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Petai – the legend

January 21, 2008

Petai is believed to bring more health benefits

Yet another chain email that I received moons ago…..Up to you to believe this but I prefer jaring over petai if given an option between the two… Petai’s scientific name is Parkia speciosa but would anyone care? Petai (pic above) is a twisted cluster bean, yongchaak or stink bean and yes, has that stinky odour. The seeds of young petai are taken and bring to boil with water. Malays add in belacan or shrimp paste, ground chillies, onions and seasoning to cook it and taken with rice as sambal or side dish. Bon Appetit!


Little did you know …… after reading THIS, you’ll NEVER look at petai in the same way again!

Petai contains three natural sugars – sucrose, fructose and glucose. Combined with fibre, petai gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy. Research has proved that just two servings of petai provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder petai is the number one fruit with the world’s leading athletes. But energy isn’t the only way petai can help us keep fit. It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.  

Depression:   According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND among people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating petai. This is because petai contains tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into   serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS(premenstrual syndrome):  Forget the pills – eat petai! The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anaemia:   High in iron, petai can stimulate the production of haemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anaemia.

Blood Pressure:  This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the petai industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power :   200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school [di mana kan tu?] were helped through their exams this year by eating petai at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation:  High in fibre, including petai in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers:   One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a petai milkshake, sweetened with honey. The petai calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and hydrates your system.

Heartburn:  Petai has a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating petai for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on petai between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of the petai skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves:   Petai is high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight:  Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.    

Ulcers:   Petai is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control:Many other cultures see petai as a “cooling” fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Holland, for example, pregnant women eat petai [banarkah nie? Ada org putih pandai makan patai kan?] to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) :   Petai can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, tryptophan.

Smoking:  Petai can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.  

Stress:   Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body’s water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium petai snack.

Strokes:  According to research in “The New England Journal of Medicine, “eating petai as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%”.

Warts:   Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of petai and place it on the wart. Carefully hold the petai in place with a plaster or surgical tape!
So, as you can see, petai really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrates, three times the   phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change that well-known phrase so that we say,  “A Petai a day keeps the doctor away”.

PM Dr.Aminuddin AHK  
Dept.of Physiology
Medical faculty of UKM
Kuala Lumpur
[no email, otherwise I will contact this Dr directly to validate the authenticity of this chain email]  

10 Comments leave one →
  1. cPatai permalink
    January 22, 2008 11:27 am

    10q. My friendz used 2 joke abt me eating patai. Will slap em back now wif dis. 10q g.

  2. Ramble On permalink
    January 23, 2008 8:17 am

    Awww….Don’t give up on something that you strongly believe in. (Same goes for me).

  3. Kusjaman K permalink
    May 6, 2008 8:28 pm

    Are there side effects from taking petai regularly, except the smell?

    How do we eat petai to obtain its maximum benefit ? Hopefully not to eat it raw.

    Thank you

  4. Kusjaman K permalink
    May 6, 2008 8:44 pm

    Has there been any research on the effects of eating petai to the kidney ?. I heard that eating petai is good for the kidneys. Is it also good for people with subnormal kidney condition ?
    Thank you.

  5. Ramble On permalink
    May 7, 2008 11:03 am

    Kusjaman, as far as I know the side effect of petai is that it give bad breath and smelly stomach gases. Enthusiasts couldn’t care less for this side effect though for obvious reason. I am yet to find out what effect it has on kidney. As far as I know, petai contains amino acids and is diuretic, just like asparagus. I urge you (and others) to seek expert advise on this matter as whether petai (or asparagus) can treat kidney problems. Hope that helps and thanks for your comment.

  6. miranda permalink
    December 8, 2008 11:17 pm

    selamat petang … saya ini kenal Brunei baik baik, dulu saya tinggal selama beberapa tahun di Miri, Sarawak.
    Saya seorang putih (berhati Melayu) dan saya makan banyak petai. Saya benar benar suka. Tetapi cerita itu tentang perempuan yang hamil di negeri Belanda yang makan petai tak benar. Saya tinggal di negeri Belanda. Walau pun ada orang Belanda yang suka makan petai, mereka tak ramai. Terus terang saya fikir cerita itu sebuah gurau. Cerita yang asli ada lah tentang buah pisang.
    Oh ya, saya juga suka makan durian, belacan dan lain lain …

  7. Ramble On permalink
    December 12, 2008 6:17 pm

    selamat petang miranda. saya kira saudara masa ini sudah balik ke Belanda. Adakah kita merindui petai? :p Saya tidak mengetahui cerita tentang perempuan hamil di Belanda yang makan petai itu. Boleh ceritakan? Oh yeah, sekarang musim buah…durian, rambutan, langsat… dan belacan memang selalu ada sepanjang tahun…

  8. C.Lee permalink
    December 18, 2008 10:37 am

    Turns out this post is originally written for the banana. Someone just replaced banana with petai in the article. the original can be seen here: Someone must be trying to boost petai sales.

    • Ramble On permalink
      December 25, 2008 11:26 pm

      Yes you are right Lee. A banana a day keep the doctor away.


  1. Petai - the legend « Brunei Lifestyle | Brunei Today

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