5 Surprising Facts About Durian

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

durian-in-a-basket With its onion-custard flavor and an odor that resembles rotten gym socks, the durian fruit is perhaps the most notorious fruit of all. While supermarkets are slowly beginning to offer more internationally popular fruits, durian has yet to reach mainstream attention. The “why” isn’t much of a mystery. Along with its horrible smell, this prickly fruit is large, heavy, and unwieldy with its dangerous, spikey outer shell (eye injuries are common during harvesting season).[1, 2] But, regardless of its taste, aroma, or appearance, it is a nutritional powerhouse packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Let’s take a look at a few of the lesser mentioned benefits of durian fruit.

5 Surprising Facts About Durian

In the realm of acquired tastes, durian is right up there in the “expert level” category. Its odor is distinct and pervasive; some public places in Southeastern Asia even ban durian from the premises due to its lingering, pervasive aroma. Here are some quick facts about durian that you may find interesting:

1. Durian May Warm the Body

In Indian herbalism, durian is considered a warming food and it may have a slight hyperthermic effect on the body, causing the body to feel warmer following consumption.[3] Like many warming spices, including garlic, cinnamon, and cloves, durian contains sulfides and other compounds known for inducing a warming sensation.

2. Durian May Help Ease a Cough

Animal models have shown that durian shell extract is powerful for fighting a stubborn cough.[4] While the mechanism behind this benefit is unknown, researchers believe that the fruit’s analgesic and antibacterial properties may be the main contributors.

3. Durian May Worsen Kidney Disease

Durian is high in potassium, a nutrient necessary for proper nerve and muscle function.[5] Normally this would be a benefit, but individuals with kidney disease need to monitor their potassium levels to keep their condition under control. Therefore, durian should not be consumed by persons with end-stage renal disease or any other type of kidney disease.

4. Durian Fruit is Loaded with Antioxidants

Antioxidants provide a lot of benefits, and to describe all of their benefits in one paragraph is virtually impossible. In a nutshell, antioxidants support healthy aging, protect the heart, reduce DNA and cell mutation, and support brain and skin health. If you’re not bothered by the aroma and the taste of durian, you may want to consider adding it to your diet![6]

5. Durian May Promote Normal Cholesterol

High cholesterol is a rising concern among many Americans today. Despite the nation’s war on fat and dietary cholesterol, high cholesterol and triglycerides (fats in the blood) is a public health epidemic. Durian has been shown to support normal cholesterol levels, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.[7]

Adding Durian Fruit to Your Diet

Durian can be a healthy addition to your daily diet, one that will give you an extra edge to your well being this new year. Although it’s best not to consume it in a social setting (don’t bring it to work), you should still try it to see whether or not you enjoy its flavor. Look for durian at your local international food market or health food store. While dried durian is available for purchase, you’re best off consuming the whole, fresh form of the fruit for optimum nutrition.

Have you ever tried durian? What was your experience? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with us!

References (7)
  1. Reddy SC. Ocular injuries by durian fruit. Int J Ophthalmol. 2012;5(4):530-4. doi: 10.3980/j.issn.2222-3959.2012.04.25.
  2. Aziz S, Asokumaran T, Intan G. Penetrating ocular injury by durian fruit. Med J Malaysia. 2009 Sep;64(3):244-5.
  3. Terada Y, Hosono T, Seki T, et al. Sulphur-containing compounds of durian activate the thermogenesis-inducing receptors TRPA1 and TRPV1. Food Chem. 2014 Aug 15;157:213-20. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.02.031.
  4. Wu MZ, Xie G, Li YX, et al. Cough-relieving, analgesic and antibiotic effects of durian shell extracts: a study in mice. Nan Fang Yi Ke Da Xue Xue Bao. 2010 Apr;30(4):793-7.
  5. Leo CL, Leong WS, Tieh CS, Liew CK. Durian induced hyperkalaemia. Med J Malaysia. 2011 Mar;66(1):66-7.
  6. Leontowicz H, Leontowicz M, Haruenkit R, et al. Durian (Durio zibethinus Murr.) cultivars as nutritional supplementation to rat's diets. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008 Feb;46(2):581-9.
  7. Leontowicz M, Leontowicz H, Jastrzebski Z, et al. The nutritional and metabolic indices in rats fed cholesterol-containing diets supplemented with durian at different stages of ripening. Biofactors. 2007;29(2-3):123-36.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • weyo

    I get frozen slices from my neighborhood Asian store. It’s known as Jackfruit. I find it sweet. I guess to each is own with flavor tastes.

  • Bill Sanders

    I tried some in Thailand. It was mild sweet tasting and very rich. I bought a couple for my gf in Davao once. It’s their favorite thing, along with balot. I am glad they ban this in hotel rooms. it smells like dead fish…

  • Ekew

    Durian is like the king of fruits in Southeast Asia. Coming from Singapore, we have the best selections from the region. I only eat fresh open durian right at the store where u pick and the fruit seller open right in your eyes! Not frozen one anywhere or in USA. My usa husband HATE the smell;( . I love and miss durian!

  • Tony

    Weyo – Jackfruit is a totally different fruit / taste very different and it doesn’t smell. Looks similar.

  • David B.

    It tastes sweet and surprisingly delicate, very different than how it smells. It tastes amazingly good, in fact. Given the taste, I really can’t hate anything about durian. Even the smell. It does have a funk to it, but mostly it smells like durian, and that’s a GOOD thing.

  • David Jones

    I’m USA born but traveled to Asia enough and have had enough Thai friends to come to love it. Please try Durian with sweet sticky rice and coconut sauce as my friend Amporn always made. Oh my God you will eat it till you are sick. See my documentary on Singapre on YouTube under the title Best Singapore Documentary.

    Best wishes to all Durian lovers
    David Whitefield Jones

  • Lindsay Converse

    Just tried the yellow durian. I think all the talk about the smell will scare people off. It’s taste was definitely better than the smell, but even that wasn’t so bad. Its sweet but not overly so, and it doesnt taste like the smell whatsoever. I’ll eat it again willingly lol, and I’ll enjoy it.

  • Dave Lanny

    I love it! There’s only one species that you can get in the US, because it’s the only one that can last long enough for export. It’s the largest of the fruit. But to get the best in taste you need to travel to the Southeast Asian countries. My personal favorite it from North Sulawesi, Indonesia, the taste very rich, and you may become intoxicated if you have enough.
    For those who haven’t tried, get over the fear of the smell and all the horror stories you might have heard about durian. It’s absolutely delicious. Actually going out for some tonight, they happen to be in season.

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