Popular with children and adults, this tasty melon is power-packed with nutrients that can benefit a person’s health. Making for a refreshing snack in the summer, the benefits of cantaloupe are numerous as it contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. A member of the Cucurbitaceae family, this fruit is also known as muskmelon, mush melon, and rockmelon.
The vitamins and minerals present in the fruit include vitamins A, B, C, folate, iron, selenium, and zinc. Cantaloupe’s most potent vitamins, A and C are significant in maintaining strong, healthy hair and youthful skin. Vitamin A, popularly known as retinol, is required for sebum production. It keeps our scalp and hair moisturized and healthy-looking.
Vitamin A fixes sun-damaged skin as well as repairs and stabilizes the collagen production of the skin. It takes part in the growth and maintenance of all tissues in the body, including those that build the skin and hair. It is also important in maintaining proper eye health, building RBCs and running an overall healthy immune system. Vitamin C helps build and maintain collagen, which provides structure to cells, skin, and hair and helps with iron absorption since iron deficiency is directly linked to hair loss. Vitamin C is also one of the primary requirements for a functioning immune system.
Among the many benefits of cantaloupe, a cup of fresh cantaloupe provides 65 mg of vitamin C which fulfils the recommended dosage of 65–75 mg of the vitamin that should be consumed by an adult per day. Vitamin C has been beneficial in treating asthma as well. Also, the high potassium content (around 473 mg) in the melon aids in decreasing blood pressure. The fibre, potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidant choline in the fruit altogether support heart health.
Beta-carotene is a type of carotenoid, the pigment that imparts fruits and vegetables their bright colours. It is primarily present in yellow and orange-coloured fruits such as the ripe cantaloupe. Once in the body after consumption, it gets either converted into vitamin A or acts as a powerful antioxidant to help prevent free radicals from attacking the body cells.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the fruit has more beta-carotene than apricots, oranges, peaches, or mangoes. Relish the benefits of cantaloupe as it contains almost the same amount of beta-carotene as carrots. Tocopherol is another antioxidant present in the melon that prevents cell damage caused by oxidative stress.
Eating this fruit is not only refreshing but its high-water content helps keep you hydrated. This works wonders especially during the hot summer months when people lose a lot of water by sweating. Other prominent benefits of cantaloupe are that the melon is high in potassium, an electrolyte that one loses due to excessive sweating, and includes many such electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, and calcium. This fruit is an excellent choice for boosting hydration. You can have it as a post-workout snack that will help you to recover and reduce muscle cramps or any kind of fatigue or soreness.
Along with very high water content, the fruit acts as food for gut bacteria and provides both soluble and insoluble fibre which work together for bowel health and help avoid constipation, promoting a healthy digestive tract. Although available all year round, this melon shines during the summer when it is really sweet and freshly available. To choose a ripe cantaloupe while purchasing, make sure it’s slightly heavy, smells sweet with a light yellow-orangish hue. Remember to use it within the initial 2-3 days for the best taste.
Various ways to enjoy the benefits of cantaloupe:
Have it as a standalone snack or make a mixed fruit salad with chunks of fresh ripe cantaloupe, pineapple, and mango. You can add thin slices of ripe cantaloupe to your lemonade, or iced tea. Make a cantaloupe smoothie with some greek yoghurt, frozen strawberries, and a natural sweetener or you can make a sorbet of the fruit with some lemon, honey, and water.
You can also relish the many benefits of cantaloupe by creating a fresh salsa, salad, or fruit kebabs with some honeydew melon, and strawberries, and a yoghurt dip alongside. Another delicious way to consume it would be by roasting the fruit. Roasting may seem like an odd suggestion but this brings out the melon’s natural sweetness. Here is a recipe for the same if you want to give it a try and enjoy the benefits of a cantaloupe!