Here we are in the Northern hemisphere, rounding out the fall with some beautiful squash and melon harvests. No matter where you live, at least in the western countries, you are likely to be able to get your hands on some cantaloupe and you should. Cantaloupe is a delicious and nutritious melon you can’t afford to miss. This often over-looked orange melon is full of amazing nutrients that can serve any body well.
Touch the top end of the melon to find the gentle soft spot indicating your melon is nice and ripe. Move the textured flesh toward your nose and smell the sweet aroma that arises from a perfectly edible melon. Slicing the melon in half you find the middle full of seeds which are often discarded, but wait! These seeds are nutritious. Did you know they contain omega-3 fatty acids – alpha linolenic acid like fish oil and chia seeds? Alpha linolenic acids are important because your body can turn them into the all essential DHA and EPA’s which not only contribute to a healthy brain, but help ward off arthritis inflammation and help prevent a myriad of chronic diseases. Not to mention, these essential fatty acids assist the body in the uptake of so many other important nutrients such as Vitamin D and calcium.
Once you get past the soupy seed mixture and have found a way to gently dry, roast or just eat those tender seeds raw, it’s time to move onto the sweet orange flesh. With over 100% of the RDA of Vitamin A as well as Vitamin C, cantaloupe is full of carotenoids – beta and alpha-carotene. This means cantaloupe also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are derivatives of the carotenes. Both of these are extremely beneficial in eye health.
A recent study shows that cantaloupe, because of its high Vitamin A content, can be beneficial to the lungs of smokers or those exposed to second-hand smoke. Apparently, some of the toxins in cigarette smoke cause a Vitamin A deficiency in the lungs which cantaloupe helps to counteract. Potassium is another nutrient sapped by smokers which cantaloupe contains in high amounts.
Potassium, being another amazing property of this deliciously sweet cousin to the honeydew, assists all the organs in running smoothly – especially the heart and kidneys. With as much potassium as a medium size banana, cantaloupe possesses a beautifully healthy quantity of one of the nutrients most critical for life. By increasing oxygen to the brain and regulating the heart rate, the potassium in cantaloupe can help to reduce stress in the body. These benefits are emphasized by a moderate dose of B Vitamins also found in cantaloupe.
One of the best known studies on cantaloupe shows its effectiveness in helping metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is characterized by numerous symptoms such as high blood fats, sugars and pressure as well as excessive body fat. Large amounts of inflammation and oxidation occurs in one struggling with metabolic syndrome and cantaloupe helps with its high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cantaloupes are related to a long list of other foods in the cucurbit family such as pumpkins, squash, zucchini and gourds as well as watermelon and honeydew. It is thought that cantaloupes originated from Africa, though it could be they find their origins in Asian countries such as China and India. It is still popular around the world, especially in the Middle East, South America and Asia to dry the seeds of the cantaloupe to snack on, often mixed with other fruits or nuts.
Whether you are riddled with health conditions, simply want beautiful skin and strong eyes or just love to enjoy a great piece of fruit, look no further than the delectable cantaloupe. This beautiful melon is worth taking home and making a regular part of your fruit intake. It may look like just another pretty face but cantaloupe is a melon you can’t afford to miss. Scoop it out, blend it up or freeze it for a delicious treat any time of the year.
Written by: Stasia Bliss