Summer is here and it is a hot one in the southern states! One of my favorite foods to bring along on summer picnics is cantaloupe. It is so easy to dice up and toss into a bowl to take along. Or better yet, thread it on skewers with other fruits and serve at your next outdoor gathering. Cantaloupe is so healthy with many amazing benefits, not to mention its high water content which can ward off the heat and prevent dehydration during those hot summer months.

Benefits of Cantaloupe:

  • Zeaxanthin, an antioxidant found in cantaloupe, plays a protective role in eye health and may ward off macular degeneration.
  • The high fiber and water content of cantaloupe helps prevent constipation and maintain intestinal health.
  • One cup of cantaloupe has almost 100% of the daily allowance for vitamin C, which is necessary for building and maintaining collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is regarded as the substance that holds the whole body together and can be found in the bones, muscles, skin and tendons.
  • Cantaloupe is beneficial for skin and hair because it contains Vitamin A. Vitamin A (retinol) is necessary for new growth of skin and hair and keeps hair moisturized and healthy. It is also important for eye health and a strong immune system.
  • The nutrient choline in cantaloupes is a very important nutrient. It aids our bodies in sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat, and reduces chronic inflammation.
  • Asthma sufferers, and those people at risk of developing asthma,  would do well to add cantaloupe to their diets. Beta-carotene, a nutrient found in yellow and orange produce, may lower the risk of asthma when consumed at a high rate. Vitamin C, also found in cantaloupe, may also protect against asthma.
  • Eating cantaloupe can support heart health. Cantaloupe contains potassium which helps to decrease blood pressure. Potassium is also associated with a reduced risk of stroke.
  • The potassium content in cantaloupe can also protect against loss of muscle mass, the preservation of bone mineral density, and the reduction of kidney stones.

Adding plant foods, such as cantaloupe, to your diet can decreases your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, while promoting healthy skin and hair and increased energy. On your next trip to the grocery store, be sure to add a few cantaloupes to your cart. Your body will thank you!

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