or hate it, the durian has more benefits for your overall well-being than you think.

IT MAKES YOU HAPPY (REALLY)

This fruit has happy chemicals to make you feel good.

Durian contains the essential 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.

IT HELPS TO REGULATE SLEEP

Surprisingly, it can make you sleep better.

Tryptophan in durian is also 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, swap your usual bedtime snack for durian - just one seed is enough. Remember to gargle away durian breath thoroughly.

IT CONTROLS BLOOD PRESSURE

Durian is rich in potassium, which helps to maintain blood pressure levels. High blood pressure, or hypertension, can lead to several health complications such as heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. According to the latest stats from the Ministry of Health, almost one in four Singapore residents aged 30 to 69 has hypertension.

IT IS AN EXCELLENT SOURCE OF ENERGY

Durian is great as a pre-workout snack. It is high in carbohydrates, which give 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.

IT 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.

IT 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 also cause free radical damage to the skin.

IT INCREASES SEX DRIVE

Durian is known to be a libido-boosting food among Asians.The Malaysian government is even looking to do a comprehensive study on the aphrodisiac value of durians.

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