Nature has blessed us with its bounty and the easiest, simplest and scrumptious ways that we can take advantage of this nature’s blessings are eating fruits. Fruits play a major role in our health and overall well-being. It not only helps us keep healthy, fit and active, they also aid us ward off numerous health hazards like heart ailments, cancers and cardiovascular diseases. All dieticians, nutritionists and health experts recommend a healthy intake of fruits in our daily diet. One such highly nutritious fruit that we all know is Cantaloupe. The Aussies call it Rock Melon, in the African continent it is known as Spanspek, but technically worldwide it is known by the name of ‘Muskmelon’.
The name cantaloupe actually was given to it by the people where it was first grown around 300 year ago – Cantalup in Italy. Being sweet in nature and aroma, it is regarded as one of the most nutritious fruit of the melon family. Enriched with the goodness of high quality and quantity Vitamin A and C, folate and potassium, it is a dream antioxidant for health specialists. A typical summer fruit, Muskmelons are also very high in water content.
The fruit, when consumed in moderate quantities throughout summer can be great way to eat healthy, stay hydrated and stay fit.
Here are the most prominent health benefits of eating cantaloupe – Muskmelons:
1. Muskmelons are very high in water contents - It contains almost 80% water, which helps us keeping hydrated during the hot summer months and keeps us full too. This means that when we stick up on muskmelons we will have no desire to eat unnecessarily any high calorie foods. Its high fibre contents helps keep satiated and considerably reduces any unwanted food cravings.
2. It is a rich source of vitamin C - It is said that the fruit is so rich in vitamin C, that only a cup of it can fulfil 100% daily dose requirement. Vitamin C is an important vitamin for the growth and development of bones, muscles, cartilage and blood vessels. Studies also suggest that the vitamin is very instrumental for people with asthma, diabetes and cancers.
3. Muskmelons also have adequate amounts of potassium - This aspect of muskmelons have great impacts of making us look leaner and slim. Potassium is important in the body for eliminating sodium from the body, which causes water retention. Eating muskmelons also eliminates unnecessary fluids in the body that causes bloating and makes us look heavier and heftier.
4. It has the highest amount of beta-carotene - than any other fruit like Grape fruits, oranges, peaches, apricot and mangoes – are all rich sources of beta-carotene (a carotenoid that gives fruits and vegetables its typical orange-yellow colour and is also considered to be rich in antioxidant properties to fight diseases causing free radicals in the body). Muskmelons knocks down all of these in the quantity of the carotenoid. It is said that it has the same amount of beta-carotene as carrots.
5. Endless list of vitamins and minerals - Apart from the above, musk melons enrich our bodies with many other essential vitamins and minerals and the list is truly endless. Vitamin K, niacin, choline, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and not to forget, just a cup contains almost 1.5 gms of proteins too.
Ways of consuming Muskmelons
Muskmelons are seasonal fruits and only available fresh from May-June till around September – the summer period. Beyond enjoying the freshness of Muskmelons in the traditional ways of eating sliced or in a fruit salad, discover some great ways of consuming them:
1. Melons the Kebab way - Skewer dices of the melon, marinate them with some tandoori marination and charcoal grill them. Enjoy with some healthy mint and yoghurt dressing.
2. As a soup: Make a chilled melon soup - Puree muskmelons, mint, lemon juice, celery and seasonings. Either freeze it for some time or add ice cubes in the puree. Serve as an appetizer. The best way to have them in its natural state.
3. As a delicious salad - Add some dices of cantaloupes in your favourite chicken and lettuce salad or add some in a pine apple salad with some feta cheese. Enjoy them for a wholesome meal.
4. Crispy Melons - Cut some wedges of the melon without the skin and dip those in a rice flour batter and shallow fry them till golden brown. Serve with some herb and mint dip.
5. The fruit dessert way - Get some slices of the melon, add some healthy bananas, strawberries and mangoes. Top with a handsome dollop of low-fat frozen yoghurt and serve instead of a sweet dessert. What a way to enjoy desserts after meals.
6. Mexican melon salsa rolls - Make melon salsa with muskmelons instead of tomatoes, mint, lemon juice, cilantro and peppers. Spread the mix on a corn tortilla graciously and evenly. Dress it up well with lettuce, home-made vegetable tikkis and melted low fat cheese. Roll it up and serve with extra melon salsa by the side.
7. Chicken and candid musk melon skewers - Take a few morsels of chicken, marinate them in low-fat cream, low-fat cheese, lemon juice and seasons. Dry roast them on a charcoal grill or an oven Grill some musk melon chunks and grill them in a sandwich grilled for around a minute just to add colour without any butter or oil. Skewer them is a bamboo stick with the cooked chicken and serve with yoghurt and mint dip and fresh onion slices.
8. Melon Smoothie - Well this is perhaps the easiest. Any fruit smoothie you make, add some musk melons into it along with some organic honey. It goes good with berries and peaches as well. Enjoy!! There is no end of creating ways to enjoy anything that is healthy and sumptuous. Just make sure that it is palatable and also a visual treat. Anything that looks good, tastes good too.