Health benefits of cantaloupe
Wonderfully delicious with rich flavor, muskmelons are very low in calories (100 g fruit has just 34 calories) and fats; but rich in numerous health promoting poly-phenolic plant derived substances, vitamins and minerals that are required for optimum health.
The fruit is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (provides about 112% of recommended daily levels) one of the highest among fruits. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
It is also rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin. These antioxidants have the ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen free radicals and hence; offer protection against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid, selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea in the eye where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions; thus it protects eyes from "Age related macular degeneration" (ARMD) disease in the elderly.
It is a good source of potassium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids and helps control heart rate and blood pressure; thus offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
The fruit also contain good amounts of B-complex vitamins, such as niacin, pantothenic acid and vitamin C and minerals like manganese. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen free radicals. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Commercially, muskmelons are being used to extract an enzyme known as superoxide dismutase (SOD) which is essential for maintaining strong antioxidant defenses in the human body.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.19 g||<1%|
|Dietary Fiber||0.9 g||2.25%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.105 mg||2%|
|Vitamin A||3382 IU||112%|
|Vitamin C||36.7 mg||61%|
|Vitamin E||0.05 mg||0.5%|
|Vitamin K||2.5 mcg||2%|
Selection and storage
Cantaloupes best grow during the summer months. In the store, try to buy organically grown muskmelons since they are richer in taste as well as in nutrients.
Oftentimes, it is difficult to judge ripeness and taste without checking the wedge section of the melon. Look for one that feel heavy for its size with a rind that is clean, and is neither overly shiny nor overly dull, without any cuts or bruises on the surface that might have occurred while transporting the fruit.
Cantaloupes emanates rich, sweet, musky aroma that can be appreciated from a distance.
At home, place them in cool, well-ventilated place. Cut sections, however, should be kept in the refrigerator.
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