A Seasonal Superfruit - Cantaloupe

August 14, 2014

Cantaloupe is at it's best in August! Juicy and sweet, it's a breakfast favorite and a popular addition to fruit salads ... they're also a great addition to fruit smoothies. There are a mere 54 calories in a cup of cantaloupe. Along with this diet-wise fruit you get 78.2% of the RDA of vitamin C, 30% of vitamin A, 12.2% of your potassium requirements and healthy doses of folate, copper, vitamins B, B6, B1, fiber, magnesium and vitamin K! That diverse group of nutrients offer an equally diverse set of benefits!
  • Great Source of Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene. If you are looking to incorporate vitamin A sources into your diet then cantaloupes will make a great addition to your food plan. In fact, cantaloupes contain concentrated amounts of beta-carotene which the body converts  into vitamin A. Both nutrients are essential for the maintenance of healthy eyesight. Research has also shown that there may be a possible link between beta-carotene and cancer prevention thanks to the small amount of alpha-carotene found in cantaloupe which means it contains both of their derivatives, including lutein in the case of alpha-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin in the case of beta-carotene. Recently, researchers measured the carotenoid contents of several cantaloupe hybrids and found that their beta-carotene content can reach levels as high as 3,138 micrograms per cup -- about 30 times higher than the beta-carotene content of fresh oranges.
  • Great Source of Vitamin C. In addition to being a great source of vitamin A, cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which functions in the water-soluble parts of the body and helps fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals spread damage to your cells, causing diseases and signs of aging. Vitamin C also strengthens your immune system by stimulating your white blood cells, supporting the body's fight against viruses and bacteria. The combination of vitamin C and A encourages the skin cell turnover and supports the formation of collagen -- the connective tissues that give your skin its elasticity and youthful fullness.
  • Promotes the Lung Health. A recent study showed that consumption of a vitamin A-rich food like cantaloupe is also beneficial to smokers and those who are consistently exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke. One of the carcinogens found in cigarette smoke creates a vitamin A deficiency in the body. When you start incorporating more vitamin A into your diet, the deficiency is reversed and you also lower your risk of developing lung diseases like emphysema.
  • Supports Heart Health. One cup of this melon contains as much potassium as one medium banana, and helps control heart rate and blood pressure while sending oxygen to the brain and regulating the body's water balance. The folate in cantaloupes also helps prevent heart attacks.
  • Aids Cardiovascular Health. Cantaloupes are also rich in a compound called adenosine which is often given to patients with heart disease for its blood-thinning properties.
  • Fights Cancer. Cantaloupe is rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and cryptoxanthin, antioxidants which help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen-free radicals which gives protection against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
And if you're looking for a way to add some omega-3s to your diet ... the seeds are edible! Slice up half for the breakfast table and the other half for dinner, cantaloupe's goodness gives all day long!

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