When I think of summer time barbeques and picnics, I always think of fresh melons being served up for dessert. Nothing tastes better than slicing open a fresh, juicy watermelon or honeydew melon to satisfy your taste buds. Not only do these melons satisfy your summertime cravings for something juicy and sweet, but they also have many benefits for our bodies. Next time you‘re heading over to the beach, load up your fruit salad with these healthy melons, to keep you feeling your best throughout the summer months.
Health benefits of melons
One of the most popular of the melons, watermelons are packed with lycopene, even more so than tomatoes. Lycopene is an antioxidant known for having great anti-inflammatory benefits for. The pinker the flesh of the melon, the higher in lycopene, so make sure you’re eating a fully ripe melon to get the most nutrients.1
One serving of honeydew has a whopping 14 grams of fiber! Not only a great source of fiber, honeydew is rich in potassium, to help replenish electrolytes that have been lost during sweat. Electrolytes are important for proper muscle function, and fluid balance while exercising2.
Cantaloupe is high in both Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Vitamin A is important for eye health, immune function3, and healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin C is great for metabolizing fats and proteins, while supporting healthy tissue formation.
Since melons are so juicy, they’ll also be helping you stay hydrated during those hot summer months. Looks like you’re covering more than one base with these tasty fruits.
How ripe are your melons?
Since their nutritional profile heightens when they become riper, you want to make sure you’re choosing your melons at the peak of freshness.
Here is an easy two-step process to ensure you pick a ripe melon every time you’re at the grocery store:
- Inspect the melon; look for any bruising dents scratches or lesions. You want to avoid any markings and pick a clean, nice looking fruit.
- Each melon has a unique technique to tell if it’s at its prime:
- Watermelons: Tap the melon with your fingers, the deeper the sound, the riper the melon
- Honeydew: Press with your thumb into the end of the melon that’s opposite to the stem. If it indents slightly with minimal effort, this means the melon is good to go!
- Cantaloupe: Smell the stem side of the melon. If it’s fragrant (smelling like the fresh scent of the ripe fruit), then it’s ready to eat. Be wary of any moldy or no scent smelling cantaloupe–these are ones that you’ll want to avoid.
Now that you know the many benefits these melons have to offer, it’s time for you to make up a mean fruit salad to bring to your next summer BBQ.
Tell us your favorite way to enjoy your summertime melons in the comments below!
- Edwards AJ et al. (2003). Consumption of Watermelon Juice Increases Plasma Concentrations of Lycopene and -Carotene in Humans. Journal of Nutrition. 133:4. Accessed on 6/25/14 from: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/133/4/1043.full.pdf+html
- Bernardot, Dan. (2012) Advanced Sports Nutrition. Human Kinetics. 2nd ed
- Health Canada. (2010) Natural Health Product Database Monograph: Vitamin A. http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/monoReq.do?id=178&lang=eng