At first the health benefits of cantaloupe may not seem as many as with other fruits. Coming in at a low 54 calories per cup, it provides 78% of vitamin C. Cantaloupes are “in-season” June – August.
Cantaloupes are members of the cucurbit family of plants (Cucurbitaceae). The cucurbit family of plants includes cucumbers, pumpkins, squashes, gourds as well as a long list of melons. Melons in the same plant family with cantaloupe include watermelon and honeydew melon, along with crenshaw, casaba, Persian, and canary melon. Many of the members of the cucurbit plant family easily cross-pollinate which results in many different hybrid melons in the marketplace that combine features of true cantaloupe with features of these other melons.
Health Benefits of Cantaloupe – Nutrient Diversity
Nutrient diversity is probably the most overlooked when discussing the health benefits of cantaloupe. Cantaloupes contain good potassium levels, and moderate levels for some of the B vitamins (B1, B3, B6, and folate) as well as vitamin K, magnesium, and fiber. When the edible seeds of the cantaloupe are eaten, an added benefit is a measurable amount of omega-3 fat in the form of alpha-linolenic acid.
The cantaloupe contains more beta-carotene than alpha-carotene. But because it contains both, it also contains both of their derivatives, including lutein in the case of alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin in the case of beta-carotene. These carotenoid phytonutrients are joined by the flavonoid luteolin, antioxidant organic acids including ferulic and caffeic acid, and anti-inflammatory cucurbitacins, including cucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin E.
Health Benefits of Cantaloupe – Metabolic Syndrome
Another fascinating aspect of cantaloupes is that it has been found to lower the risk of metabolic syndrome. In a study involving hundreds of women living and teaching in Tehran, Iran, the lowest risk of metabolic syndrome was found to occur in women who ate the greatest amount of fruit. (“greatest amount” means a minimum of 12 ounces per day – for this particular study) The five fruits that contributed most to total fruit intake were: apples, grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, and bananas. Women who consumed the largest amounts of these fruits were also found to have the healthiest levels of C-reactive protein in their bloodstream. C-reactive protein is an indicator used to assess levels of inflammation. It’s very possible that the anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in cantaloupe and the other fruits contributed not only to these participants’ healthy levels of CRP but also to their decreased risk of metabolic syndrome.
Health Benefits of Cantaloupe – Superoxide Dismutase
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an enzyme that helps manage your body’s levels of superoxide by converting superoxide to hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide is then neutralized by the enzyme catalase. The cantaloupe extract oxykine has been found to be rich in superoxide dismutase. SOD is one of the body’s primary internal anti-oxidant defenses. Studies have proven that cantaloupe SOD extract promotes cellular antioxidant activity and protects against oxidative stress-induced cell death. Superoxide Dismutase plays a critical role in reducing the oxidative stress implicated in atherosclerosis and other serious diseases. Studies have shown that SOD can play a critical role in reducing internal inflammation and lessening pain associated with conditions such as arthritis.
- good source of vitamin A
- lowers risk of metabolic syndrome
- promotes lung health
- supports cardiovascular health
- rich in potassium
- helps prevent stress
- strengthens immune system
- cantaloupe extract is rich in superoxide dismutase (SOD)
- protects against oxidative stress-induced cell death
- low in calories
- good source of fiber
- supports healthy vision
- rich in manganese & B-complex
- helps maintain healthy mucus membranes & skin
- high in vitamin C
- lowers risk of cataracts
- helps menstruation issues
- reduces water retention
Healthy Cantaloupe Salad Recipe
Use organic ingredients | Yield: 6 servings
1 lrg cantaloupe, peeled
1 Tbls orange juice
3 Tbls raw honey
1 C halved red seedless grapes
3 kiwifruit, peeled, quartered and sliced
Cut six rings, about ½ in. wide, from the center section of the cantaloupe. Remove seeds & set rings aside.Cube the remaining cantaloupe. In a bowl, combine orange juice & raw honey. Add grapes, kiwi & cubed cantaloupe; stir gently to coat. Place cantaloupe rings on lettuce; top with fruit and sprinkle with coconut.
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