Properties and Benefits of Cantaloupe: A distinguished member of the Cucurbitaceae family, cantaloupe (Cucumis melo) is a sweet and fragrant orange-fleshed melon. Other denominations include: cantaloup, cantelope, sweet melon, Persian melon and muskmelon. Cantaloupes provide a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, notably vitamins A and C, and regular consumption can load the body with important nutrients and much-needed energy as well as contribute immensely to good vision and healthy eyes.
Cantaloupes have a firm, deep yellow or orange flesh. The skin varies according to variety from a grayish, green ribbed rind to a thinner, deep yellow rind with small patches of green. Most varieties have an incredibly fragrant, sweet and juicy flesh, while others can be just a bit too hard to swallow, and thus need to be washed down with some water. Regardless, cantaloupe consumption can provide a wide range of incredible health benefits.
Although the mechanisms are still unknown, eating fruits such as cantaloupe on a regular basis can lower the risks of developing metabolic syndrome, also known as (metabolic) syndrome X. Researchers evaluated the effects of fruit consumption on a few hundred women in Tehran, the capital of Iran (where, interesting enough, cantaloupes originated). The study concluded that the women who ate the highest amounts of fruit per day (more specifically, around 340 g) reported a significantly lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
The preferred fruit choices included cantaloupe, apples, grapes, watermelon and bananas. Moreover, researchers found that women who had consumed the highest amounts of fruit had healthier levels of the C-reactive protein (CRP) in their blood. The C-reactive protein is a indicator commonly used for inflammation screening. High C-reactive proteins have been linked with a number of life-threatening diseases such as cancer, liver failure and cardiovascular disease.
The phytochemicals found in cantaloupe, watermelons, grapes and other fruits are believed to have contributed to maintaining healthy CRP levels, thus contributing to a significantly lower risk of metabolic syndrome. Cantaloupes, in particular, have great anti-inflammatory properties. They contain two potent phytochemicals, cucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin E, both of which efficiently reduce inflammation.
In addition to this, cantaloupes are an incredibly rich source of vitamin A. Approximately 100 g of fresh cantaloupe contains about 112% of the RDI of vitamin A, as well as alpha and beta-carotene. Alpha-carotene and beta-carotene are vitamers of vitamin A, which means our body converts them into vitamin A.
Good to know: the beautiful, deep orange flesh of most cantaloupe varieties and orange fruit and vegetables in general is an indicator of carotenoids presence. Other similar compounds present in cantaloupes are lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which have antioxidant properties, protecting the retina from free radicals found in blue light waves.
Aside from ensuring a healthy vision and good eyesight, cantaloupes also help maintain healthy mucous membranes and support the immune function thanks to their high vitamin A content. Cantaloupes are also a great source of vitamin C, a potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Vitamin C supports the production of collagen, the main structural protein which keeps us looking young and fresh.
Moreover, cantaloupes provide small amounts of B vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron and zinc. Although 100 g of fresh cantaloupe provides a rather small mineral intake, it may still be enough to prevent potential mineral deficiencies. Maybe all the potassium your body needs today is that 6% and a serving of cantaloupe is just what you need to prevent an electrolyte imbalance.
Overall, cantaloupes are considered highly nutritious because they can supply the body with important antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, boasting amazing health benefits. Although researchers refuse to give much importance to this wonderful fruit, asserting that its nutritional value is of little interest, cantaloupe remains one of the healthiest foods in the world. And one of the most delicious.
A serving of fresh, juicy, fragrant cantaloupe can be the perfect ending to a delicious dinner or a very satiating sweet snack. Even children will adore it and because it has a high water content, cantaloupe is a great way to prevent dehydration, especially during summer. Everything nature offers us has a purpose and cantaloupe is no exception.