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” from 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 as cantaloupe include watermelon, honeydew melon, and Crenshaw, casaba, Persian, and canary melon. Many of the cucurbit plant family members easily cross-pollinate, resulting 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 of 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 consumed, 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 other fruits contributed 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 enzyme catalase then neutralizes the hydrogen peroxide. The cantaloupe extract oxykine is 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 is critical in reducing the oxidative stress implicated in atherosclerosis and other serious diseases. Studies have shown that SOD can play a crucial role in reducing internal inflammation and lessening pain associated with conditions such as arthritis.
Other foods that contain SOD include barley grass, wheatgrass, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
More Health Benefits of Cantaloupe
- good source of vitamin A
- lowers the 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 the risk of cataracts
- helps menstruation issues
- reduces water retention
Healthy Cantaloupe Salad Recipe
Use organic ingredients | Yield: 6 servings
1 large 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.
References & Research
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†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Oasis Advanced Wellness/OAWHealth are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician of choice.