Cantaloupes are members of the gourd family of plants (cucurbitaceous), which also include cucumbers, pumpkins, squashes, gourds, and assorted melons. A roughly netted stone and green coloured outer skin; a yellow-orange flesh, which is sweet and juicy and a floral and musky aroma characterise the ripe cantaloupe. The fruit also feels heavy versus hollow when ripe owing to its water content.
Cantaloupes have many health benefits. They contain a concentrated amount of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Both of these nutrients are important for the maintenance of good eyesight. They are also a great source of vitamin C, which strengthens your immune system and is also an antioxidant, which helps you fight free radicals that spread damage to your cells, causing diseases and signs of aging.
Cantaloupes are also rich in adenosine, a compound usually administered to people with heart disease because of its blood-thinning properties. In addition, the fruit is rich in folate, which is also important in the prevention of heart disease. Potassium is another important mineral found in cantaloupes. It is needed for almost all the processes within the human body and also helps in normalising the heartbeat and promoting the supply of oxygen to the brain, enabling you to feel more relaxed and focused.
Fresh cantaloupe can be served as a breakfast fruit and as a salad ingredient. It also makes a perfect ingredient in cold or fresh desserts and also in juices. It is not ideal for cooking and should always be eaten ripe and raw.
Published on February 2013