Cantaloupe, also known as muskmelon, is a delicious sweet fruit which is one the most popular types of melon in the United States. Eating chunks of cantaloupe (muskmelon) can help to boost your immune system, keep your heart healthy, and protect your eyesight from age-related illnesses. Eating muskmelon is also a good for hydration and better digestion.
Eating cantaloupe is very good for you due to its rich nutritional content. Cantaloupe melons contain many vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are important for your health. Cantaloupe also contains many antioxidants and phytonutrients that help to keep you fit and healthy.
In this article, you will find out about the many health benefits of cantaloupe and why it is a healthy fruit to eat regularly.
What is Cantaloupe (Muskmelon)?
Cantaloupe melon is sometimes referred to as muskmelon, spanspek, rockmelon, or sweet melon.
Sweet melon such as cantaloupe is a member of the Cucumis melo species and can weigh between 1 to 11 lb. (0.5 to 5 kg). Cantaloupe is a round-shaped melon that has a thick, rough, scaly skin that looks yellow or tan.
Muskmelons have a sweet juicy flesh that is full of vitamins and nutrients. One of the distinct features of the cantaloupe (muskmelon) is the vibrant orange or yellow flesh. The reason why the flesh of cantaloupe is orange is due to the antioxidant beta-carotene.
As with most melons, cantaloupes thrive in warm climates and generally ripen in the middle of summer. Cantaloupes grow in the United States, China, Turkey, the Middle East, and India.
Is Cantaloupe Good for You?
There are many benefits of eating cantaloupe melons. Apart from being a delicious sweet treat in the summertime, muskmelons are full of nutrients.
For example, muskmelons are rich in vitamin A and C which mean that they are good for your immunity, eyesight, and healthy skin.
Also, a cup of cantaloupe melon cubes contains about 6% of your daily fiber needs. This means that as well as promoting healthy digestion, cantaloupe benefits your heart and cardiovascular health.
Many of the health benefits of cantaloupes come from their high levels of antioxidants. Apart from vitamin C, orange-fleshed cantaloupe also contains beta-carotene. This antioxidant turns into vitamin A in the body and is needed for good skin, eyesight, and your immune system.
Muskmelon (Cantaloupe) Nutrition
The nutrition facts for cantaloupe reveal just why this juicy sweet melon has many health benefits.
Let’s look in more detail at the nutritional value of cantaloupe.
Calories in cantaloupe (muskmelon)
According to information provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one cup of cantaloupe chunks (160 g) contains just 54 calories. Because the majority of the weight of cantaloupe is water, this serving of melon keeps you well hydrated.
Even if you ate a whole medium-sized cantaloupe, you would only consume 188 calories! So, cantaloupe is certainly not a fattening fruit.
Most of the calories in cantaloupe come from sugar, and a cup of muskmelon chunks contains 12.6 g of sugar. Most of the sugar is in the form of sucrose.
Carbs in cantaloupe (muskmelon)
Melons such as cantaloupe are good if you are watching your carb intake. A one-cup serving of cantaloupe contains 14 g of carbs. However, from this, you get 1.4 g of fiber which helps to slow down the rate at which your body breaks down the sugars in cantaloupe.
The fact that muskmelon has a low carb count, plenty of fiber, and natural sugars means that it is a great snack on a weight-loss diet or if you suffer from diabetes.
Other nutritional benefits of cantaloupe (muskmelon)
What else about cantaloupe melons makes this summer fruit so healthy?
Eating a cup of diced or sliced cantaloupe gives you all of your recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamins A and C. One serving of cantaloupe contains 5,412 IU of vitamin A (108% RDI) and 58.7 of vitamin C (98% RDI).
Muskmelon also contains trace amounts of vitamin K and B-group vitamins.
Some of the nutritional value of cantaloupe comes from its mineral content. Cantaloupe is a good source of potassium which is essential for good heart health. A 160-gram serving (one cup) of cantaloupe contains 427 mg of potassium (12% RDI). The same amount of melon also has some calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, and phosphorous.
Cantaloupe is good for you due to lots of antioxidants
Muskmelons such as cantaloupe and orange-fleshed honeydew melons are rich in antioxidants.
One of the important antioxidants in cantaloupe is beta-carotene. This converts into vitamin A in the body. Studies have shown that the amount of beta-carotene available in orange-fleshed melons is similar to that of carrots.
Research has also revealed that the best time to buy cantaloupe (muskmelons) for their health benefits is when they are ripe and plentiful. This is the time when levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and B-group vitamins are at their highest.
Cantaloupe Health Benefits
Let’s look in more detail at why cantaloupe fruit can benefit your health so much.
Cantaloupe Helps to Protect Your Vision
One of the benefits of eating muskmelon is that they contain vitamins that are essential for good eyesight.
Scientific research has shown that cantaloupe is among the fruits that help protect vision from macular degeneration. Cantaloupe contains 26 mcg lutein and zeaxanthin – carotenoids that help protect eyesight.
Researchers say that getting enough of these vitamins in your diet can prevent age-related blindness due to cataracts, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration.
Some studies have shown that consuming 3 or more servings of fruit a day can help to lower your risk of age-related vision problems.
One way to benefit from cantaloupe is by adding a cup of diced melon to your favorite smoothie. This is one of the ways to consume drinks that help to protect vision.
Cantaloupe Strengthens Your Immune System
Muskmelons contain many of the vitamins that you need to keep your immune system healthy and strong.
Eating 2 large wedges of cantaloupe (200 g) gives you more than enough vitamin C and vitamin A that you require every day.
Researchers have found that the immune-boosting effect of vitamin C can protect against a number of chronic diseases. Vitamin C helps improve cardiovascular health, reduce the effects of oxidative DNA damage, and protect against cancer.
Information published in the journal Nature Reviews Immunology found that vitamin A is important to regulate the immune response. Getting enough vitamin A and vitamin D helps the body produce enough white bloods cells to kill off infections and viruses. This also helps reduce inflammation and protects against autoimmune conditions.
Apart from eating melons to strengthen your immunity, you can find out the best supplements to take to ward off infection.
Cantaloupe is Good for Your Skin and Hair
The rich nutritional content in cantaloupe along with its high water content help keep your skin and hair healthy.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it needs plenty of nourishment from the right vitamins and minerals. Also, stress, illnesses, or lifestyle factors can cause nutrient deficiencies that affect your skin health.
One report found that vitamin A encourages healthy skin cell production and keeps your skin firm and healthy. Vitamin C helps collagen synthesis which keeps your skin elastic and helps prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
Antioxidants that are found in fruits such as cantaloupe help to protect the skin from the damage free radicals can do. Also, folic acid can help improve the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis.
Studies have shown that the same vitamins needed for healthy skin also benefit your hair. For example, vitamin A helps activate hair follicles and, along with vitamin C, helps increase the number of antioxidants in your scalp.
The fact that cantaloupe contains about 90% water means that it is a good fruit for hydration. Some studies show that drinking more water can help improve skin health, especially if a person doesn’t get enough fluids.
Find out what other proven nutrients you need for better skin and hair.
Eating Muskmelons Is Good For Heart Health
Because cantaloupe melons are rich in vitamin C and potassium, eating a few slices of muskmelon daily is good for your heart.
Various studies point to the fact that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can have a positive effect on your heart. People who enjoy plenty of fresh fruits such as cantaloupe, oranges, grapefruit, and apples have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Consuming plenty of green leafy vegetables is also important for your heart health.
If you want a tasty sweet treat that is good for your heart, you can add cantaloupe to the cardiac diet.
Cantaloupe is an Anti-Inflammatory Food
One of the benefits of fruits such as cantaloupe and melons is that they can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Avoiding foods that cause inflammation can help protect you against various chronic diseases. Studies have shown that many fresh fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals that lower inflammatory responses. Anti-inflammatory properties in various fresh fruits can help protect against heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
One study showed that extracts from cantaloupe melons have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
However, it seems that eating cantaloupe specifically to reduce inflammation is only useful as part of an anti-inflamanti-inflamatory diet. Some studies have shown that you would need to eat many, many melons to get its anti-inflammatory benefits.
Cantaloupe or Muskmelon is Great for Hydration
Because cantaloupe is 90% water, eating wedges of muskmelon during the summer is a great way to stay hydrated.
Eating muskmelon (cantaloupe) is also a good way to prevent dehydration as it contains important electrolytes. For example, a 3 medium cantaloupe wedges contain 550 mg of potassium (15% RDI), 33 mg sodium, 18.6 mg calcium (3% RDI), and 25 mg magnesium (6% RDI).
Electrolyte replacement through proper hydration is important if you lose fluids through sweating.
Learn more about the dangers of dehydration and why drinking coconut water is also a great way to replace lost fluids.
Cantaloupe or Muskmelon is Good for Your Digestion and Maintaining Proper Weight
Being high in water and fiber means that muskmelons promote good digestive health and keep your bowels working well.
Eating 2 large wedges of cantaloupe melon will give you 1.8 g of dietary fiber. This amounts to about 8% of your daily fiber needs. What’s more, you can eat plenty of slices of muskmelon without having to worry about putting on weight. A portion of 2 large wedges of cantaloupe only contains 70 calories.
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that water is also necessary for your digestive system to work properly. Fluids help the body break down food and absorb nutrients. Drinking plenty of water is also a good way to prevent constipation.
Helping to keep your digestion working properly is another great reason to eat muskmelons when they are in season.
Is Cantaloupe Good for Blood Pressure?
It would seem that cantaloupe melons have all the nutrients necessary for helping to lower blood pressure.
For example, cantaloupe is a good source of potassium and this has been linked to good blood pressure management.
It is also known that consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and minerals is a natural way to treat hypertension.
However, some studies have shown that cantaloupes may actually have the opposite effect on hypertension if eaten at a large amount. One study found that consuming higher cantaloupe intake could actually increase your risk of high blood pressure.
Although cantaloupe can be part of a healthy diet and has benefits to your cardiovascular health, if you have issues with high blood pressure, you may be advised to consume it in moderation.
Learn what to eat if you have high blood pressure and how you can lower blood pressure in a matter of minutes.
Is Cantaloupe a Good Food if You Have Diabetes?
According to doctors on WebMD, you can still eat fruits if you have type 2 diabetes, as they have a lot of nutrients that are good for your body. However, as with any foods containing carbs, it’s important to be mindful of the serving size, and pairing the fruit with some protein such as a few nuts.
Cantaloupe has a relatively high glycemic index of 65 compared to other fruits. However because it is mostly water, a standard serving of 120 gram contains very little carbs and calories, which results in a very low glycemic load of 4.
WebMD mentions portion size of 1/3 melon which contains 60 calories and 15 grams of carbs. This is slightly more than one cup of cubed melon. The American Diabetes associations mentions that servings for most fresh berries and melons are from ¾ – 1 cup.
Cantaloupe Risks and Precautions
There are many health benefits to consuming more cantaloupe when they are ripe and in season.
However, some people may show signs of an allergic reaction when consuming pieces of cantaloupe. Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic say that cantaloupe can make your throat itchy and tingly. In some cases, your tongue may even start to swell. The researchers recommend to avoid the consumption of cantaloupe in the late summer if you have a pollen allergy.
One of the risks of consuming cantaloupe and other types of melon is bacteria that can contaminate the skin. To avoid any health risk from consuming cantaloupe, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends selecting cantaloupe or muskmelons that don’t have any blemishes on the skin. You should also thoroughly wash and scrub the melon skin to remove any contaminants.
How to Select and Store Cantaloupe
The key to enjoying all the wonderful benefits of cantaloupe or muskmelons is to pick a ripe, sweet melon.
You should avoid buying any type of melon that shows signs of decay, damage, or brown patches on the skin. A ripe cantaloupe should have a tan, yellow, or cream-colored skin with a webbed pattern.
You may have noticed people selecting melons by tapping on the skin. You can check that a muskmelon or cantaloupe is ripe and juicy by knocking on the fruit and listening for a low, solid sound. If the sound is high and hollow, it is a good indication the melon isn’t ripe. A ripe cantaloupe should also have a fragrant, sweet smell.
The FDA recommends storing ripe cantaloupe or sliced cantaloupe in the refrigerator. This will help to keep the melon fresh and prevent it from becoming bad.
Researchers from the University of California say that you should scrub the skin of cantaloupe fruits before cutting them. It has been found that Salmonella, E. coli, or Listeria germs can contaminate melon skins. It is also to important wash your hands to prevent infecting the melon flesh with bacteria.
When you have found a ripe cantaloupe, you can cut it into wedges, or you can cut it into cubes or slices and enjoy the many benefits of cantaloupe as a tasty and healthy summery dessert.