Nutritional Information for Cantaloupe
The orange color in cantaloupe comes from the popular antioxidant, beta-carotene. Its flesh is sweet and juicy. In the summertime, fresh, ripe melons are very refreshing. There are many varieties of melons, including honeydew, watermelon, and crenshaw. Cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash are in the same plant family (Cucurbitaceae) as melons, offering similar nutrients. Eating ripe cantaloupe offers the most active phytonutrients.
Benefits of Cantaloupe
Cancer Prevention Benefits
There are many ways in which researchers have looked into how cantaloupe and its compounds work against cancer. The plant compounds, cucurbitacins, have natural defenses that may be toxic to cancerous cells. When some of these compounds are isolated and dripped on different types of prostate cancer cells, they have been found to inhibit the growth of all types prostate cancer cells. They also work to stop the cell growth cycle at a certain cancer phase and perform apoptosis, programmed cell death (aka: cell suicide for damaged cells). These are only test tube studies which only give us an idea of what may happen if men ate cantaloupe and other types of plants in that family. Luckily, there are other ways to look at the evidence.
Men part of the Harvard Health Professional’s Follow Up Study who ate more foods with carotenoids had less odds of developing prostate cancer before 65 years old. In the same study, those eating a more lycopene-rich foods in the diet reduced odds of prostate cancer, but only with those without a family history of prostate cancer and over 65 years old. It’s interesting how results are manufactured within the research. Note these are only trends that researchers found significant, it’s not 100% factual evidence that proves carotenoids or lycopene prevents cancer. However, if men had a choice of being 64% less likely of getting prostate cancer by simply eating a small bowl of tomato soup with carrots, they may choose to stack the odds in their favor. Our mission at Blue Cure is to give men, women, and all families the knowledge so that they can choose to make decision. Prostate cancer prevention is not beyond arm’s reach, we can stack the odds in our favor today, as this research suggests tomato products and diets rich in beta-carotene may play a role in prostate cancer prevention.
Diets high in foods that are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C have been shown to lower esophageal cancer risk. Researchers acknowledge that since fruits and vegetables exhibit so many different nutrients and antioxidants it’s best to include a variety of plant- foods to promote the best defense against diseases. The research points to using whole foods, not expensive dietary supplements, as a means to obtain absorbable nutrients. It’s recommended to eat 5- 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily to combat chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Men's Health Benefits
The antioxidant power of vitamin C, Vitamin A, and beta-carotene may reduce the oxidative damage seen in heart disease. Men loading up on plenty of fruits and vegetables are at lower risk of having a heart attack. In general, fruits and vegetables have been linked to reduced risk of stroke, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.
Ways to Use Cantaloupe
- Eat plain! When ripe, cantaloupe is so sweet and refreshing.
- Toss diced cantaloupe into green leafy salads.
- Blend in smoothies with other melons, berries, or tropical fruits.
- Make a fruit salad with other melons and grapes.
- Pair the cantaloupe with mint leaves.
- Try grilling cantaloupe for a summer treat.
- Make cantaloupe gazpacho.
- Cook it with chickpeas, lemon, garlic, and pepper.
- Spear on wooden sticks for rainbow fruit kabobs to serve at parties.
Resources for Cantaloupe
American Institute for Cancer Research: www.aicr.org
Nutrition Facts: www.NutritionFacts.org
Physicians Committee: www.pcrm.org
USDA Nutrient Database: Cantaloupe
- Ismail H, Chan K, Mariod A, et al. Phenolic content and antioxidant activity of cantaloupe (cucumis melo) methanolic extracts. Food Chem. 2010;119(2):643-47.
- Wu K, Erdman Jr. J, Schwartz S, et al. Plasma and dietary carotenoids, and the risk of prostate cancer: a nested case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2004;13(2):260-9.
- Liu R. Potential synergy of phytochemicals in cancer prevention: mechanism of action. J Nutr. 2004;134(12 Suppl):3479S-3485S.
- Ren S, Ouyang D, Saltis M, et al. Anti-proliferative effect of 23,24-dihydrocucurbitacin F on human prostate cancer cells through induction of actin aggregation and cofilin-actin rod formation. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2012;70(3):415-24.
- Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective and the 2011 Continuous Update Project: Colorectal Cancer.
- Kobylecki C, Afzal S, Davey Smith G, Nordestgaard B. Genetically high plasma vitamin C, intake of fruit and vegetables, and risk of ischemic heart disease and all-cause mortality: a Mendelian randomization study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015101(6):1135-43.
- Zhang P, Xu X, Li X. Cardiovascular diseases: oxidative damage and antioxidant protection. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2014;18(20):3091-6.
- He FJ, Nowson CA, MacGregor GA. Fruit and vegetable consumption and stroke: meta-analysis of cohort studies. Lancet. 2006;367:320–326.
- Whelton PK, He J, Appel LJ, et al. Primary prevention of hypertension: clinical and public health advisory from the National High Blood Pressure Education Program.JAMA. 2002;288:1882–1888.
- Carter P, Gray LJ, Troughton J, Khunti K, Davies MJ. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ. 2010;341:c4229.
- Cooper AJ, Forouhi NG, Ye Z, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and type 2 diabetes: EPIC-InterAct prospective study and meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012;66:1082–1092.