What is Cantaloupe?
Cantaloupe, also known as muskmelon, is one of the most popular forms of melon in the United States. It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family and can grow anywhere from 500g to 5kg (1-10 pounds) heavy. The botanical name of muskmelon is Cucumis melo. The other names of this fruit include mush melon, rockmelon, sweet melon, and spanspek.
It is grown widely in California as well as throughout Europe, although the original source of cantaloupe was actually in Africa, Iran, and India. The North American variety is actually closely related to muskmelon, but it has adopted the European name of cantaloupe for all intents and purposes.
Cantaloupe is rich in many nutrients that provide various health benefits. It contains carbohydrates, protein, and water. Vitamins in cantaloupe include vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, vitamin C, and vitamin K. The mineral wealth of this fruit includes potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Consuming fruits and vegetables of all kinds is associated with a reduced risk of many lifestyle-related health conditions. Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods such as cantaloupe decreases the risk of obesity, overall mortality, diabetes, and heart disease while promoting a healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight.
It also strengthens the immune system, prevents arthritis, and aids in managing diabetes. These attributes are mainly due to the high levels of vitamins and minerals that are present in this popular melon.
100 grams of cantaloupe contains only 34 calories. It is, therefore, suitable for any weight loss diet.
Health Benefits of Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe is a great fruit, especially in summer as it helps keep you healthy.
The risks of developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is beta-carotene, found in yellow and orange fruits such as cantaloupe, pumpkin, carrots, and leafy greens, including spinach and kale. Vitamin C is another important nutrient that may protect against asthma and is found in abundance in cantaloupe, as well as citrus and tropical fruits.
Vitamin C, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids present in cantaloupes are beneficial for maintaining healthy eyes. They are associated with a reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and choline content in cantaloupe all support heart health. Consuming foods that are high in potassium can help to decrease blood pressure. Getting enough potassium is almost as important as reducing sodium intake for the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). Foods that are high in potassium include cantaloupe, pineapple, tomatoes, oranges, spinach, and bananas.
High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
Cantaloupe aids in the prevention of cancer and the eradication of free radicals, the harmful by-products of cell metabolism that lead to a number of dangerous conditions. Cantaloupe is a rich source of beta-carotene, an essential carotenoid that the body requires. It works as an antioxidant and lowers the risk of different types of cancers, and the phytochemicals present in fresh fruits like cantaloupes have also been linked to anti-tumor behavior.
The water content in cantaloupe makes it a great snack in summer as it prevents dehydration. This is a major reason why muskmelons are included as a snack food for summer picnics.
Choline is an essential and versatile nutrient that is present in cantaloupe; it aids the body in sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.
Skin & Hair Care
Cantaloupes contain dietary beta-carotene that ensures no overdose or vitamin A toxicity because the body only converts as much as it needs, unlike supplements; the rest remains as beta-carotene to fight diseases as antioxidants. The amount that turns into vitamin A enters the skin and stimulates the membrane of skin cells and increases growth and repair. This protects the skin membrane against harmful toxins that prematurely age the skin. Vitamin A cream is also used as a salve for irritation and redness on the skin, due to its naturally soothing qualities. Vitamin A is also good for sebum production, which helps keep the hair healthy and moisturized.
Early research shows that cantaloupe is connected with improved insulin metabolism. Which means a more stable fluctuation of blood sugar, preventing the dangerous spikes and plunges of blood sugar that all diabetics fear. It has also been shown to reduce oxidative stress on kidneys, which can further prevent a number of kidney-related diseases.
The phytochemicals in cantaloupes have anti-inflammatory qualities. This means that having a cantaloupe in your diet can help prevent oxidative stress on your joints and bones, thereby reducing inflammation. Chronic inflammation of these vital areas can lead to conditions like arthritis. So make sure to add plenty of cantaloupes to your diet if you’re feeling creaky around the joints!
Aids in Pregnancy
The folate content in cantaloupe is very helpful for pregnant women as it helps reduce birth defects. It can prevent neural tube defects and keep the baby healthy without delivering any side effects.
It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and for achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health. Be sure to wash and scrub the outside surface of a cantaloupe. Before cutting to decrease the risk of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella transferring to the flesh of the melon.
Beta-blockers, a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. High potassium foods such as cantaloupe should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers.
Consuming too much potassium can be harmful to those whose kidneys are not fully functional.
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