Cantaloupe melon makes a refreshing snack in the summer, and it contains nutrients that can benefit a person's health.
Popular with children and adults, cantaloupe can make a refreshing, healthful, and easy summer dessert, while their high water content helps prevent dehydration.
Other names for cantaloupe include muskmelon, mush melon, rock melon, and Persian melon. They are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, along with honeydew melons, watermelons, and cucumbers.
The water, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in cantaloupe can provide a variety of health benefits.
Antioxidants, for example, can help prevent cell damage that can lead to cancer and other health conditions.
During metabolism, the body produces unstable molecules called free radicals, which can collect in the body and damage cells. This damage is known as oxidative stress. Antioxidants help remove free radicals from the body and prevent oxidative stress.
Canteloupe contains a range of antioxidants, including:
It is worth noting that, while the nutrients in food are essential for maintaining a healthy body, scientific investigations into the effects of these nutrients often deal with supplements, rather than dietary sources, and the results may be somewhat different.
Find out which other foods are good sources of antioxidants.
Age-related macular degeneration
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two similar antioxidants and plant pigments that give fruits and vegetables a yellow-to-red hue.
The combination can help filter out harmful blue light rays. Doctors believe that it plays a protective role in eye health and may help prevent damage from age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Also, authors of a study published in 2009 suggest that the combination of lutein and zeaxanthin, which is present in cantaloupe, may help protect the eyes from damage that leads to AMD.
Beta carotene is in yellow and orange fruits, such as cantaloupe. A cup — or 177 grams (g) — of cantaloupe balls contains 3,580 micrograms (mcg) of beta carotene.
Experts recommend a daily beta carotene intake of 18,000 mcg each day for males ages 14 and older and 14,000 for females in the same age group.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin and antioxidant that may protect against asthma. Some experts have suggested using vitamin C supplements to treat asthma.
Most studies focus on antioxidant supplements, however, which provide much stronger doses than dietary sources of nutrients.
The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and choline in cantaloupe all support heart health.
Consuming foods rich in potassium can help decrease blood pressure. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that an average adult consume 4,700 mg of potassium a day to keep the cardiovascular system healthy.
A cup of cantaloupe provides around 473 mg of potassium, or 10% of a person's recommended daily intake.
Find out about other foods that may help lower blood pressure.
Beta carotene, tocopherol, and other antioxidants in cantaloupe may help prevent cell damage caused by oxidative stress.
There is evidence that taking supplements containing these and other antioxidants may reduce the risk of lung, prostate, and other types of cancer.
How does the diet affect the risk of cancer? Find out here.
Cantaloupe has a high water content and provides fiber. Fiber and water can help prevent constipation, promoting regularity and a healthy digestive tract.
With its high water and electrolyte contents, cantaloupe is a good choice for boosting hydration during hot summer months or after a workout.
A 177-gram cup of cantaloupe balls contains 160 g of water.
Learn more about electrolytes.
Skin and hair
Vitamin A contributes to the growth and maintenance of all tissues in the body, including those in the skin and hair.
Many are present in various amounts in cantaloupe, such as:
- vitamins A, C, and E
- B vitamins
Cantaloupe also contributes to overall hydration. Studies suggest that consuming additional water may help keep the skin supple, although more evidence is necessary to confirm this.
Which foods can boost hair growth? Find out here.
|Nutrient||Amount in 1 cup (177 g)||Adult daily requirement|
|Carbohydrate (g)||14.4, of which 13.9 g are sugar||130|
|Fluoride (mcg)||1.8||No data|
|Vitamin C (mg)||65||65–90|
|Beta carotene (mcg)||3,240||No data|
|Vitamin A (mcg RAE)||270||700–900|
|Folate (mcg DFE)||37.2||400|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin (mcg)||46||No data|
|Tocopherol, gamma (mg)||0.2||No data|
|Vitamin K (mcg)||4.4||75–120|
Which nutrients does watermelon provide? Find out here.
When choosing a cantaloupe, look for one that is firm, heavy, and symmetrical, without soft spots or bruising.
The flesh of in-season cantaloupes will be bright, sweet, and juicy. Out of season, it may be hard and bland. Check with a local store to find out the best time to buy cantaloupes.
Here are some tips for preparing and serving cantaloupe:
- Dice or slice it, and eat it fresh.
- Make a tropical fruit salad with chunks of fresh cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple, and mango.
- Slice cantaloupe very thinly and add it to lemonade, iced tea, or water.
- Make a fresh salsa by combining papaya, mango, jalapeño, cantaloupe, red peppers, and chipotle peppers.
- Make a smoothie by combining cantaloupe with pineapple juice, frozen strawberries, and unsweetened Greek yogurt.
- Make fruit kebabs with cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and strawberries, and serve them with a yogurt dip.
Some people may need to take care when consuming cantaloupe:
People with type 2 diabetes or other conditions that require a low sugar diet should use caution when determining the right serving size of cantaloupe.
If the melon comes into contact with bacteria — through irrigation or other means — the outer skin may not be clean.
Washing and scrubbing the outside before cutting into the melon can reduce the risk of harmful bacteria, such as Salmonella, from entering the fruit's flesh.
Cantaloupe provides around 10% of a person's potassium needs.
Beta-blockers, a type of medication that doctors often prescribe for heart disease, can cause potassium levels to rise. People who use beta-blockers should consume cantaloupe in moderation, as high potassium levels can lead to kidney damage.
Also, anyone with a kidney problem should check with their doctor before increasing their intake of a high potassium food such as cantaloupe.
Cantaloupe is a refreshing and healthful fruit that is at its best in the summer.
It contains water and a range of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that can be beneficial as part of a varied diet.
Which type of melon is best for people with diabetes?
When managing diabetes, it is important to account for the total carbohydrate count of a meal and be mindful of the glycemic index of each type of food.
Melons, including cantaloupe and watermelon, have a high glycemic index, meaning that they can have a greater impact on blood sugar. Limiting the intake and pairing these fruits with healthy fats or proteins can decrease the spikes in blood sugar.
All fruits can play a role in a healthful eating plan for a person with diabetes. For specific intake recommendations, it is best to speak with a registered dietitian.Natalie Olsen, RD, LD, ACSM EP-C Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.