Priuk’s Weblog

September 19, 2008

DURIAN

Filed under: Health — priuk @ 3:00 pm
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Who does not know durian. It is a unique fruit with the sweet unique taste and odor. Because of the strong odor, many people do not like this fruit, but quite a lot of them love it. However, durian is also a pretty “controversial” fruit. We must all have heard the myth that eating durian can cause a stroke, especially for people suffering with high blood pressure. What is the truth about this common belief? Let’s figure it out in the article.

Durian (Surio zibenthinus Murr) is one of plants that grows on the tropical areas. The name “durian” was assumed coming from a Malay term “duri” (means thorn) and given the word “an” as the suffix, so it became “durian”. The word has come to the meaning of a fruit whose skin is filled with sharp thorns.

Durian is widely known in Southeast Asia as the King of Fruits. It is known to have been consumed since prehistoric time in the region, but has only been known to the western world for about 600 years.

Not only consumed fresh alone, durian flesh can also be processed into many kinds of dishes. We often see ice durian, durian flavored candy, and it even processed into one of Indonesian food ingredients called tempoyak. Tempoyak is some kind of paste made from durian flesh that has been salted and left for a few days before it is ready to be cooked.

THE NUTRIENTS IN DURIAN

We have assumed that durian is quite a fatty fruit. It turned out that the fruit contains only 3% of fat. Even the content of fat inside avocado is about twice of it, around 6.5%. Durian also contains high amount of sugar, vitamin C, potassium, and the serotoninergic amino acid tryptophan. It is also a ggod source of carbohydrates, and proteins. The content of phosphor and iron inside the fruit are about 10 times of the same substances contained in bananas.

From the strong odor many believe that durian contained alcohol. Is it true? Several studies about the case did find alcohol, such as ethanol and methanol inside the fruit but the compound is known to be unstable, can easily evaporate and disappear. There are some people who hastily associate the strong odor of durian with the amount of alcohol contained inside it. They believe that the stronger it smells, the higher the amount of alcohol inside it. However, up to this day there is still no agreement yet about the cause of the strong odor.

In 1995, Wong and Tie, in their research, had found 63 compounds that can easily evaporate (volatile compounds), including 30 esters, 5 ketones, and 16 sulfur compounds, which took the part on producing the odor of durian. But they never found any compounds of ethanol, methanol, ethyl metacrylate and other sulfur compounds, which had been mentioned by earlier researchers. From the researches can be concluded that consuming durian would not give the effect of intoxicated, unlike consuming liquors.

There is also a belief that consuming durian can make your body feel warm or sometimes hot. This actually depends on how many durians a person consumes. Durian does produce pretty high amount of calories; 100 grams of durian flesh produces about 124-18805 calories. So, it is not a surprise if you consume durian in quite high amount, for example 300 grams, the calorie it produces can reach up to 500. This obviously will make the body feel warm or even hot. This fact has made many people believe that durian can also function as an aphrodisiac fruit.

What about the belief among people that durian can be lethal for people with high-blood pressure and a bad heart condition? The truth is, up to this day, there is still no scientific proof published claimed what substances contained in durian that can cause the stroke or heart attack. It is actually not the durian that causes the illnesses, but how many it is being consumed. Dr. Santoso Karo-Karo, SpJP, a cardiologist from RS Harapan Kita said that he had never forbid his patients from eating durians, as long as they eat it moderately, not too much.

So, once again, the key of consuming any food is moderation. Never consume anything more than we should. This obviously also works with durians. However, we left all the decision to you. We are not here to suggest you to consume durian. In the end, it is you and your doctor who know what’s is the best food for you to maintain your health.

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