Hailed as the King of Fruits in Southeast Asia, durian is either loved for its soft creamy goodness or avoided because of its overwhelming pungent smell. Growing up in Southeast Asia, many of us enjoy eating this unique tropical fruit, but when we know we are about to become mums, we ask: Can I eat durian during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
Is it safe? What are the benefits? We answer all these questions and more for you. We look into how eating durian may affect you during pregnancy, confinement as well as while breastfeeding your little one.
Can I Eat Durian During Pregnancy?
To mums-to-be craving that sweet custardy taste of durian, fret not. It is actually safe to consume durian during pregnancy – but in moderation.
On the one hand, fresh durian is a rich source of nutrients: Iron, Riboflavin, Copper, Folate, Calcium, Fiber, Zinc, Carotene, Manganese, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Potassium, Niacin, Thiamin, Sugar, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Ascorbic Acid.
But durians are high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrate content, so perhaps avoid the tempting durian buffet, especially for those with gestational diabetes or a family history of diabetes.
Can I Eat Durian During My Confinement Period?
If it is safe to consume durian during pregnancy, then it is definitely okay to eat this delicious fruit after giving birth.
In Thailand, they believe that durians can help to strengthen the body, so women there will consume it during their confinement period. If you are craving this custardy fruit shortly after giving birth, ask your healthcare provider whether or not it is safe for you to do so.
Some traditional beliefs claim that after eating this tropical fruit, drinking coconut water, salt water, or other herbal drinks with cooling properties helps to counteract the “heatiness.” Another popular traditional practice is to drink some water straight out of the empty durian husk.
Is Durian Good for Breastfeeding?
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So we’ve established that it’s safe to eat durian during pregnancy. But is it also recommended for breastfeeding mums?
Some breastfeeding mothers swear that by eating durian, they can boost milk flow and produce thicker and creamier milk – but there is no solid scientific research on this. A possible explanation could be the durian’s rich nutrient profile, including Vitamin C, Iron, Potassium, Carbohydrates, Dietary Fibre, Protein, and Calcium.
As breastfeeding mums can burn up to 500 calories daily, this additional source of nutrients may be quite beneficial. However, consume in moderation and if in doubt, remember to consult your health care provider. Do note that eating one small durian amounts to 885 calories already.
Does Durian Affect Libido?
Durian is believed in Javanese culture to be a potent aphrodisiac which can increase libido, although there is little scientific evidence to prove this.
So if parenthood has worn you down and you need encouragement to get in the mood, skip the chocolates or oysters and dine on some delicious durian instead. However, we recommend you brush your teeth before attempting to woo your partner on that special date night to eliminate the less-than-amorous durian breath!
Can Durian Help Fertility?
Women in some countries, such as India, believe that if they happily chow down on this unique fruit, they will boost their fertility and increase their chances of conceiving.
Some studies on mice have also shown that eating durian can help improve stamina and increase libido, although there is no further research on this. So if you’re trying to conceive or planning on having another addition to your family, it won’t hurt to add this bittersweet fruit to your shopping list.
How Does Durian Affect Your Energy Levels?
Durian contains Folic Acid and is high in fibre.
Waking up in the middle of the night for feedings or diaper changes is bound to make you feel exhausted and want to reach out for that large cup of coffee. But did you know that durians are a great source of energy thanks to their high potassium levels and are a good source of Vitamin C which can protect you from the common cold and help reduce stress and fatigue? How’s that for a caffeine-free pick-me-up?
How Does Durian Benefit the Pregnant Body?
Let’s go back to the topic of eating durian during pregnancy.
The less-than-glamorous part of being pregnant is the uncomfortable constipation many women face. Durian’s high-fibre content might help. A high-fibre diet will help absorb water and food in the digestive system, regulate your bowel movements, and treat any of your constipation woes.
Dieticians from The Dietetic & Food Services in Changi General Hospital Singapore comment that durians meet 92 per cent of the daily fibre requirement.
Eating durian during pregnancy can also help:
- improve digestion
- increase energy levels
- reduce pain and inflammation
- have better sleep quality
The fruit is rich in many nutrients, including:
- Vitamin A helps maintain healthy vision, skin, and mucous membranes.
- Vitamin C helps maintain healthy gums and bones. It also plays a role in helping the body absorb iron.
- Folate helps your blood cells grow and divide. It also helps prevent birth defects of the brain or spine (neural tube defects).
How Do I Get Rid of the Durian Smell?
After indulging in some durian, you are usually left with the strong smell of durian, which you might not want to transfer to someone else.
So to get rid of this tell-tale sign of your recent tasty treat, try the traditional method of filling some water into the empty durian shells, using your fingers to scrape the inside and then rinsing your hands and mouth with that water. There will be no more lingering Eau de Durian in just a few seconds!
Are There Any Cons to Eating Durian During Pregnancy?
When pregnant, you want to ensure that you’re eating the best possible diet. But what if your favourite food is durian? How much of it can you consume while pregnant?
Durian is a fruit with a strong odour and flavour. It’s been banned in some hotels and public places because of its strong smell. Even so, many people love durian and eat it all the time. But what are the side effects of consuming durian while pregnant? Will they affect your baby in any way?
Consuming durian during pregnancy is not considered harmful to the baby. However, it’s important to use common sense when eating durian or any food with strong smells or flavours during pregnancy. Eating too much at once could lead to indigestion or nausea, which may be uncomfortable for both mother and child.
If you are pregnant and love eating durian, try eating small amounts of this fruit every few days instead of large amounts all at once. This will help keep your body from becoming overwhelmed by its strong taste and odour.
What Are the Best Ways to Indulge Durian’s Cravings?
If you have a durian craving and want to try something new and exciting, many desserts and snacks use durian for a truly exotic treat. The modern twist of including this unique ingredient in desserts can be widely found in milkshakes blended with durian, crepes with an oozing durian centre, durian-flavoured ice cream, cakes with a distinct durian taste, and bite-sized durian-filled macarons.
So, ask your husband to take advantage of the current durian season and pick up a delicious treat or two for you!
Image Source: iStock
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
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