Table of Contents Hide
- Melons Nutritional Profile
- Melons Nutrients in Food
- What The Most Nutritious Way to Serve This Food
- Diets That May Restrict or Exclude This Food
- How to Buying This Food
- How to Storing This Food
- How to Preparing This Food
- Amazing Medical Uses and/or Benefits
Melons Nutritional Profile
• Energy value (calories per serving): Low
• Protein: Low
• Fat: Low
• Saturated fat: Low
• Cholesterol: None
• Carbohydrates: High
• Fiber: High
• Sodium: Low
• Major vitamin contribution: Vitamin A, folate, vitamin C
• Major mineral contribution: Potassium
Melons Nutrients in Food
• All melons are rich in sugars and a good source of the soluble dietary fiber pectin. The deep-yellow melons (cantaloupe, crenshaw, Persian) are also rich in vitamin A.
• One-half of a five-inch diameter cantaloupe has 2.5 g dietary fiber, 9,334 IU vitamin A (approximately four times the RDA for a woman, three times the RDA for a man), 58 mcg folate (15 percent of the RDA), and 101 mg vitamin C (approximately 1.3 times the RDA for a woman, approximately 1.1 times the RDA for a man).
• One cup diced watermelon has 0.6 g dietary fiber, 865 IU vitamin A (37 percent of the RDA for a woman, 29 percent of the RDA for a man), and 12 mg vitamin C (16 percent of the RDA for a woman, 13 percent of the RDA for a man).
What The Most Nutritious Way to Serve This Food
• Fresh and ripe.
Diets That May Restrict or Exclude This Food
• Low-carbohydrate diet
• Low-fiber diet
How to Buying This Food
Vine-ripened melons if possible. You can identify a vine-ripened melon by checking the stem end. If the scar is clean and sunken, it means that the stem was pulled out of a ripe melon. Ripe melons also have a deep aroma: the more intense the fragrance, the sweeter the melon.
• Cantaloupes should be round and firm, with cream-colored, coarse “netting” that stands up all over the fruit. The rind at the stem end of the melon should give slightly when you press it and there should be a rich, melony aroma.
• Casabas should have a deep-yellow rind that gives at the stem end when you press it. Ripe casabas smell pleasant and melony. Honey dews should have a smooth cream-colored or a yellowish white rind. If the rind is completely white or tinged with green, the melon is not ripe.
• Like cantaloupes, Persian melons have a rind covered with “netting.” As the Persian ripens, the color of its rind lightens. A ripe Persian will give when you press it. Watermelons should have a firm, smooth rind with a cream or yellowish undercolor.
• If the undercoat is white or greenish, the melon is not ripe. When you shake a ripe watermelon, the seeds inside will rattle; when you thump its rind, you should hear a slightly hollow sound.
How to Storing This Food
• Hold whole melons at room temperature for a few days. Melons have no stored starches to convert to sugar, so they can’t get sweeter once they are picked, but they will begin to soften as enzymes begin to dissolve pectin in the cell walls. As the cell walls dissolve, the melons release the aromatic molecules that make them smell sweet and ripe.
• Refrigerate ripe melons to slow the natural deterioration of the fruit. Sliced melons should be wrapped in plastic to keep them from losing moisture or from absorbing odors
from other foods.
How to Preparing This Food
• In 2008, following an outbreak of food-borne illness traced to contaminated cantaloupes, the FDA released recommendations for the safe preparation of cantaloupes and other melons that minimize the chances of contaminating the fruit inside the melon with organisms on the outside of the rind. One safe method is as follows:
1. Wash the melon under running water, scrubbing the rind.
2. On a cutting board, cut the melon into large pieces with a knife and remove the central seeds, if any.
3. Wash hands with soap and water.
4. On a second cutting board, use a second knife to cut the fruit away from the rind and then into smaller pieces.
5. Refrigerate the melon pieces until ready to use.
6. Wash and dry the knives and cutting boards in hot water and soap, preferably in a dishwasher that uses hot water and dries with heat.
Amazing Medical Uses and/or Benefits
Reduced risk of some cancers.
According to the American Cancer Society, foods rich in betacarotenes may lower the risk of cancers of the larynx, esophagus and lungs.
• There is no similar benefit from beta-carotene supplements; indeed, one study actually showed a higher
rate of lung cancer among smokers taking the supplement.
Lower risk of a heart attack.
In the spring of 1998, an analysis of data from the records for more than 80,000 women enrolled in the long-running Nurses Health Study at Harvard School of Public Health/Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston identified the first direct link between two B vitamins and heart health.
• According to Eric B. Rimm, M.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health, a diet that provides more than 400 mcg folate and 3 mg vitamin B6 a day from either food or supplements, more than twice the current RDA for each, may reduce a woman’s risk of heart attack by almost 50 percent.
• Although men were not included in the analysis, the results are presumed to apply to them as well. Many melons are high in folate; green leafy vegetables, beans, whole grains, meat, fish, poultry, and shellfish are other good sources.
Lower risk of some birth defects.
As many as two of every 1,000 babies born in the United States each year may have cleft palate or a neural tube (spinal cord) defect due to their mothers’ not having gotten adequate amounts of folate during pregnancy.
• The current RDA for folate is 180 mcg for a woman and 200 mcg for a man, but the FDA now recommends 400 mcg for a woman who is or may become pregnant. Taking folate supplements before becoming pregnant and continuing through the first two months of pregnancy reduces the risk of cleft palate; taking folate through the entire pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects.
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