Durian: Scrutinising the tall tales and science behind the ‘king of fruits”

KNOWN as the “king of fruits” in Southeast Asia, durian is not only the most famous Malaysian fruit, it is also the most popular crop planted here, making up to 41% of the land cultivated or about 70,000 hectares.

Durian cultivation started off as a small-scale operation in the past but has grown over the years and is now identified as a source of agricultural wealth. There are more than 200 durian varieties in Malaysia, with Musang King the prized variant.

Despite pungent in aroma, distinctive taste and custardy texture, the large-sized and formidable thorn-covered husk fruit has high nutritional value and has become extremely popular in Asian countries. This is contrary to what many people believe – that durian contains unhealthy cholesterol and is high in calories.

The Health Ministry (MOH) recently has debunked several commonly-held beliefs about the thorny fruit. Here are several of it:

Durian must be eaten with mangosteen to reduce heatiness

In modern medicine, there is no term for heaty and cold fruits. Also, there is no scientific research to support this. The habit of eating durians and mangosteens together probably stems from the fact that the two fruits are harvested at about the same time.

Durian is loaded with cholesterol

In the nutrition facts label, durians contain zero cholesterol. In fact, durians have heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which help to lower your levels of bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

Consuming durian and beer at the same time may be fatal

There is no scientific evidence to show that this is a lethal combination. Consuming both alcohol and durian in excessive amounts is more likely to cause bloating, indigestion and discomfort as your liver has to work extra hard to metabolise both fats and sugars from durians and the alcohol.

Consuming durian can boost your libido

There is no scientific evidence to prove that eating durian will increase libido. However, heatiness in the durian may cause your body temperature to rise, but this does not make the fruit an aphrodisiac.

Whatever said and done, it is important not to consume anything excessively, including durian. Eaten in moderation, having two to three seeds of durian at one sitting is sufficient enough to provide the body with many minerals, vitamins and good fats. – Feb 28, 2021

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