Dear Dr. Mo: I loved your posts on Squash and I have a question about Melons – I love Melons and I was wondering about possible health benefits I can incur from that fruit?
Dear reader: Melons are related to Squash and comparable to it in their health benefits. Let me list a few important ones:
Blood pressure control
Eating melons can help control blood pressure as they contain potassium and potassium lessens the effects sodium has in elevating blood pressure; cutting back on dietary salt is also important in maintaining a healthy blood pressure level.
Melon is a fine source of vitamin B6 which helps maintain our body’s metabolism and some recent data shows that this vitamin reduces inflammation, oxidative stress and helps regulate metabolic disturbances including obesity and diabetes.
Just like carrots for example, melons too owe their bright colour to vitamin A — one cup has about 40 percent of our daily needs. Vitamin A is important for vision and bone growth.
Another vitamin found in plentiful supply in Melons is vitamin C and this one is crucial for collagen formation to maintain your cartilage, bones, gums, skin etc. Vitamin C won’t do us much good when we catch a cold, just so you know, that’s a (pharmaceutical) myth.
Melons are not a bad source of fiber (about 1.5 grams per cup) and majority of that fiber is of insoluble type – the type known for stimulating digestion and supporting bowel regularity; this fiber binds to water and helps sweep material through the intestinal tract more quickly. Now, any food that has less than 2.5 grams of fiber per serving is not considered a very good source of it but eating a Melon is a sweet and refreshing (and also healthy) way to boost your fiber intake.
Unlike meat, you should always wash Melons before cutting them
While melons do not naturally contain bacteria that can make us sick, their outer skin or rind can become contaminated because melons are grown close to the ground.
Melons contaminated in such a way have been linked to cases of food poisoning caused by Salmonella bacteria.
Melons can also be contaminated during harvest, storage, transport or at the grocery store and even from counters and cutting boards in your own kitchen through cross-contamination.
The best way to deal with these risks is to wash the melon before cutting it – plain water is all you need and rinse it carefully to avoid splashing any potential contaminants around.
I love Melons too.
Yours in Health,