What is Melon?
Melon is any of various plants of the family Cucurbitaceae with sweet edible, fleshy fruit. They are high in essential vitamins and minerals and contain almost no fat or saturated fat, making them an excellent choice for snacks or a side dish. The word “melon” can refer to either the plant or specifically to the fruit.
Health Benefits of Melon
Maintenance of body tissues: Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin that plays an important role in the growth and maintenance of all tissues in your body. It functions in wound healing and repair of cartilage, bones and teeth. Adults should receive 90 mg per day of vitamin C. A 1-cup serving of cantaloupe provides 65 mg of vitamin C. One cup of casaba melon provides 37 mg of vitamin C, and honeydew provides 30 mg.
Maintenance of heart health: Potassium is an important mineral in the maintenance of heart health. Consuming adequate amounts of potassium in your diet may lower blood pressure and reduce the impact of high-sodium foods. Adults should receive 4700 mg of potassium per day. Cantaloupe is high in potassium, with 473 mg in a 1-cup serving. Honeydew contains 403 mg per serving, and other melons have lower levels.
Help prevent cell damage: The red color in watermelon is lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that may help prevent cell damage. Lycopene consumption has been linked to reduced rates of certain cancers and a reduced risk of heart attack. A 1 1/2-cup of raw watermelon contains approximately 9 to 13 mg of lycopene. Watermelon contains about 40 percent more lycopene than a serving of raw tomatoes.
Healthy teeth, skin, bone: Vitamin A is important for healthy teeth, skin, bone and mucous membranes. It helps the vision system by promoting retinal health. Insufficient vitamin A may lead to poor functioning of the immune system. Cantaloupe is high in vitamin A, with more than 25 percent of the recommended daily amount in a 1-cup serving.
Uses of Melon
- Soda: Mix strained melon puree with seltzer, or, if you’re fancy, put it through a siphon. You can also make a boozy “soda” and mix the puree with Moscato.
- Grilled: Char melon to caramelize its sugars, then serve it with prosciutto in a salad, or drizzle it with a lime syrup for dessert.
- Soup: Make a sweet-and-tangy chilled soup and float crab on top. Serve it by the pool.
- Salsa: Cut melon into small cubes and toss with lime juice, scallions, chiles and herbs for a salsa that’s great with shellfish (or even chips). Or make a luscious salsa for scallops with honeydew and avocado.
- Skewered: Thread chunks of watermelon, cherry tomatoes and feta on skewers and make a vinaigrette for dipping.
- Salads: Melons aren’t just for fruit salads. They’re especially delicious when paired with salty ingredients like olives or feta. Or try them with seafood such as squid.
- Agua Fresca: Make the world’s most refreshing drink by blending watermelon with strawberries, water and sugar.
- Frozen desserts: Freeze melon puree and scrape it into a fluffy ice, or simply freeze it in ice cube trays for mini ice pops. For a “creamier” dessert, swirl the puree in the ice cream maker for a sorbet.
Nutritional Value of Melon
Vitamin A: Melons are an excellent source of vitamin A. 100 grams serving of cantaloupe provides about 3382 International Units (IUs) or 112% of the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin which is the highest among all fruits.
Calories: These fruits are extremely low in calories with 100 grams of fresh fruit providing just 34 calories.
Antioxidants: Melon is rich in antioxidant flavonoids like beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin which fight free radicals, thus providing protection against various types of cancers.