Eating some cantaloupe daily is sure to improve anyone’s health. These fruits, also known as muskmelons, are quite popular in the Uantioxidant-fruits.comted States, where it’s easy to find them in any local grocery store. Because they are so commonplace, some people tend to pass right by them without a second thought. If you’re looking to add some nutrition to your diet, cantaloupe is a great fruit to go with. Increasing your intake of them is a way for you to involve eating healthy food that tastes good. They have a rich taste and incredibly pleasant aroma that makes them hard to resist, even for those who don’t particularly enjoy fruits in general.
An Overview of Cantaloupes
Cantaloupes are typically grown in tropical climates, although we have now developed technology to grow them in temperate areas. This is great for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere.
Cantaloupes are from the same family that’s also known to include the casaba and honeydew melons, the classic watermelon, squash, cucumbers and the much beloved pumpkins. This family is called Cucurbitaceae and plants from this family are annual, which means they complete their life cycle in a single growing season.
How Can You Best Enjoy Cantaloupes?
Cantaloupes can be eaten raw or in salads or desserts. Some people like to combine cantaloupes with ice cream to make a special treat that’s hard to turn down. No matter how you like to eat your cantaloupe, the important thing is that you get it’s wonderful nutrients into your body! Luckily, there are cantaloupe recipes that anyone can enjoy.
Cantaloupes truly are versatile, so you can always easily find ways to integrate them into your lifestyle.
- If you’re more adventuresome and like exploring new tastes, then it would be a terrific idea to include them in a salad. You can make a Mediterranean variety to give it a more savory and gourmet taste – include olives, onions and basil. Or you can make a fresh and crunchy cantaloupe salad by adding walnuts, celery and red grapes.
- You can just as well include cantaloupe in your morning muesli, by adding Greek-yogurt, rolled oats and whatever dried fruits you may prefer.
- If you’ve never thought about roasting a cantaloupe, now is a great time to start, since this fruit actually becomes sweeter when it’s roasted.
As you can see, this fruit is actually very easy to incorporate into your life, all you need is a bit of imagination and willingness to try new things. The cantaloupe is rich in antioxidants and a true powerhouse when it comes to the nutrients it contains, so be sure that however you choose to consume it, the cantaloupe will always bring you a world of health benefits.
Health Benefits of Cantaloupes
Cantaloupe health benefits are vast, varied, and hard to gain without supplementing with fruit consumption. If you are someone who lacks vitamin A, cantaloupe is a great way to avoid becoming deficient in this essential nutrient without risking taking too many vitamin pills and overdosing (which is a legitimate concern with this particular vitamin). Cantaloupes also contain a high concentration of beta-carotene, which aids in preventing the development of cancer and cells that damage an individual’s oxygen intake. This fruit is even reported to have more positive effects on your eyes than carrots, allowing you to effectively prevent problems like macular degeneration or cataracts.
As mentioned before, cantaloupes are extremely rich in antioxidants – the key ingredients to a healthy immune system and a good dose of energy. With every serving of cantaloupe you’ll also benefit from important antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and selenium cryptoxanthin. It’s important to remember that what makes antioxidants truly irreplaceable in the body is their ability to slow down the natural aging process at cellular level. An added bonus is that beta-carotene will be converted by your body into vitamin A and together with zeaxanthin will promote eye health.
Having said this, selenium is another one of the antioxidants that make the cantaloupe such a great fruit to begin with. Selenium is yet another great tool in fighting the oxidative stress that happens in the body if you’ve engaged in drinking, smoking and stressful activities for too long. Selenium is also proven to be an excellent aid in preventing degenerative cognitive conditions, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
In extension, cantaloupe may also play an important part in the lives of asthma patients. This is because oxidative stress will also impact the way that air flows to and from your lungs – the airways become inflamed and narrowed down, making it harder to breathe. To this end, integrating cantaloupe in your diet, as an asthma patient, may lead to a decrease in unpleasant symptoms.
What Are the Nutrients You can Find In Cantaloupes?
Cantaloupes are great fruits both in terms of taste and versatility, as well as health benefits and nutritional value. In today’s world, it’s more difficult than ever to pack in all the vitamins and nutrients we need for a healthy immune system and overall great functioning of the body. So let’s take a closer look at what the cantaloupe contains in terms of nutrients:
- Vitamin A
In addition to the vitamin A and beta-carotene in this fruit, cantaloupes contain vitamins C, B3 (commonly called niacin), and B6; potassium; folate; and dietary fiber.
Let’s look at each one of these nutrients and vitamins in greater depth and see how they actually contribute to your well-being:
- Vitamin B6 is an excellent way to kickstart your mood long-term, since it’s very effective in improving your mood and fighting off depression and anxiety. It’s also great in treating anemia and will promote overall mental health.
- Vitamin A is an efficient nutrient in preventing unpleasant eye health issues, as well as boosting your immune system.
- Potassium is a powerful mineral that will help your body better regulate its fluid levels, will help with muscle contraction and nerve signals.
- Vitamin K is the mineral that supports proper blood clotting and regulates blood calcium levels.
- Vitamin C is one of the most important vitamins we can get for our well-being, since it’s at the core of all processes that concern body tissues – this vitamin supports their growth and repair. Vitamin C is also responsible for forming collagen, healing wounds and supporting the normal functioning of the bones and cartilages in your body.
- Magnesium, just like vitamin B6, is great in staving off depression and it often is paired with this vitamin for optimal results. It’s also great in lowering blood pressure, while also reducing insulin resistance.Iron is what keeps your energy levels at an optimum rate, while also ensuring the smooth functioning of your gastrointestinal processes. Iron is also a key factor in regulating your body temperature.
- Dietary fiber is responsible for lowering your bad cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Additionally, fiber has this impressive quality to it that it helps your digestive system function more smoothly – your bowel movements will be improved and you’ll also have a feeling of satiety whenever you increase your dietary fiber intake. This will prevent you from jumping into unpleasant midnight snacking, which is always a plus.
These are nutrients that unfortunately, we often do not get from our regular diet. It is important that we find ways to consume them, and eating some muskmelon is certainly more pleasant than having to take a large amount of supplement pills each day.
Scientists have found that the consumption of cantaloupes can reduce sickness, which is a concern even for people who are typically healthy. There’s nothing wrong with working all year round to maintain the proper functioning of your immune system, and it doesn’t hurt to try to strengthen it!
Because cantaloupes are fiber rich fruits, they help to keep your bowel movements regular so that you can avoid having to take laxatives. They also better the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates while increasing the stability of your sugar levels by lowering high blood sugar content.
What Other Health Benefits to Cantaloupes Have?
A lesser known fact is that cantaloupes can also be used externally, in order to improve the health of your skin and hair. The high levels of vitamins K and E are incredible in smoothing and leveling troublesome skin complexions. Vitamins C and A will give your skin cells a boost, which in turn will rejuvenate your skin.
When it comes to using cantaloupe directly on your skin, it’s important to test for yourself and see what your skin agrees with the most. You can either apply it directly on your skin as is or you can apply it in a combination with more ingredients, such as honey or bananas. It’s the same with choosing to include it as an ingredient in a hair mask. Depending on your hair type and it’s specific needs you can add ingredients that either bring in more moisture or that improves the shine factor.
How Do You Pick Cantaloupes?
Cantaloupes are great fruits all around, but if you’ve picked a bad one, you can say goodbye to the incredible taste and the nutrients powerhouse. This is why it’s really important to know all the key indicators pointing out to a perfectly ripe and ready-to-pick cantaloupe.
The first indicator you can look for is the weight factor – if when you pick it up, it feels heavier than you’d expected, then it’s fully ripe. Another great indicator is the smell of this fruit – it should smell sweet, just as it tastes. Also, if you press the skin of the fruit with your thumb and it feels rather soft, then you can be sure it’s ripe.
It’s also recommended that you take in consideration the visual aspect of the cantaloupe. As with any other fruit, the cantaloupe will have one color when it’s raw and a different one when it’s ripe. The color between the netting will change from green to a yellowish-gray.
And if you need another indicator to tell if your cantaloupe is ripe or not, it’s recommended that you also check the vine. If when you want to pick it up from the vine, it twists off quite easily, then it means your cantaloupe is right and ready to be eaten.
How Do You Keep Your Cantaloupes Fresh?
As delicious as cantaloupes are, they do require some special storing conditions if you want to make the most of these antioxidant fruits.
First of all, if you’ve bought a cantaloupe and you’ve noticed it’s still not at its ripest form, you can still leave it out on the counter for a couple of days until it gets nice and ready to be eaten. If you place it in a paper bag that’s closed up at the mouth, you can even accelerate the ripening process.
If you choose to postpone carving out your cantaloupe and refrigerate it instead, you can still expect it to be fresh for around 5 or 7 days. Of course this number will vary depending on how ripe your cantaloupe initially was and what the refrigeration temperature is.
However everything changes when you’ve already carved out your cantaloupe. It suddenly becomes more perishable and you will need to refrigerate as soon as possible. You can use cling film to wrap it up and put it inside the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. Just remember that it will last another 2-3 more days, at most.
There is not one person who won’t benefit from eating more cantaloupe because this fruit works to prevent problems in the first place. Who wants to get sick and then work on curing the illness rather than avoiding it altogether? Most of us would prefer to lead healthy lives. Eating some cantaloupe here and there is a convenient way to increase your nutrition.
It’s a versatile and accessible fruit that’s both easy to find and to incorporate into a healthier lifestyle. Enjoy it raw, in a salad or your morning muesli – regardless what you choose, be sure to enjoy everything the cantaloupe has to offer.