Melon or Cucumis melo belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. Its sweet juicy flesh makes this fruit vegetable a highlight of the summer.
There are many melon varieties, like winter melon which is yellow on the outside and has an oval shape with pale green flesh. But usually the most commonly savored melon is Cantaloupe, which is round with orange-colored flesh. It is grown in Italy, Spain and the South of France for Europe. After Spain and Italy, France is the 3rd largest European producer.
Melon is known for its many health benefits.
- Read also: how to grow melon
Melon, a short story
The true origin of melon is at the moment still not a certainty. An African origin seems most likely. Indeed, we know for certain that Egyptians used to grow melon in 500 BC already.
King Charles the VIIIth brought melon to France and other countries of Europe in the XVth century. Melon came from the Cantaluppo estate in Rome, hence its name “Cantaloupe”.
Queen Jeanne the IInd of Naples, Italy, used melon for its anti-ageing properties. She would apply very thin slices of melon on her face to ensure her skin would glow.
Health benefits of melon on the body
To the joy of the taste buds are added curative and preventive properties.
The abundant water that is contained in the fruit makes melon a powerful diuretic agent. It staves off water retention and purifies the body, ridding it of toxins.
Melon also boasts laxative properties. The fibers that are present (1% of the fruit is fiber) ensure that intestinal transit functions seamlessly. It is recommended in cases of light constipation and to combat hemorrhoids.
Melon has the power to limit premature skin ageing, it is an excellent antioxidant.
Beta-carotene is actually the orange-colored pigment of melon. It sharpens vision, protects the retina and thus slows appearance and spread of vision disorders that usually pop up with age (especially cataract).
Thanks to vitamin C, melon reduces risks of having cardiovascular diseases and cancers appear.
Melon regulates tension in case of arterial hypertension, thanks to its potassium compounds (300 mg / 3.5 oz (100 g)).
It is also possible to recommend melon in case of anemia and arthritis.
Melon is like a shield against infections. It contributes to the immune system by stimulating production of immune defense cells.
Melon also stimulates production of serotonin, the good mood hormone. Lack of serotonin is actually a possible cause of being in a depressed state.
Melon can slow liver acid, itchiness and skin inflammation.
Moreover, melon can make your skin truly glow, prepares it to fight the sun and amplifies tanning, just like carrots do. It also fortifies adnexa (skin appendages).
All these health benefits make melon a great friend for a healthy body!
Cooking with melon to reap its health benefits
Melon can be added to a smoothie, ice cream, fruit salads, raw, for appetizers or for dessert.
For sweet-and-sour fans, melon is delicious skewered on kebabs with ham, cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cubes.
Nutritional content of melon: 32 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g) , 0.14g fats, 7g carbohydrates.
With very low calorie intake, it fits right into any diet.
Since the glycemic index of melon is low, it doesn’t tend to affect hyperglycemia and can thus be eaten by persons suffering from diabetes or obesity.
Melon provides the body with potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and A and iron. It fits right in to any healthy food course.
- Savory ideas highlighting melon:
Add melon seeds to your mixed salads. Collect the seeds, rinse them off, and fry them for a spell in your pan with a bit of olive oil. Add salt at the end. It’ll give your mixed salads a delicious crunch!
Candied melon: Dare to eat hot melon! Place slices of melon in a hot pan with a dollup of butter. Add sugar to let it caramelize a bit. If you’re adventurous, add alcohol and serve it flambé!
Melon rind jam: Gather the melon rinds in a salad bowl with just a bit of water and the same weight in sugar. Add the juice from one pressed lemon. Boil it all for about 2 hours on very low heat.
Did you know? Melon doesn’t have a gender.
Smart tip: to select your melon, check on the stem. If it is easy to detach, your melon is perfectly ripe.
Are your intestines playing tricks on you? Better eat your melon at room temperature instead of right out of the fridge.
- Melon beauty tips:
Natural make-up remover: mash the pulp of half a melon with 3 table spoons of cottage cheese (40% fat content). Apply this paste to your face, avoiding the eyes.
Keep your preparation in the fridge, in an airtight pot or jar.
To give your skin the glow it deserves, dip a wad of cotton in melon juice.
- Read also: how to grow melon