Cantaloupe is also called muskmelon, mush melon, rockmelon, and Persian melon and is a member of the plant family Cucurbitaceae. Like all other summer melons, cantaloupe is an excellent snack for barbecues and summer picnics. The high moisture content of this fruit helps us prevent dehydration and thus fight the heat. Its mild sweetness and juicy taste make it a perfect fruit, even for the most discerning taste.
About 90% of cantaloupe is water, so they do not contain many calories. However, they provide you with folic acid, niacin, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, and vitamins A, B6, C, and K. Cantaloupe contains only a small amount of protein and fat.
The USDA recommends that a healthy diet include 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit daily. According to the Harvard School of public health, cantaloupe has special health benefits due to its nutritional content.
The nutrient content of cantaloupe
The orange color of fresh cantaloupe provides a hint of its nutritional content. This is because the fruit contains β- Carotene, an orange pigment that can also be used as a source of vitamin A.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, each 1-cup serving of cantaloupe contains 5986 international units of vitamin A. That exceeds the entire recommended daily intake for adult men and women vitamin A.
Vitamin A in your body helps maintain the health of the tissues, bones, the retina’s function, the growth of skin cells, and a strong immune system. Regular consumption of cantaloupe helps to avoid symptoms related to vitamin A deficiency, including blindness and a weak immune system.
Eating fresh cantaloupe can also increase the intake of vitamin C or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is an antioxidant nutrient that protects your cells from oxidative damage.
Metabolic side effects can damage your DNA, proteins, and cell membranes. According to research by the Linus Pauling Institute, cantaloupe prevents this damage and has been shown to help fight diseases.
People who eat a diet rich in vitamin C have a reduced risk of various cancers, including esophageal cancer and colorectal cancer. Vitamin C can also help your body produce collagen, a protein necessary to maintain strong bones and skin.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute data, a cup of cantaloupe contains 65 mg of vitamin C, which provides 87% and 72% of the recommended daily intake for women and men, respectively.
Cantaloupe is also beneficial to health due to its potassium content. Potassium helps promote metabolism and activates enzymes responsible for breaking down carbohydrates into fuel for cells. It also helps electrochemical nerve impulses and muscle contraction and regulates blood pressure.
According to the Linus Pauling Institute research, eating 1 cup of cantaloupe can increase your potassium intake by 473 milligrams and provide 10% of your daily potassium requirement.
Is cantaloupe high in sugar and carbs
Carbohydrates are the source of your body’s energy. Cantaloupe contains 8% carbohydrates. A medium-sized cantaloupe contains 4.6 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 45 grams of carbohydrates, while a cup of cantaloupe pieces contains 1.3 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat, and 13 grams of carbohydrates.
Sugars are considered simple carbohydrates because they only contain one or two molecules joined together. Your body will quickly digest them.
Although you should limit added sugars, most healthy people do not need to limit the sugars naturally present in fruits and vegetables. These foods also provide necessary nutrients. A medium-sized cantaloupe contains 43.4 grams of sugar, and a cup of cantaloupe cubes contains 12.6 grams of sugar.
Starch is a complex carbohydrate because they consist of three or more sugar molecules held together. They take longer to digest because enzymes, including amylase, need to break the bonds between sugar molecules so your body can use this carbohydrate for energy. Cantaloupe does not provide a lot of starch.
Fiber is another complex carbohydrate. However, your body cannot produce the enzymes needed to break down fiber so that the fiber can pass through your digestive tract intact. Fiber helps keep the digestive system healthy.
Cantaloupe contains soluble fiber and insoluble fiber
Soluble fibers are located in plant cells and form a gel when mixed with water. This gel can slow stomach emptying and help lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It can also help you lose weight because it keeps your stomach full for longer. Cantaloupe contains 27% soluble fiber, so each cup of cantaloupe contains about 0.4 grams of soluble fiber.
Insoluble fibers form the cell wall of plants. Although it is insoluble in water, it combines with water to make your stool softer and more rounded, making it easier to pass.
Insoluble fiber can also speed up the passage of stool through the digestive tract and reduce the risk of constipation, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids. About 73% of the fiber in cantaloupe is insoluble fiber, so each cup contains about 1 gram of insoluble fiber.
Each medium-sized cantaloupe contains 5 grams of fiber, and each cup of cantaloupe cubes includes 1.4 grams of fiber, of which 27% is soluble fiber and 73% is insoluble fiber.
How to Increase fiber consumption
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are good sources of fiber. Fruits and vegetables that contain edible seeds and peels tend to include the most fiber because most of the fiber is concentrated in these areas.
Eat a salad before lunch or dinner, eat cantaloupe or other fruits as a snack or dessert, and add vegetables to sauces, soups, and sandwiches to increase fiber intake. Avoid refined grain products and eat 100% whole grain products. Adding more legumes to your diet will help you reach the recommended fiber intake.
Main benefits of eating cantaloupe
Beneficial for cardiovascular
Cantaloupe is rich in potassium. Eating this fruit can help control blood pressure and maintain a healthy heart. This fruit also contains a compound called adenosine, a blood thinner that is good for our heart health. Vitamin C in cantaloupe helps prevent arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and avoid heart attacks.
Helps prevent cancer
Cantaloupe in β- Carotene and vitamin C can effectively combat and eliminate free radicals. By removing free radicals in this way, this fruit helps us protect ourselves from the growth of cancerous tissues.
Good for eyes
The beta-carotene in cantaloupe also helps maintain healthy eyesight. These beta-carotenes are converted into vitamin A after being absorbed by our body. Studies have shown that regular consumption of cantaloupe can prevent the formation of cataracts in the elderly and help improve the vision of all age groups.
Prevents diabetic nephropathy
Cantaloupe extract helps prevent kidney diseases, such as diabetic nephropathy, which severely damages kidney cells. In addition, the glycemic index of cantaloupe is very low, so it is safe for people with diabetes and obese patients.
Helpful to the health of the lungs
Regularly eating cantaloupe can help our body replenish the loss of vitamin A caused by smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke. Clinical studies have found that this fruit mainly benefits long-term smokers because their smoking habits have severely damaged their lungs.
Cantaloupe contains unique compounds that can help us relieve nerves and calm anxiety. Therefore, regular consumption of cantaloupe helps treat sleep disorders because it helps relax our nervous system while sleeping.
In addition, cantaloupe is also known for its laxative properties. It is an excellent fruit that helps treat women’s menstrual problems. In the past, adult women often ate cantaloupe to induce menstruation in summer.
How to eat cantaloupe
Cantaloupe itself is a convenient and healthy snack, but it can complement the taste of a series of other meals and snacks. Try using mozzarella or Greek yogurt on cantaloupe. Both provide protein, which only cantaloupes lack.
Season with cantaloupe and Mexican pepper. Mix cantaloupe with onion, Mexican pepper, cucumber, and red sweet pepper to make a fresh and nutritious cold soup.