Durian is called the King of Fruits in Southeast Asia where you see it in all of the supermarkets, but in Toronto you probably can only find it in Asian supermarkets in either Chinatown and in Little India. It is a very stinky fruit but its taste is a lot sweeter than it’s odour. Many find the smell a bit strong but the offensiveness of the actual smell wanes once you start enjoying eating it.

This fruit smells so high that the best hotels in East Asia don’t even allow this fruit inside its doors because when very ripe it smells a bit like old socks. If you can tolerate the smell, it is a powerful natural sedative, mood enhancer, appetite suppressant and insomnia remedy.

It is packed with antioxidant and phytonutrients and also, quite rare for a fruit, it is chock full of protein as well! It is also not a fruit that is as exotic as we may think. It grows everywhere in Southeast Asia and Hawaii and is a known diet aid.

Durian’s Odd Appearance

The fruit itself is oblong in shape; weighs one to nine kg and it can range from being twenty to thirty five centimeters in diameter. The fruit can weigh from one to nine kg. The reddish brown seeds look like chestnuts and are two to six centimeters long.

Durian at an Asian Market

The rind of the Durian thick and woody and the entire fruit is covered with pointed spines that make it look like some kind of weapon rather than a fruit. It is usually yellow-green in color and the flesh inside can be either yellowish or a cream color. The flesh also has a custard-like texture that makes it best for a dessert. Usually it is eaten straight from the shell because the smell is so powerful.

The Health Benefits of Durian

There are a lot of general health benefits to taking Durian, including any psychological and neurological benefits to taking it. This is one of the few fruits in the world that seems to directly address such problems as depression (including suicidal depression), anxiety, insomnia, aggression, pain, migraines, premenstrual syndrome, bulimia, Parkinson’s Disease, nightmares and stress. This is because Durian contains high levels of Organosulfur compounds and Tryptophan.

Some people feel less shaky when eating Durian just because it does have so much fibre and protein in it. It also evens out your blood sugar so you are less likely to suffer from mood swings caused by blood sugar spikes.

Organsulphides work because they help lower cholesterol by decreasing the synthesis the hepatocytes that create it. They also inhibit platelet aggregation, which is one of the first steps leading to heart attack or stroke. They literally dissolve blood clots right in the arteries.

These compounds have also been know to halt the activity of inflammatory enzymes in the body which means they can help reduce joint pain and arthritis.

The tryptophan in the Durian is largely responsible for the positive effects on mental health. This is the same substance that you find in turkey. Have you ever noticed how relaxed you feel after eating a big turkey meal? Tryptophan helps produce such calming feel-good brain chemicals as serotonin and melatonin.

What you eat affects how you sleep. Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic so your brain can slow down too. It is the raw material that builds up serotonin and melatonin in your system and makes it readily available to you at all times.

Serotonin keeps your mood up and melatonin helps you sleep at night. Melatonin, in particular, is needed to help you relax so your body can get to the necessary repairs it needs to do while you are unconscious. This in turn also results in you looking younger and feeling better!

There are a lot of advantages to eating durian and other super fruits. Our nutritionists and naturopathic doctors at Pinewood Natural Health Centre can help familiarize you with new ways of eating that are better for your health and that can facilitate weight loss, cure insomnia and reduce anxiety. Visit the Pinewood Natural Health Clinic website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewood.ca or call our Toronto Office at (416)-656- 8100. We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.

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