Saturday, September 13, 2008

Durian "King of Fruits"

Durian is indigenous to Southeast Asia and can be found in many of the region's low-lying forests. It is most commonly cultivated in Malaysia and Thailand and holds the distinction of being the most highly-prized fruit in the region. In fact, some aficionados go to the extent of hailing it as the "King of Fruits".

The tree can attain heights of up to 120 ft. It has a straight, central trunk from which numerous horizontal branches extend. The bark of the tree is flaky and comes in shades of grey or reddish brown. Leaves are simple and vary from pale olive to bronze green. Trees reach maturity between the age of five and seven and produce fruits twice a year. Flowers are borne only for a day, during which they are pollinated and drop off. The melon-shaped fruit then takes approximately three months to ripen, before falling and splitting on the ground. Durian fruits are distinguished by their olive green colour and coarse rind, which is studded with sharp, formidable spikes. This thick armour protects the durian fruit from being damaged by the impact of falling from considerable heights. The segments of the fruit reveal several portions of creamy, yellow flesh, each encasing a hard, light brown seed. It is this rich, custard-like flesh which is so eagerly devoured. The fruit also has a notoriously pungent aroma which the unacquainted may find exceedingly offensive. Its smell is so pervasive that it has forced certain airlines, hotels and public transport to ban the fruit.

Durians are an important and nutritious source of food for many wild animals that inhabit the rainforest. Evidence shows that even tigers and elephants are fond of the fruit, valuing it for its high vitamin and mineral content, which includes vitamins A, B, C, and iron. Arguably, the fruit tastes best when eaten fresh, but there are other ways to enjoy it. The flesh is used to make durian cakes or durian puree is used to flavour durian ice-cream. The flesh is also used to make deserts such as dodol, durian milkshakes and even durian jam.

The benefits of Durian:
Boosts your energy and metabolism
Helps relieve stress and has a calming effect
Naturally raises serotonin levels for a feeling of well being
Helps to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
Thermogenic effect encourages weight loss
High in protein, antioxidants & enzymes
Heightens your sense of awareness
Helps to create a feeling of optimism and happiness
Elevates your mood and revitalizes your spirit
Most complete nutritional profile of any fruit
Enhances complexion for radiant skin
Supports overall health Anti-inflammatory properties Anti-parasitic Blood purifier

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