There’s no denying that the durian is iconic in Singapore. We affectionately refer to the Esplanade as “that durian-shaped building”. We make celebrities try it whenever they stop by Singapore (for the record, F1 drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen could barely swallow it down, while Jessica Chastain apparently loved it). Some of us don’t think twice about shelling out hundreds of dollars for the best ones. For a limited period of time, Grab actually offered a self-explanatory service called GrabDurian – that’s how serious Singaporeans take this local delight. But perhaps the King of Fruits really does deserve its title – it actually has more than a few health benefits!
According to Changi General Hospital’s Dietetics and Food Services department, durian is naturally rich in potassium, dietary fiber, iron, vitamin C and vitamin B complex. The amount of potassium in durian is equivalent to 9% of our body’s daily requirement and helps to give us an energy boost. Perhaps it’s time to swap that banana for a more indulgent pre-workout snack…
And then there’s iron, which plays an important role in keeping our bones strong and healthy by increasing bone density. What else makes this prickly fruit so beneficial? The high levels of dietary fiber (92% of the daily nutritional requirement!) can reduce the chances of constipation and diarrhoea as well. If you can’t stand Mum nagging at you to finish your vegetables for the sake of your fiber intake, this would be a yummy alternative. There are also good monounsaturated fats present in durian to lower your cholesterol levels and moderate your blood pressure.
Those of us who are emotional eaters might want to take note of this – durian also contains tryptophan, a natural sleep-inducing compound which is needed to increase the level of serotonin. Serotonin helps to combat stress and anxiety and chase those blues away. You’ll also get better sleep as a result, so don’t feel too guilty about snacking on some durian for supper.
For the image-conscious out there (*ahem* here’s looking at you, Mum), durian supposedly has anti-aging properties. You read that right – goodbye, SKII! Eating durian will improve your body’s ability to eliminate free radicals, lowering the chances of premature aging and preventing the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and other forms of skin pigmentation. The next time someone (Mum again?) warns you that durian is too heaty and will cause your skin to break out, try telling them that it’s actually good for your complexion.
Here’s a naughty little bonus…the Javanese believe that durian has aphrodisiac properties, and it has been said that durian can produce intensified sexual libido and stamina. Don’t forget to brush your teeth, though. Durian breath can be a real mood-killer.
Before you use all the aforementioned reasons as an excuse to gorge yourself silly on durian, you might want to remember that this pungent fruit has a calorie range of 885 to 1500 calories. Feel free to treat yourself occasionally to reap the benefits, but try not to go overboard – after all, moderation is key.