Although it should be taken into great consideration, cantaloupe nutrition probably isn't given much thought by many people when they bite into one of these juicy, sweet melons on a hot summer day. Cantaloupes are a type of muskmelon and are part of the squash family. They are the most nutritious of all melons.
These sweet smelling melons can be grown in a garden in one's backyard or found in a grocery store or farmer's market. When choosing a cantaloupe, there are a few things to keep in mind. A good ripened cantaloupe will emulate the name muskmelon quite well by giving off a pleasant, sweet aroma.
The cantaloupe should be absent of any stem. Mature cantaloupes that are ready to be picked and eaten will have fallen off the stem automatically. The stem area of the cantaloupe should be smooth to the touch. Finding remnants of the stem on a cantaloupe is a sure sign that the fruit was picked prematurely.
Aside from the sweet smell and lack of stem, cantaloupes should be slightly heavy in weight, and the shell should be firm with a slight give when pressed. Cantaloupes can be placed on a counter in the kitchen at room temperature to further ripen. Once it has reached the desired ripeness, the melon can be placed in the refrigerator until it is ready to be eaten.
Cantaloupe nutrition is important to know because the melon is not only rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene, it is loaded with potassium as well. Vitamin C, beta-carotene and potassium are excellent in fighting off diseases in the human body. Other important nutrients present in a cantaloupe include Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B6, dietary fiber and folate.
Cantaloupes are filled with healing qualities that help control blood pressure and help fight against cancer. They keep the blood flowing smoothly, and they are beneficial in lowering cholesterol. Cantaloupes are loaded with water and are very low in calories. Information regarding the nutrients in a cantaloupe is essential in understanding cantaloupe nutrition.
Vitamin C and beta-carotene are antioxidants that have been proven to fight against heart disease, cancer, and cataracts. Free radicals are cell-damaging molecules that happen naturally within the body and are thought to cause changes in the body that lead to cataracts, heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that cause damage.
In order to obtain the most nutrients from a cantaloupe, it is important to allow the cantaloupe to ripen thoroughly. The longer the cantaloupe is allowed to ripen, the higher the beta-carotene levels will be. It is essential to know that vitamin C disappears when exposed to air. When a melon is cut in half to be eaten, it is important that a person cover the part not being eaten to keep the vitamin C from escaping.
Potassium is an extremely valuable part of cantaloupe nutrition. Potassium is a mineral that aids in lowering blood pressure. Cantaloupes are significantly high in potassium levels, as they carry more potassium in one half of a melon than an entire banana. Potassium eliminates the sodium left in the body. The more a person eats, the more sodium he will lose, causing his blood pressure to drop. Potassium is also known for its ability to help lower cholesterol.
Potassium helps keep the body's low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol under control. It keeps the LDL from chemically changing and sticking to artery walls. Potassium has been known to lower the low-density lipoprotein and raise the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), otherwise known as the "good" cholesterol.
Cantaloupe nutrition is essential in knowing because cantaloupes are loaded with important vitamins and minerals. It is because of those particular nutrients that we are able to live a longer life. The more food we eat that is loaded with antioxidants, the more power we have to ward off life-threatening diseases.