Cantaloupe is a melon that is very fruity and delicious! It is usually an overlooked fruit, used in fruit salads to bulk it up, or added to a fruit tray for color. It is something that is reminiscent of what your grandmother would eat or serve you. In fact that is one of my fond memories of my maternal grandparents, my grandmother slicing cantaloupe for my grandfather in the kitchen on a warm sunny day. For a long time I would not eat cantaloupe, maybe because of this memory, maybe I was subconsciously blocking myself from this miracle fruit for some strange reason….. My grandparents have both gone on and there are several things that remind me of them.
One day after doing some research on foods, I starting seeing articles on melons and something told me to go out and get some. I purchased a cantaloupe on day and let it sit on my counter for a few days. I just didn’t want to deal with it (who knows why). I think the first time I bought one I actually ended up throwing it out!!!
Finally I purchased a cantaloupe again, I took my time, smelled it before selecting the one I wanted, made sure it was tender to the touch, ensuring it was ripe. It was a summer day, I took my cantaloupe home placed it on my counter and started slicing it. I was instantly transported to my grandmothers yellow kitchen; Her at the counter slicing the melon in wedges, sun shining through the window, my grandfather sitting at the kitchen table with his newspaper and some boxing match on the small black and white TV. The cantaloupe smell is so nostalgic, musky, floral and sweet. Each and every bite had me sitting in my grandparents kitchen, my favorite past time during the summers. I would ride my bike over to their house every other day; to help my grandfather in the backyard or the garage, sometimes sitting with him in the basement listening to his stories. Or I would help my grandmother in the kitchen, roll pennies for her, sit with her while she watched her soap operas! These were amazing times for me, I am thankful I remember them now, however, I do wish I would have appreciated those moments more at the time they were happening. Enjoy every moment you have with those that you love, admire or cherish. These times are more important than facebook updates, instagram likes or the latest ‘challenge’.
Back to the regularly scheduled program! Cantaloupe what is it and its benefits:
The Cantaloupe fruit we find in stores is native to United States, Mexico and Canada, and it is one of the few fruits that continues to ripen after it has been picked. So when you pick that cantaloupe with the webbed skin from the grocery store and get it home, leave it on the counter for a day or more until you begin to smell the sweet, musky odor. That is telling you it is ready to be enjoyed. That is why this fruits other name is appropriately “musk-melon”! Buy them whole and keep them this way until you are ready to enjoy it to preserve the nutrients at their best.
Cantaloupe is an alkaline food (You will read more about Alkaline foods from me in the future) and it digested quickly and easily in your digestive system. The best time to eat melon is by itself on an empty stomach. It typically digests in 15-20 minutes. If you find yourself having a difficult time digesting melon it is because there is other food in your stomach. I find it best to eat it first thing in the morning, after I have had a warm glass of water with lemon or lime. Then I follow it up with more warm water or tea.
- Overall, the nutritional content of cantaloupes is a powerful tool in the prevention of cancer and the eradication of free radicals, the harmful byproducts of cell metabolism that can lead to a number of dangerous conditions, including heart disease and cancer. It contains Beta-Carotene an essential carotenoid that the body requires and is shown to be a powerful antioxidant.
- As Immune System Booster, it has a healthy dose of Vitamin C, Vitamin C similarly scavenges disease-causing free radicals and act as an important line of defense for a healthy immune system. Also, vitamin-C stimulates the production of white blood cells, which seek out and destroy dangerous bacteria, viruses, and other toxic substances of foreign bodies that may have found their way into our bloodstream.
- For Healthy Skin, Cantaloupes are wonderful places to find beta-carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin-A. The best part about dietary beta-carotene, instead of supplements, is that there is no chance for overdose or vitamin-A toxicity, because the body only converts as much as it needs; the rest remains as beta-carotene to fight diseases as antioxidants. But the amount that turns into vitamin-A enters the skin and stimulates the membrane of skin cells and increasing regrowth and repair. This protects that membrane into the body against harmful toxins that prematurely age the skin. Vitamin-A cream is also used as a salve for irritation and redness on the skin, due to its naturally soothing qualities.
- Maintaining healthy eyes, Carotenoids are also beneficial for maintaining healthy eyes. It is associated with a reduced risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, as is the vitamin-C content of cantaloupes.
- Stress and Anxiety, Potassium is found in cantaloupes and it has been connected to being a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. Excited levels of blood pressure can act as a stressor on the body, and can even induce the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Potassium also increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, which induces a calming sensation and a more relaxed attitude. Plus, reducing the presence of stress hormones in the body can seriously reduce symptoms of anxiety.
- Diabetes: Although human testing is not as widespread as it should be, early studies show cantaloupe to be connected with improved insulin metabolism, which means a more stable fluctuation of blood sugar, preventing the dangerous spikes and plunges of blood sugar all that diabetics fear. It has also been shown to reduce oxidative stress on the kidneys, which can prevent a number of kidney-related diseases.
- Arthritis: The phytochemicals that we spoke about earlier also have anti-inflammatory qualities. This means that having a proper amount of cantaloupe in your diet can help prevent oxidative stress on your joints and bones, thereby reducing inflammation. Chronic inflammation of these vital areas can lead to conditions like arthritis, so make sure to add plenty of cantaloupe to your diet if you’re feeling creaky around the joints!
- Digestion: Cantaloupes have a high amount of dietary fiber, which is an essential component of health bowel movements and digestive health. Eating a proper amount of dietary fiber can bulk up your stool and reduce your chances of becoming constipated, and can make your bowel movements more regular and consistent. By insuring a smooth flow through your digestive tract and colon, you reduce your risk of colorectal cancer and other dangerous gastrointestinal conditions.
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