Honeydew melon makes for a sweet-tasting and refreshing treat that can take the sting out of the sweltering summer heat.
Honeydew belongs to the vine-growing Cucurbitaceae family of fruits or the muskmelon family and is a close kin to other popular melons such as watermelon and cantaloupe.
Honeydew melons come in different sizes, ranging from small to medium, and are typically round or oval shaped.
Honeydew melons usually have a smooth rind that is tinged with hues of yellow or cream. The flesh enclosed within is usually pale green. However, some mutated varieties boast an extra-sweet orange flesh and are referred to as the “temptation melon.”
Another rather distinctive variant is the golden honeydew, which possesses a bright golden-hued rind and crisp, white flesh.
Much like other popular types of melon, honeydew has a high water content figuring at about 90 percent. It also offers a healthy dose of soluble and insoluble fiber, while containing almost no fat and zero cholesterol.
A cup serving of this fruit has only 64 calories, most of which are in the form of simple sugars: fructose and glucose. This serving also provides about 1.4 grams of fiber.
Honeydew is also an exceptional source of the antioxidant vitamin C and the electrolyte potassium, which plays a crucial role in maintaining fluid balance in the body.
Due to its low calorie count and high nutritional density, this succulent fruit has all the makings of a healthful pool-side snack.
Thus, unlike other fried and salty snacks that dry out your mouth, digging into honeydew’s delectable and juicy flesh can help you cool off, quench your thirst, and invigorate your senses with a burst of energy.
History and Origin
This musky-scented fruit is native to West Africa and was first cultivated over 4000 years ago. The earliest mention of honeydew melons was in the hieroglyphic depictions of ancient Egypt, signifying that the patronage for this honey-flavored fruit goes as far back as 2,400 BC. It later broke ground in parts of Europe towards the end of the Roman Empire many centuries ago.
Later in the 1600s, honeydew along with other varieties of melon, reached North American shores, courtesy of the early settlers led by Christopher Columbus.
Unlike most other melons that thrive in tropical regions, honeydew melons fare better in semi-arid climates because humidity makes the fruit smaller and increasingly susceptible to pests and disease.
Honeydew cultivation continues to encompass different quarters of the world, with China and Turkey being its leading producers. The United States ranks as the third major supplier of this fruit, where it’s mainly grown along the west coast. California accounts for the majority of honeydews sold in the United States, with Arizona coming a close second.
Nutritional Value of Honeydew Melon
Nutritional Value of Honeydew per 100 grams:
- Water – 89.82 g
- Energy – 36 kcal
- Protein – 0.54 g
- Total lipid – 0.14 g
- Carbohydrate – 9.09 g
- Dietary fiber – 0.8 g
- Sugars – 8.12 g
- Calcium, Ca– 6 mg
- Iron, Fe – 0.17 mg
- Magnesium, Mg – 10 mg
- Phosphorus, P – 11 mg
- Potassium, K – 228 mg
- Sodium, Na – 18 mg
- Zinc, Zn – 0.09 mg
- Vitamin C – 18.0 mg
- Thiamin – 0.038 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.012 mg
- Niacin – 0.418 mg
- Folate – 19 mcg
- Vitamin A – 3 mcg
- Vitamin E – 0.02 mg
- Vitamin K – 2.9 mcg
Picking Your Melon
You may slice into a promising piece of honeydew melon expecting a sweet and juicy delight but end up with a bland disappointment. The taste of honeydew watermelon hinges on whether it is ripe enough or not.
Not everyone has an eye for picking the right kind of produce, but anyone can don the connoisseur hat if you know what to look for. The foremost thing to remember is that the longer a melon ripens on the vine, the sweeter it will be.
- When scouring through the farmer’s market for that perfect melon, look for ones that are heavy for their size and have smooth, undamaged skin with a slightly waxy feel.
- You don’t want to buy a piece that has a fuzzy rind, is overly soft, or feels moist at the stem end. This could mean the melon is overripe.
- Another way to assess whether the melon has matured sufficiently or not is to smell its stem. Melons that give off a slightly sweet, almost honey-like aroma are a safe bet.
- A premium-quality melon should yield slightly when you press the surface opposite of the stem end.
- For added assurance, you should gently tap the side of the melon several times with your ears close by. An ideally ripe melon would produce a deep-pitched tone or sound hollow.
- A high-pitched, dry tone, on the other hand, indicates an underripe melon, whereas a monotone dead thud is associated with overripe ones.
- If you happen to bring an unripe melon home, worry not. Let it sit at room temperature until it meets the necessary ripening markers, and store it in the refrigerator thereafter to keep it from turning mushy.
- Once you have cut open the melon, always stash the pieces in an airtight container for refrigerated storage. However, try to finish the batch within 3–4 days, as the fruit is likely to go bad after that.
Risk and Precautions
Balance Out Your Overall Diet: Honeydew melon makes for a good addition to your meal plan, but the fruit alone cannot be expected to fix all your health concerns. For honeydew to make a worthwhile difference, it is essential that you pair it with a variety of other nourishing foods in a well-balanced eating pattern.
Cleanliness is Key: Moreover, always make it a point to wash and scrub the outer surface of the fruit before cutting it open. Such sanitary practices are an essential prerequisite to healthy eating. For one, cleaning the fruit beforehand helps decrease the risk of harmful bacteria such as Salmonella transferring to the flesh of the melon.
Keep Potassium in Check: People with heart disease are generally prescribed beta-blockers, a type of medication that can cause spikes in the blood potassium level. Because honeydew melon also contains considerable amounts of potassium, those on beta-blockers are advised to consume it in moderation to avoid undue excesses in blood potassium levels.
Consuming too much potassium can have adverse implications, particularly for those with compromised renal function. Consult your health care team before adding honeydew to your diet if you have impaired renal function or are on beta-blocker medication.
Essential Health Benefits of Honeydew Melon
Although its greatest appeal may be its flavor, honeydew is also nutritious and may provide several benefits.
Here are some surprising benefits of honeydew melon.
1. May Reduce High Blood Pressure
Honeydew melon boasts an impressive potassium and water content along with low sodium levels, which make for an ideal combination for lowering elevated blood pressure.
Although hypertensive individuals are typically mindful about cutting back on sodium, sufficient potassium intake is also just as important. Honeydew melon provides a similar amount of potassium as an average-sized banana, but with half the calories.
Potassium is an essential nutrient that plays a key role in numerous body functions, such as maintaining a fluid and electrolyte balance and facilitating proper nerve conduction and muscle contraction.
A potassium-rich diet is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density, and reduction in the formation of.
Besides potassium, this sweet-tasting treat is also richly supplied with fiber, vitamin C, and choline content, all of which support heart health.
2. Beneficial for Pregnant Women
Pregnant women have to be extra careful about what they eat to ensure not just their own health but also that of their baby.
Nurturing a life inside you can be quite exacting for your body, which requires an increased intake of nutrient-rich foods to sustain a healthy fetus.
Another consideration for pregnant women is that their immunity is lowered during the gestational phase, which further necessitates the need for disease-fighting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Given its nutrient-dense and low-calorie composition, honeydew consumption can safely tackle a wide array of health concerns that become all the more threatening during pregnancy.
It can provide you with an instant spurt of energy, increase absorption of plant iron, and maintain optimal blood pressure levels by providing potassium. It may also help prevent leg cramps.
This succulent fruit is also rich in folate, which is touted as a holy-grail dietary element for expecting women. Folate is essential for the healthy growth of the fetus and helps prevent neural tube defects and certain other birth defects.
3. Promotes Heart Health
Honeydew melon can be considered a heart-healthy food, and there is enough scientific evidence to vouch for this claim.
One of the prime culprits for an increased risk of cardiovascular disease is an excess of homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine is an amino acid mainly derived from meat, which when elevated can trigger heart and kidney diseases as well as bone mineral loss.
Honeydew melon contains considerable amounts of folate and vitamin B6, both of which can help break down homocysteine and protect the body from its harmful effects.
These heart-friendly carotenoids help bring down non-HDL plasma cholesterol levels, prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines, and improve insulin sensitivity.
The cardioprotective promise of honeydew is only made more profound by the high levels of potassium present in it. Insufficient levels of this essential nutrient can lead to an irregular heartbeat or subpar blood circulation throughout the body.
4. May Improve Eye Health
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two potent phytonutrients that play a vital role in maintaining healthy eye function. Honeydew melon contains both these natural ocular aids in significant amounts.
Eating foods high in these eye health nutrients, including honeydew melon, may help lower the risk of eye-related problems such as cataracts, age-related blindness, and age-related macular degeneration, among others.
5. Hydrates the Body
Hailing from a melon fruit family, honeydew too is characteristically high in water content.
Besides the fact that it is 90 percent water-logged, this fruit is also rich in potassium, an essential electrolyte for countering the harmful effects of sodium and maintaining fluid balance in the body.
Thus, honeydew has all the makings of an ultimate thirst-quenching fruit, which can simultaneously hydrate the body at a cellular level.
No wonder that the juice of this honey-flavored succulent makes for a popular drink, particularly during the long, sweltering summer days.
6. May Boost Your Immunity
Honeydew melon provides the immune-boosting antioxidant vitamin C. In fact, a 1 cup (177 gram) serving of honeydew can supplement over half of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) of vitamin C, making it a great value addition to your daily diet.
Vitamin C plays a critical role in strengthening and supporting your body’s natural defenses along with promoting healthy brain function, aiding collagen production, and combating free radical activity.
Some research even goes on to suggest that the risk of respiratory and systemic infections, such as pneumonia and the common cold, may be lowered by maintaining a sufficient vitamin C intake.
7. Aids in Digestion
Honeydew can pass quickly through the stomach and into the small intestines for digestion because it is mainly water and carbohydrates.
It consists of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers, both of which bind with the body’s waste products and facilitate their easy and speedy elimination through proper digestive channels.
Solvent fiber accounts for its low glycemic properties as it slows the absorption of glucose in the bloodstream. This effect helps keep blood sugar within a healthy range after eating.
Moreover, soluble fiber reduces cholesterol absorption in the bloodstream by excreting it in the form of bile with the feces. This action pertains mainly to the bad kind of cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water and keeps nourishment moving all through the digestive framework. It provides the necessary roughage to our dietary intake, which ultimately helps bulk up our stools and ensures smooth and timely bowel movements.
All in all, insoluble fiber is a crucial dietary component for preventing digestive issues in addition to a few sorts of gastrointestinal ailment.
8. Nourishes the Skin
Honeydew melon supplies you with a good dose of skin-enhancing nutrients, namely vitamin C and copper.
Vitamin C is renowned for its antioxidative effects that help counter free radical damage on the skin by external pollutants and normal metabolic processes. Moreover, it helps shield the skin from UV damage induced by prolonged sun exposure.
Another key attribute of vitamin C is that it stimulates collagen synthesis, a major structural protein that is vital to the nourishment, maintenance, and repair of skin tissues and blood vessels.
Thus, maintaining healthy collagen synthesis can help beautify your skin on a cellular level.
Similarly, the trace mineral copper has been attributed with the ability to enhance skin and tissue regeneration.
If you want to optimize these beauty perks to impart your skin a healthy glow, eat plenty of honeydew melon.
9. Strengthens Bones and Teeth
Honeydew melon contains several bone-strengthening minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, which is yet another reason to give this fruit a try.
Honeydew also contains another vital micronutrient, folate, which can offset the adverse effects of homocysteine on bone mineralization. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been associated with hampered bone mineral density, thereby paving the way for osteoporosis, especially in post-menopausal women.
Thus, incorporating honeydew melon in your daily diet may help potentially delay or even reverse bone loss.
10. May Aid in Weight Loss
Anyone who is looking to shed extra weight can benefit from increasing their fruit and vegetable intake. Honeydew melon is one such fruit that can be considered weight-watchers’ friendly food.
It contains minimal calories and low levels of sodium in addition to being virtually fat-free and cholesterol-free.
Add to that its fiber and high-water content, which promote satiety. Thus, regularly incorporating such high-volume, low-calorie foods into your diet can help you cut back on unnecessary and unhealthy snacking.
The fibrous nature of this fruit allows for proper digestion of your food intake, resulting in regular and smooth bowel movements. Additionally, eating fiber-rich foods such as honeydew is an easy way to trim your daily fat intake as it fills you up relatively quickly, thereby reducing your appetite.
Because fully ripe honeydews are characterized by their honey-like sweetness, this fruit can also offer a healthy alternative to high-calorie desserts to quell your sugar cravings.
Diabetes is essentially an inability of the body to produce enough insulin or efficiently utilize insulin, which is needed to process glucose in the body.
The sugary-sweet taste of honeydew melon may lead you to believe that it is totally off-limits for people with diabetes. However, this fruit can actually help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The fruit is packed with soluble fiber, which causes a slower rate of glucose absorption. It is on account of this effect that honeydew figures low on the glycemic index and is a safe bet for satisfying the sweet cravings of those with or at the risk of diabetes.
Moreover, honeydew is a diuretic by nature due to its 90 percent water content, another property that works in favor of people with diabetes. By increasing urine flow, honeydew intake can go a long way in balancing and regulating insulin production as well as avoiding fluid retention in the body.
To make sure that honeydew does not contribute to undue spikes in blood sugar, its best to consume it with a protein, such as nuts, low-fat cottage cheese, or low-fat Greek yogurt.
Moreover, try to limit your portion size to one serving to keep your carb intake in check.
How to Prepare and Enjoy Honeydew Melon
A Few Quick Serving Ideas
- Whip up a delightfully rejuvenating drink to beat the summer heat by simply adding some sparkling water to a glass of freshly squeezed honeydew juice.
- Another mouthwatering honeydew preparation involves pureeing the fruit along with peeled soft peaches in a blender or food processor. Once the paste is ready, dilute it with a bit of honey and lemon juice and you have yourself a delicious bowl of cold soup.
- Honeydew slices with yogurt and chopped mint on top also make for a delectable snack.
- Cut half horizontal melon wedges, scoop out the seeds, and use each half as a basket in which to serve fruit salad. Remember to always wash the melon before cutting it.
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