Melon: Properties and Benefits
Melon, together with watermelon, is a quenching thirst fruit characteristic of summer. Thanks to its nutrients it is a fruit with few calories and with many beneficial properties for health, let’s see which ones
The melon, fruit with properties diuretic, is the product of the plant Cucumis melo, belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family.
Its origins are not entirely certain but it is assumed that it originates from Asia. Asia is currently the largest melon producing country in the world.
The melon plant does not develop vertically but is characterized by a creeping stem that recalls that of the pumpkin.
- Chemical Composition
- Blood Circulation
- Benefits to the Sight
- Immune System
- Nervous System
As for the introduction of melon in Italy, it almost certainly dates back to the Christian era. In this regard there are testimonies of some paintings found in Herculaneum.
Europe is the second largest producer worldwide after Asia. Italy, together with Spain and France, is one of the main European countries in the production of this delicious fruit.
|Chemical composition for 100 gr of Cantaloupe melon|
Source: USDA Database
Amino acids: aspartic acid and glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, cystine, glycine, phenylalanine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, proline, methionine, serine, tyrosine, tryptophan, valine and threonine.
100 grams of fresh melon pulp have a caloric intake of 34 kcal.
Melon: Properties and Benefits
The presence of vitamin A, vitamin C and other antioxidant compounds is able to counteract the harmful activity of free radicals. Studies confirm that antioxidants are able to counteract oxidative stress in the body. ( 1 )
According to scientific research, the consumption of fruit and vegetables rich in carotenoids is a good preventive method in the comparison of various diseases. ( 2 )
Melon, in addition to vitamins and minerals, is rich in other antioxidant compounds such as beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These substances protect cells and DNA from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Studies have shown that melon can be a valuable aid in the prevention of colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreas cancer. Research has shown that antioxidants and cucurbitacin of melon cause apoptosis of cancer cells. ( 3, 4 )
Heart diseases, including arteriosclerosis, are often caused by high levels of inflammation. Many problems such as high cholesterol and hypertension start with chronic inflammation.
The cucurbitacins present in this fruit, thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, are useful in the treatment of certain cardiac pathologies. According to studies, the anti-inflammatory properties are concentrated in the peel and roots of the plant. ( 5 )
The good percentage of potassium present in its pulp has beneficial effects on circulation and blood pressure. Blood circulation also benefits from another substance contained in the melon, adenosine .
This compound appears to prevent blood clots from forming. It thus performs a preventive action against stroke, angina pectoris, heart attack.
Thanks to the presence of vitamin A, the intake of melon helps to keep the eyes healthy. Vitamin A has a preventive function against macular degeneration, a pathology typical of old age.
Zeaxanthin, on the other hand, is a carotenoid which is absorbed by the retina of the eye and which provides protection from UV rays. Studies confirm that carotenoids help prevent the destructive retinal processes that lead to macular degeneration. ( 6 )
Help to lose Weight
Melon can be a valuable aid for weight loss. The high percentage of water combined with the presence of dietary fiber means that after eating the melon, a sense of satiety appears. This decreases appetite significantly.
According to recent studies, the carotenes and antioxidants present in melon are useful in strengthening the immune system and in preventing infections. In particular, it seems that beta-carotene has the greatest beneficial effect on the immune system. ( 7 )
According to studies, in fact, beta-carotene improves the function of immune cells with consequent beneficial effects also in the prevention of cancer. ( 8 )
It provides the body with vitamins and minerals, thanks to these compounds it contributes to its purification by eliminating impurities.
The seeds of crushed and eaten melons raw are useful for eliminating intestinal worms.
Thanks to the presence of folic acid it is a fruit whose consumption is recommended for pregnant women. Studies confirm that folic acid is a compound recommended for women who wish to get pregnant. Furthermore, this compound is very important during pregnancy as it prevents neural tube defects in the unborn child. ( 9 )
The presence of vitamin B6 gives the melon properties useful for the functioning of the nervous system. It is especially useful for sleep disturbances.
In case of dry skin with the pulp of ripe fruit, a beauty mask can be prepared. This helps to hydrate the skin to prevent dryness and wrinkles.
The presence of beta – carotene stimulates the body to produce melanin, the main pigment of our skin. Vitamin B plays an active role against depressive states. Bones also benefit from taking melon. The abundance of phosphorus and calcium in fact carry out a protective activity against osteoporosis.
Typical fruit of the summer periods, it can be found on sale in a natural way in the period from May to September.
The summer melon is divided into 2 categories:
- the Net, characterized precisely by a peel pervaded by an interweaving of lines in relief and by an intense and particularly fragrant and tasty yellow pulp.
- the Cantaloupe which, unlike the net, has a smooth skin and a slightly lighter flesh.
In contrast to the summer melon we find the winter one , which owes its name to the period in which it ripens, December. The pulp of this variety is rather whitish.
It is a food which, thanks to the presence of beta-carotene, proves useful for tanning. In fact, beta-carotene stimulates the production of melanin, the substance that gives the skin the typical dark tan color.
The most fragrant and tasty melon is the male specimen. This is usually characterized by a black dot visible on the opposite side from its petiole.
The melon can be stored in the refrigerator for 3/4 days. Care must be taken to separate it from other foods as its strong perfume could be absorbed by the latter.
Two or three slices of melon are able to provide the complete daily requirement of vitamins A and C for our body.
Thanks to its content of dietary fiber, vitamins and its low caloric intake, the melon fills the stomach without weighing it down
Cantalupo melons owe their name to the homonymous town in Lazio where it seems it was introduced in the fifteenth century by missionaries from Asia.
Although in most of the world this fruit is consumed to taste its sweet and tasty pulp, it is not so everywhere. There are some areas of the world where the fruit is very popular because of its seeds. These are in fact consumed as snacks in some areas of Central America, Asia and the Middle East.
Maybe Not Everyone Knows That
The winter melons, if picked not yet ripe, can be kept for 4 or 5 months until they mature.
The formation of most sugars occurs a few days before ripening. If the melon is harvested before this period, there will be a fruit with a tasteless and little sweet taste on the table.
The melon is also used in the field of cosmetics for the preparation of beauty masks that can tone the skin and make it softer.
Probably due to the presence of numerous seeds, this fruit, in ancient times, was considered a symbol of fertility and prosperity.
According to Pliny’s writings, it seems that the Roman emperor Tiberius was particularly greedy for this succulent fruit.
Melon Properties and Benefits
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