The Health Benefits of Cantaloupe – General Information And Recipe

Health Benefits of Cantaloupe

A Cantaloupe Fruit Cut Open

Cantaloupe is a fruit from the Cucurbitaceae family that was originally native to regions of Africa, India, and Iran. In modern times however, the fruit is widely grown through Europe and the West coast of the United States, particularly in the state of California.

Cantaloupe is also known as a muskmelon and it is notable for its deliciously sweet flavor and it’s juicy texture when perfectly ripe. As a member of the melon family, it shares many similarities to watermelon — such as a high antioxidant content, along with plenty of phytonutrients. Due to its nutritional properties, cantaloupe is capable providing you with a wide range of fantastic health benefits.

The best part of cantaloupe is the large variety of ways that you can enjoy it to take advantage of all of the health benefits it provides. It’s a terrific breakfast option, goes wonderfully in fruit salads, makes fantastic smoothies, and it can even make a delightful sauce. No matter how you choose to enjoy eating cantaloupe, you can rest assured that it will be giving your body some incredible benefits.

So what exactly are the health benefits of cantaloupe? Let’s take a look at some of the absolute best benefits that cantaloupe can provide you.

The Top 12 Health Benefits of Cantaloupe

Like I mentioned above, as a member of the melon family of fruit, cantaloupe is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also an excellent source of electrolytes and dietary fiber. Thanks to all of this, cantaloupe offers all sorts of great health benefits, including helping to prevent certain diseases, improving your digestion, and even helping to improve your vision.

Here’s 12 of the most important health benefits of cantaloupe:

#1 Cantaloupe Is Packed Full of Essential Nutrients

Cantaloupe offers an incredible amount of nutritional value. A single one cup serving contains only 54 calories, with most of them coming from carbohydrates and natural sugars. It contains no fat, while also providing 1 gram of protein and 1.5 grams of dietary fiber.

Perhaps more importantly however, cantaloupe offers plenty of essential vitamins and minerals that your body requires. It provides your body with vitamins in the form of vitamins A, C, and K, along with calcium, potassium, niacin, thiamine, and magnesium. It’s also an excellent source of folic acid, making it an ideal healthy snacking option for pregnant women. [1]Nutritional facts courtesy of http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=17 and http://www.alternative-mama.com/5-fruits-to-eat-during-pregnancy/

#2 Cantaloupe Is An Excellent Source of Antioxidants

Cantaloupe is a source of several potent antioxidant flavonoids. It contains not only vitamin C, but beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and choline as well.

While cantaloupe may not have as high of a ORAC (acronym for oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a technique in which antioxidant activity is measured) as other well known antioxidant sources such as blueberries, there’s one key point to keep in mind — the amount of cantaloupe that is typically consumed is usually higher than other sorts of fruit, leading to an increased overall intake of antioxidants.

So what makes antioxidants so valuable? They help to protect your cells against oxidative damage caused by harmful molecules known as free radicals. Left unchecked, free radicals are believed to contribute to the development of several different types of disease. [2]https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/tc/antioxidants-topic-overview

The best sources of antioxidants are without a doubt fruits and vegetables, such as cantaloupe. They help defend your body to manage, and in some cases, even prevent a variety of medical ailments.

#3 Cantaloupe Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

As I noted above, cantaloupe contains the antioxidant choline, which also doubles as a potent anti-inflammatory phytonutrient. Not only does choline help to lower chronic inflammation in the body, but it can also help with the absorption of fat as well. [3]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20511332

In addition, since cantaloupe is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, it contains compounds known as cucurbitacins. These also possess anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce pain, swelling, and other symptoms associated with many inflammatory diseases. [4]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15124085

This could be perhaps be the most important health benefit of cantaloupe of all. The reason being is that there is mounting evidence to suggest that the source of the vast majority of chronic diseases is in fact inflammation. With this knowledge in mind, the importance of fending off inflammation within the body can’t be understated. [5]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3492709/

#4 Cantaloupe Helps Boosts the Immune System

The antioxidants and phytochemicals found in cantaloupe all work together to provide one hugely important benefit for your body — making sure that your immune system is strong and healthy.

This immune boosting benefit is largely thank to the high vitamin C content found in cantaloupe. Vitamin C is known to not only attack the harmful free radicals that we discussed above, but it’s also capable of stimulating white blood cell production. Your white blood cells then work to fend off viruses and bacteria. [6]https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=160&ContentID=35 and [7]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19263912

There’s a reason people say that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. It’s all because of vitamin C — but that saying doesn’t just have to extend to apples. A single serving of cantaloupe can provide around 60% of the recommended daily vitamin C intake.

#5 Cantaloupe Might Help Prevent Certain Types of Cancer

We’ve already gone over the fact that cantaloupe contains a variety of potent phytochemicals that help fight off the damage caused by harmful free radicals. Studies have found that high amounts of both vitamins A and C help to prevent cellular mutation from occurring. [8]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11884413

Researchers are now beginning to find definitive links between both inflammation and oxidative damage caused by free radicals and the role they play in the development of cancer. As the antioxidants found in cantaloupe are capable of fending off both of these bodily stressors, it makes the fruit an excellent food to include in your daily diet to help prevent cancer.

In fact, it’s generally recommended that you eat a diet that consists of plenty of fresh and organic fruits and vegetables on a daily basis as part of an all-around cancer prevention strategy. Be sure to include cantaloupe as part of your daily fruit serving!

#6 Cantaloupe Helps Protect Against Heart Disease

Another of the great benefits of cantaloupes anti-inflammatory properties is that it can help to protect against cardiovascular ailments, including heart disease and stroke. Many of the most conditions that lead into the development of heart disease, such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure, can actually be traced back to inflammation within the body and oxidative stress. [9]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11801260

The anti-inflammatory cucurbitacins, notably cucurbitacin B and cucurbitacin E found in cantaloupe can help to prevent heart disease from developing. In addition, the other antioxidant properties of the fruit such as the carotenoids help to protect against the oxidative stress, further reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. [10]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3651847/

#7 Cantaloupe Helps Improve Digestion

As with all members of the melon family, cantaloupe has quite a high water content, making it fantastic for keeping hydrated. The water content in cantaloupe helps to improve digestion by helping to transport nutrients throughout the body. [11]http://www.medicaldaily.com/health-benefits-drinking-water-digestive-system-fluid-balance-391799

On top of that, cantaloupe provides you with an adequate amount of dietary fiber. Many people these days don’t get enough fiber in their diets, especially if they don’t regularly eat fruits and veggies. I used to shy away from eating a lot of them myself, so I definitely know what a difference it can make first hand.

Dietary fiber is absolutely essential for the maintenance of good health. An optimal fiber intake improves your digestion by ensuring that your bowel movements remain regular, lowers your risk of developing hemorrhoids, lowers your cholesterol, and helps to keep your blood sugar stable. It also plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight. [12]https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983

#8 Cantaloupe May Help To Keep Blood Sugar Levels Stable

Cantaloupe may be able to provide benefits for individuals who suffer from type 2 diabetes due to the fact that some early research is suggesting that it may be linked to an improved insulin and blood sugar metabolism. [13]http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/48/2/219.short

While cantaloupe does indeed have a naturally high sugar content, which diabetics shy away from, if the early research is accurate it could be offset by this ability to improve insulin resistance. The studies were performed on diabetic animals, but the results found that cantaloupe not only helped maintain stable blood sugar levels, preventing the sudden spikes usually associated with sugars entering the bloodstream, but it was also found to reduce oxidative stress in the kidneys of the diabetic animals. [14]https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-cantaloupe.html#Controls_Diabetes

#9 Cantaloupe Can Help Treat Pain Caused By Arthritis

One of the best things about cantaloupe is how the health benefits all stack together. The powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of the fruit combine to provide nearly all of the benefits. This also extends into being an effective form of pain relief for arthritis symptoms.

The reason cantaloupe is so beneficial for arthritis is due to the carotenes it contains. Beta carotene and its sister carotenoid known as beta-cryptoxanthin may reduce the risk of disorders caused by inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis. [15]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16087992

In fact, these carotenes are so beneficial that researchers have found that individuals who ate diets high in these antioxidants were half as likely to develop inflammatory diseases compared with those who don’t. This makes cantaloupe great for not only helping to alleviate the pain caused by arthritis, but maybe even helping to prevent its development as well.

#10 Cantaloupe Helps Improve Your Eyesight

Cantaloupe provides numerous benefits when it comes to keeping your vision in tip-top shape. And surprise, surprise — yet again, most of the benefits come from the antioxidant content. The nutrients found in cantaloupe all work in synergy when it comes to improving your eyesight. The carotenoids, vitamins A and C, lutein, and zeaxanthin each provide some benefits for your vision.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are both found in many types of fruits and vegetables, but they also occur naturally in your eyes. Their job is to protect your eyes from harmful exposure caused by harmful waves, like UV light. Having high levels of both antioxidants has been linked to better vision, especially in situations with minimal lighting or glare. They are also capable of slowing the progression of pre-existing macular degeneration. [16]https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/lutein-zeaxanthin-vision

Vitamins A and C also both play an important role in maintaining your vision. Deficiencies in both vitamins has been linked to glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Unlike lutein and zeaxanthin, our bodies are unable to produce these vitamins naturally, so it’s important to include them in your diet wherever possible. [17]http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/vitamin_c.htm and [18]http://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/vitamin_a.htm

If eating a delicious cantaloupe can help to keep my eyes working properly, all the more reason to indulge!

#11 Cantaloupe Can Help Keep Your Skin Looking Healthy

Carotenoids don’t just have immense benefits when it comes to your internal health — they are also fantastic for keeping your skin looking youthful and healthy as well. Many varieties of orange colored foods, such as carrots, pumpkin, and cantaloupe are all excellent sources of carotenes.

Your skin tone is one of the first noticeable signs of your health. And it’s not just a myth — orange foods that contain beta-carotene can indeed actually give your skin a somewhat orange-tinted glow! [19]http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/can-eating-foods-betacarotene-improve-skin-glow-5433.html

Beyond just making your skin look healthier, the antioxidants in cantaloupes serve a much more useful benefit for your skin as well. They can help protect against UV damage not just in your eyes, but for your skin as well, helping to protect against skin cancer. Due to both their protective effects and appearance enhancing properties, carotenes are an effective nutrient to include as part of an overall anti-aging strategy. [20]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21366698

#12 Cantaloupe Can Help Reduce Stress & Anxiety

Many people are surprised to learn that both watermelon and cantaloupe have been commonly used for centuries as a natural remedy for both stress and anxiety. There’s a few different ways that it’s able to help achieve this.

The first is due to its potassium content. Potassium is able to relax blood vessels and reduce your blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of sodium in your body. And of course, since high blood pressure can act as a definite source of stress for your body, it’s only natural that lowering it will have a direct effect on your stress levels.

The vitamin content of cantaloupe is also great for lowering stress and anxiety. Cantaloupe contains trace amounts of vitamin B6, which are needed in order to manufacture neurotransmitters in your brain responsible for regulating your stress levels.

I have personally dealt with highly stressful situations in the past along with symptoms of anxiety. As a result, I know full well from first hand experience the importance of a healthy diet full of essential nutrients when it comes to overcoming stress. Cantaloupe is a terrific food to include in your diet to help manage your stress levels.

Conclusion

So what do you all think? If you don’t already regularly enjoy eating cantaloupe, has this list encouraged you to give it a try? I really hope that’s the case, especially when you see all of the health benefits that it’s capable of providing for you.

Please feel free to tell us what you think down in the comments below, and of course, share this information with your family and friends if you think they would find it helpful!

P.S. – As an added bonus for everyone, I wanted to share my favorite cantaloupe smoothie recipe. I originally found this over at genius kitchen.com, so all credit goes to them.

You will require:

  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ½ cup peeled, seeded, and cubed cantaloupe
  • ½ cup ice
  • Honey until desired sweetness

Place the juice, cantaloupe, and honey in a blender on high speed for 30 seconds, and then add ice and blend until smooth.

Enjoy!

References   [ + ]

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Heather Carson

Heather Carson

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