Happy Seeds of Wisdom Wednesday! We’re at the end of the season for cantaloupe, but we couldn’t miss the chance to highlight this nutrient rich fruit. Cantaloupe is known by many names – muskmelon, sweet melon, rockmelon, and more. It is said to have originated in parts of Africa, India and Iran, but has since become widely cultivated throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States – California being the largest producer of cantaloupe in the nation, growing at least half of the nation’s total yield. China produces around 25 billion pounds of melons per year - about half of the world’s total production of melons!
In the 1400-1500s, cantaloupe seeds from Armenia were planted in Italy. The small Italian town of Cantalupo became the namesake for this fruit. These melons are part of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with cucumbers, gourds, pumpkins, squashes, and other melons like honeydew and watermelon. Plants within this family can cross-pollinate quite easily, which has resulted in a lot of different melon hybrids.
Cantaloupes are notably high in vitamins A and beta-carotene, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B9, C and K, along with the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.
A one cup serving of cantaloupe offers an impressive 78% of the daily recommendation of vitamin C! Once again vitamin C, along with its companions beta-carotene, vitamin A and the phytochemicals present in cantaloupe, is a key player in maintaining proper immune function by fighting off free. Vitamin A is vital for white blood cell production and thus the subsequent protection against foreign substances in the bloodstream that white blood cells provide. Vitamin C, along with the beta-carotene cantaloupes contain, are helpful in preventing asthmatic symptoms as well.
Vitamin C also comes into play in the body by supporting eye health, reducing macular degeneration and cataracts.
Vitamin A is the next most notable nutrient in cantaloupes, making them a boon to the health of your skin and hair. They have more beta-carotene than most orange and yellow fruits, including apricots, grapefruit, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, peaches and tangerines. When compared to oranges cantaloupes can offer 30 times more beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is essential for healthy skin and hair, and is converted to vitamin A in the body, providing the body with the exact amount it needs. This vitamin A then benefits the skin and hair by stimulating cell growth and repair which also helps prevent premature aging. These qualities are why vitamin A is often in creams or salves as it helps to decrease redness and inflammation on the skin when used topically.
Phytochemicals are very anti-inflammatory, and cantaloupe has plenty of them to offer! Inflammation is decreased by phytochemicals thwarting oxidative stress and the damage that can have on our bones and joints. Avoiding arthritis and inflammation of your bones and joints can be helped along by consumption of these beneficial phytochemicals.
Potassium has often come up in our Seeds of Wisdom posts as it is known for being a vasodilator. This quality results in relaxed blood vessels and thus a reduction of blood pressure. Thanks to potassium, more oxygen and blood flow is directed to the brain, which can play a significant role in experiencing less symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Their rich potassium content, along with copious amounts of water make cantaloupes great for reloading electrolytes. Cantaloupes are 90% water, so they’re a very helpful fruit to eat to maintain proper hydration. Afterall, they say you shouldn’t just drink your water; you should eat your water. Making sure you’re consuming water dense produce will help hydrate your whole body, supporting your digestion, skin health, kidney function, and an optimal blood pressure.
Just like many of the other vegetables and fruits we’ve touched on, cantaloupes bear a lot of fiber, offering support to your whole digestive system and regular bowel movements. This fiber is also helpful in maintaining cardiovascular health and the optimal weight for your body.
Cantaloupe is often a sweet addition to your fruit salads or smoothies, but they also pair well with the savory and salty taste of prosciutto. Some might even roast cantaloupe to bring out its sweetness.
Cantaloupe seeds are also edible and delicious when dried or roasted. The seeds also offer a good amount of ALA omega-3 fatty acids! An added bonus of this nutrient diverse fruit!
Hopefully you got your cantaloupe fix while their season was in full swing. Good news is they’re usually available year-round but eating from local sources that provide what’s seasonally available is ideal if possible.
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- Healthline - 7 Nutritious Benefits of Eating Cantaloupe by Atli Arnarson
- Live Science - Cantaloupes: Health Benefits & Nutrition Factss by Jessie Szalay
- Organic Facts - 7 Important Benefits of Cantaloupe or Muskmelon by John Staughton
- The World's Healthiest Foods - Cantaloupe