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6 Health Benefits of Cantaloupe & 5 Recipe Ideas

Cantaloupe has been a popular melon in the Western world since the 15th century, but its history dates back to Ancient Egypt. In this article we’ll share some of these, as well as all of the goodness you can hope to gain from adding cantaloupe to your diet.

Cantaloupe melons are considered a superfood, because they’re both low in calories and high in nutrients. Roughly 90 percent of the melon is water, making them a delicious treat that tastes good, but is hydrating and good for you as well.

It’s long been loved for its sweet, juicy flavors. But did you know that cantaloupe also offers a range of health benefits? These smaller melons are full of nutrients and both the fruits and even the seeds are great for your body and mind.

Interesting Facts about Cantaloupe

Interesting Facts about Cantaloupe

These vibrant fruits are more than just regular melons. There are plenty of interesting facts about them. For example, cantaloupe do not ripen any further once they’ve been picked from their vines.

Their name comes from the Italian region of Cantus or Cantalupo. The fruit was first introduced there from distant Armenia, and the name came about some time in the 1700s.

Other names include muskmelon, Persian melon, rock melon, or mush melon. It was probably called by one of these before it gained its modern name.

Cantaloupe is considered the healthiest type of melon, as it contains more vitamins than other varieties.

Origin and Where Cantaloupe Comes From

Origin and Where Cantaloupe Comes From

The cantaloupe melon likely originated somewhere in India or the Middle East. Ancient Romans and Egyptians were known to have cultivated cantaloupes.

In the 1400s it was introduced to Europe, where it quickly gained popularity due to being very sweet.

California produces most of the USA’s cantaloupe melons, though Arizona, Georgia, Colorado, and Indiana also grow them.

Season of Cantaloupe

Season of Cantaloupe

You can buy cantaloupe melons from the supermarket all year, but technically their peak season is between June and October. That’s when you can buy the tastiest, juiciest melons, and when they’re also at their cheapest.

What Cantaloupes Taste Like

What Cantaloupes Taste Like

Ripe cantaloupe melons are juicy and sweet.

They’ve got some bite but also a satisfying softness that virtually melts in your mouth. Cantaloupe should never be bitter or sour.

If you eat an unripe cantaloupe, it’ll lack flavor and be overly crunchy or hard, while an overripe melon may be mealy or mushy.

Nutritional Facts, Calories and Protein of Cantaloupes

Nutritional Facts, Calories and Protein of Cantaloupes

Cantaloupe melons are incredibly good for you.

They’re filled with beneficial nutrients, including beta-carotene (which is converted into vitamin A), B vitamins including folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, zinc, calcium, potassium, iron, copper, choline, and niacin.

They also contain key antioxidants including plant polyphenols, amino acids (including brain-healthy GABA), and some dietary fiber.

A cup of diced cantaloupe contains around 53 calories. By comparison, honeydew melon would have 61 calories, and watermelon 46.

Health Benefits of Eating Cantaloupe: Why It Is So Good for You

Health Benefits of Eating Cantaloupe: Why It Is So Good for You

As you can see, cantaloupe melons are full of helpful nutrients. They’re the healthiest melons you can enjoy. Here are some of the key benefits you’ll gain when adding 1-2 cups of cantaloupe to your daily diet – besides them being delicious, that is.

Fruit and Seeds May Reduce Blood Pressure

Fruit and Seeds May Reduce Blood Pressure

The vitamin C, potassium, and fiber present in cantaloupe melons are great for your heart.

Potassium is known to help lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for developing heart disease.

Dietary fiber intake, meanwhile, can lower levels of bad cholesterol and significantly reduce health issues linked with hypertension.

Could Regulate Bowel Movements

Could Regulate Bowel Movements

Both the fruit and seeds of cantaloupe may help at making your bowel movements more regular, too. This is because cantaloupe are chock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, water, and fiber.

These are all good when it comes to improving your digestive health and ensuring your body absorbs the nutrients it needs.

May Help with Weight Loss

May Help with Weight Loss

Cantaloupe melons contain a large amount of water (90%) while not having a lot of calories. This paired with their dietary fiber content makes them an ideal diet food.

They’re good when it comes to making you feel less hungry and more full, without adding too many calories to your daily diet.

They’re also full of healthy nutrients, so your body will feel nourished.

Could Relieve Anxiety and Increase Relaxation

Could Relieve Anxiety and Increase Relaxation

This is perhaps the most surprising health benefit of cantaloupe. The high amount of potassium in the melon can help balance your heartbeat and increase the amount of oxygen your body takes into the brain. The combined effect of this is a feeling of relaxation and easing of anxiety-related symptoms.

May Increase Skin Health and Offer Anti-Aging Properties

May Increase Skin Health and Offer Anti-Aging Properties

Vitamins K and E in cantaloupe can increase the radiance of your skin and help keep it healthy.

B vitamins help with collage production and maintain plump, firm skin.

Meanwhile, the high content of water is a great hydrator. So adding cantaloupe to your diet will give your skin some all-round nourishment for your skin from within.

A Great Snack Food for Children

A Great Snack Food for Children

Because cantaloupe is so sweet, it makes for a great snack for kids, too. It’s full of beneficial nutrients and water, keeping children hydrated and nourished.

Add cantaloupe melon to summer snacks and healthy kids’ drinks – you don’t even need to add any sugar. Or follow our recipe suggestions below for some kid friendly iced treats.

Potential Risks of Cantaloupe

Potential Risks of Cantaloupe

Every healthy superfood also comes with a range of risks. This is simply because anything that can make a positive change in your body can also cause adverse reactions.

With that said, cantaloupe seems to be something of an exception and we were only able to track down one potential risk factor.

Bacteria Can Grow on Pre-Sliced Cantaloupes

Bacteria Can Grow on Pre-Sliced Cantaloupes

Sliced cantaloupe should ideally be consumed straight away. The textured outer skin of cantaloupe may trap harmful bacteria caused by a variety of factors, including irrigation water, storms, harvesting, packing, storage, and more.

There have been salmonella and listeria outbreaks linked to cantaloupe melons, which have the potential to be dangerous.

However, washing the outer skin of your cantaloupe with hot water and ideally scrubbing it before cutting will greatly diminish risks. You should also not keep pre-sliced pieces uncovered or for longer than 3 days.

Is Cantaloupe in Pregnancy Good For You?

Is Cantaloupe in Pregnancy Good For You?

Cantaloupe makes an ideal snack food during pregnancy. They’ll curb cravings for sweet food as well as being full of beneficial nutrients.

Cantaloupe contains plenty of folate and vitamin C, which are both important for the wellbeing of you and your growing baby or babies.

You’ll also likely know that having too much vitamin A is advised against in pregnancy. This is perfectly safe in the form of fruits and vegetables which are high in vitamin A or carotenoids.

Instead, you’ll want to avoid taking vitamin A supplements and eating liver or liver-based foods, which are exceptionally high in the vitamin.

Do beware that cantaloupe melon has been linked to both listeria and salmonella outbreaks in the past.

Always wash the outside of your fresh melon with hot water and ideally scrub it a little in the sink before cutting into it. Don’t keep slices in the fridge uncovered and eat them within three days. Avoid any recalled cantaloupe melons.

Can Dogs and Cats Have Cantaloupe?

Can Dogs and Cats Have Cantaloupe?

Yes, dogs and cats can theoretically have cantaloupe as a treat. It makes a healthier, diet-friendly alternative to regular store bought pet treats.

With that said, neither animal needs cantaloupe in their diet and cats are carnivores.

This means they don’t require any added fruit or veg and cantaloupe should only ever make for an occasional treat.

Delicious Recipe Ideas with Cantaloupes

Delicious Recipe Ideas with Cantaloupes

Cantaloupe melons make a refreshing treat on their own. They’re also fabulous when added to a variety of fruits and drinks though.

We couldn’t just settle on one or two recipe ideas, so here are five.

These are all delicious, healthy, and some are even a bit unusual. Go ahead and try them all.

Homemade Cantaloupe Sorbet

Homemade Cantaloupe Sorbet

If you think this sounds tricky to make, think again. There’s a very clever hack to making cantaloupe (or any type of melon) sorbet. The key is in cutting your cantaloupe into cubes, then freezing these on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Once frozen, add them to a blender with a splash of lemon juice and a bit of maple syrup or honey. Blend until smooth and enjoy.

Top tip: once the cantaloupe chunks are frozen, place them in a resealable plastic bag or container. That way you can enjoy quick, fresh sorbet any time.

Spicy Grilled Cantaloupe Slices

Spicy Grilled Cantaloupe Slices

This may sound a little bit counter-intuitive, but it’s delicious. Grilling the cantaloupe caramelizes some of its natural sugars, which makes for a mouthwatering BBQ-day treat.

Mix some honey with smoked paprika (add a touch of chili if you like it spicy), then brush onto slices of cantaloupe. Grill for around 5 to 7 minutes per side, and serve immediately.

Pickled Cantaloupe

Pickled Cantaloupe

Did you know that you can pickle cantaloupe? It’s delicious pickled in white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar, with some added salt, a touch of chili, and some basil.

You only need to allow the cantaloupe to pickle for around 2 days in the fridge before you can enjoy these as well, though the finished product will only stay fresh for around a week.

Add these to salad or appetizer recipes.

Prosciutto e Melone

Prosciutto e Melone

Prosciutto e Melone is a well-known and loved Italian appetizer. Best of all, it could really not be any simpler.

Start by cutting your cantaloupe into wedges and removing the hard skin from each wedge. Wrap each wedge with a thin slice of prosciutto di Parma.

You can further improve this appetizer by adding a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, some freshly ground black pepper, and some fresh basil leaves. But really, it’s delicious when you keep it simple, too.

Cantaloupe Frozen Yogurt Smoothie

Cantaloupe Frozen Yogurt Smoothie

If you want, you can make both this and the first recipe on our list at the same time.

Simply use some of your pre-frozen cantaloupe cubes and add them to a blender. Pour in some plain yogurt, a bit of mango, and a dash of pineapple or orange juice. Blend and serve straight away.

Top tip: for even more sweetness, add a bit of honey or maple syrup. For a bit of extra freshness, add some fresh mint.

Tips for Using Cantaloupes

Tips for Using Cantaloupes

These delicious, healthy fruits don’t need a lot of extra care. However, if you want to get the most out of them, you’ll want to follow our top tips below. Save these for easy access if you plan on making more beneficial cantaloupe-based recipes at home.

How to Store Cantaloupes

How to Store Cantaloupes

Cantaloupe will not continue to ripen at home, despite what tips you may read elsewhere. Refrigerate ripe, freshly-bought or picked cantaloupe instead.

A whole ripe cantaloupe will stay good for around five days, sometimes longer.

Already cut wedges should be covered, refrigerated, and used within a maximum of three days.

How to Cut a Cantaloupe

How to Cut a Cantaloupe

The easiest way to cut a cantaloupe is to halve it first. Turn each half to the flat, cut side. Half again and continue in a criss-cross fashion until you have 8 evenly-sized wedges.

You may now turn each wedge upside down and carefully slice from the thin to the broad edge along the skin, removing it in the process.

Always do this with the knife facing and slicing away from you.

How to Make Cantaloupe Juice

How to Make Cantaloupe Juice

The best way to make fresh cantaloupe juice is arguably to just chuck chunks with the skin removed into a blender.

You’ll want to chill the melon first and add a tiny bit of water (or pineapple juice) before blending.

You can use a juicer and juice pre-frozen chunks instead, but this does remove all healthy fiber.

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