The Health Benefits Of Cantaloupe Explained
Remain cool, calm, and healthy with just one bowl of juicy cantaloupe. The wonders that stem from this glowing orange fruit are not only tasty, but benefit your health, digestion, vision, and skin. Whether in a fruit salad, sorbet, or simply plain, there are endless ways to reap the rewards of this wondrous fruit. Discover the juicy scoop on cantaloupe and how to achieve glowing results.
What Is Cantaloupe?
Cantaloupes are members of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae, whose fruits are packed with a plethora of benefits beyond their juicy flavor. With their water content around 90%, they deliver about half a cup of water per serving. This makes cantaloupe a great way to stay hydrated, and meet your daily fluid needs (on average 13 cups of fluids per day). Staying hydrated helps your digestion run smoothly, kidneys function properly and blood pressure remains stable.
For one serving of cantaloupe, which is 1 cup of cantaloupe balls, there are about 60 calories, made up mostly by carbohydrates (14.4 grams). The high water content combined with the presence of fiber (about 1.6 grams) makes cantaloupe effective in preventing constipation and maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Cantaloupe offers 1.5 grams of protein, so it’s not the best source of this nutrient.
Vitamins And Minerals Found In Cantaloupe
Before taking extra vitamin pills, enjoy a bowl of fresh cantaloupe – it might do the trick. Cantaloupes pack a punch when it comes to vitamins A and C, beta carotene, potassium, and folate. A juicy cure.
Cantaloupes are loaded with vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that can fight against cancer. Antioxidants offset free radicals, which can harm DNA in cells and lead to inflammation. Vitamin C is also involved in wound healing and forming collagen (the protein of connective tissue and the foundation of bones and teeth).
The beta carotene (red-orange pigment in plants and fruits) in cantaloupe is converted into vitamin A in the body, which plays a part in vision, protein synthesis, reproduction, and growth.
In a serving of cantaloupe (1 cup of scooped-out balls), there is about 10% of the recommended amount of potassium a person should have per day. Potassium plays a key role in balancing the fluid and electrolytes in our bodies and is involved in many processes, such as muscle contractions. As most people fail to meet their daily requirement of potassium, one serving of cantaloupe can be the fix. Even more, diets rich in potassium and low in sodium are linked with lower risks of hypertension. Keep your heart happy.
Folate, aka vitamin B9, is another key nutrient that’s infused within cantaloupe. As its claim to fame, folate is known for inhibiting neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida. It also plays a role in lowering the risk of some cancers when eaten in moderation. Be sure to ask your health care provider for the appropriate daily amount of folate intake that’s right for you.
Cantaloupe For Cancer Prevention Explained
Although cantaloupe isn’t a cure-all for cancer, it can play a role in helping to prevent it. Cantaloupe is packed with phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring chemicals from plants. These phytochemicals, specifically beta carotene and zeaxanthin, have powerful influences on our body’s systems in obstructing cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, phytochemicals are involved in inhibiting cancer progression, as they prevent substances from food and beverages from becoming carcinogens (cancer-causing), slow the progression rate of cancer cells and lower the kind of inflammation that enables cancer cell growth.
Specifically, it appears that certain compounds found in cantaloupes may prevent the progression of prostate cancer cells. Parts of the cantaloupe substances were isolated and placed on prostate cancer cells, and were found to impede their development. These substances function by cutting off cell growth and sometimes perform apoptosis (cell suicide).
Cantaloupe For Skin Care Explained
When looking to achieve a glowing complexion, go no further than the produce aisle. Sooth your body naturally with cantaloupe; it’s composed of substances that contribute to healthy, vibrant skin. Most facial moisturizers contain an ingredient called “stabilized retinol,” which is a form of vitamin A. This antioxidant repairs injured skin, moisturizes rough surfaces, and contributes to a radiant shine. Vitamin A also plays a role in influencing cells to act younger, healthier, and ultimately appear more youthful.
Vitamin A also plays a role in the formation of healthy collagen and elastin. These fibers are a part of the skin’s structural foundation, which basically holds your skin in place. As vitamin A promotes their production, the skin looks smooth, firm, and full of life.
In addition to the isolated nutrient of vitamin A found in skincare products, eating whole foods that contain this vitamin further enhances the effects. As vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, eating it with high (healthy) fatty foods will increase absorption. For example, having vitamin A in a meal with olive oil, nuts or avocados will allow it to perform optimally. Throw some melons into a summer salad, topped with fresh almonds.
Cantaloupe For Vision Explained
With cantaloupe, what you get is what you see. Beyond its bright orange appearance and refreshing flavor, cantaloupe has eye-opening benefits.
Cantaloupe contains the antioxidant zeaxanthin, which weaves out dangerous blue light rays. When faced with harmful, high energy blue wavelengths of light (from the sun or phone/tablet screens), zeaxanthin blocks the light from seeping into the retina. This lowers the risk of light-caused oxidative damage and macular degeneration (vision loss).
Packed with Vitamin A, cantaloupe further protects your eyes from the damaging impacts of free radicals. This lowers the risk for eye diseases, including cataracts, and improves night vision. Insightful.
Cantaloupe For Digestion Explained
When you’re feeling a little backed up, cantaloupe can be your natural laxative. Cantaloupe’s high water content allows your digestion to run smoothly, as it has both soluble and insoluble fibers. As opposed to other foods groups (like proteins, carbs, or fat), the body does not break down and absorb dietary fibers. Instead, these dietary fibers pass somewhat unharmed through your GI (gastrointestinal) tract. As these dietary fibers move along your system, they increase the size of your stool, soften it, and pass through without strain. Feel relieved.
In a broader sense, proper bowel movements contribute to an overall functioning digestive tract. This inhibits conditions like diverticulitis (inflamed pouches lining the intestines) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (a disorder that affects the large intestine) from developing.
Although a person’s individual fiber needs vary, the FDA recommends an average of 25 grams of fiber per day. With cantaloupes fiber content of 1.3 grams per 1 cup serving, it is naturally crafted with a substantial amount of fluid to work in tandem with a high level of fiber. Cantaloupe helps to ‘let it go.’
Can Cantaloupe Aid In Weight Loss?
When creating your meal plan, make sure cantaloupe makes its way to the top of the list. With its juicy texture and sweet flavor, it keeps the body hydrated and can aid in weight loss.
Cantaloupe’s high fluid content keeps you hydrated for hours while maintaining satiety. In just one cup of melon there is about 118 ml of fluid, which is the equivalent of about a half cup of water. As the average daily needs of fluid is 13 cups, you are on the path to meeting your daily fluid needs with just a single serving. Because fluid helps improve satiety, have a wedge or two before a meal to help maintain portion control and lower potential overeating.
As supported by research, diets high in fruits and vegetables helps to achieve weight loss and maintenance. Although many ‘dieters’ avoid fruit due to their high sugar content, cantaloupe defies this theory. The nutrition facts reflect cantaloupes low calorie (60) and carbohydrate (14.4 grams) contents, with a high level of fiber (1.3 grams). Empty calories are not as available to sneak in, once more low-calorie fruits and vegetables are incorporated into a diet. By default, you will consume less processed, high fatty foods. A sweet deal.
How To Pick the Right Cantaloupe
Selecting the perfect blend of a sweet, ripe melon takes skill. First, sort through the pile to find one with a golden beige color below the lighter-colored webbing, without green. Search for one that feels hard and a little heavy, with no mushy spots. Next, examine the stem end, as it should look round, smooth, and indented a bit. To determine if it’s ripe, place the melon close to your nose and await a sweet smell. Lastly, tap the melon with your fingers and discard if you hear a hollow sound.
If you jumped the gun and your melon isn’t ripe yet, leave it out on the counter for up to 3 days for further ripening. Before cutting the melon, make sure to wash the outside skin thoroughly, since harmful bacteria on the outside can seep inside when your knife cuts through. After removing the seeds and pulp from the center, you can slice into wedges or scoop out balls. Discard the peel, as it is inedible.
Experience the plethora of benefits cantaloupe has to offer, with just one piece of a refreshing wedge. Packed with fluid and fiber, cantaloupe serves as a ‘natural laxative’ and allows your digestion to run smoothly. Loaded with vitamins and minerals, cantaloupe affects your vision, digestion, skin, and long-term health. Cantaloupe can be enjoyed as a low-calorie snack with some nuts, diced into a fruit salad, or blended into sorbet, thanks to its significantly high water content. Get creative with how you choose to squeeze cantaloupe into your daily routine! Always remember, as beneficial as cantaloupe can be, be sure to have a variety of fruits and veggies, as each contributes its own unique benefits.