The cantaloupe melon may have originated in India, Persia, or Africa. Christopher Columbus introduced cantaloupes into North America. The cantaloupe is thought to be named either for Cantaloup, a village in southern France, or Cantaluppi, a papal summer residence near Rome, Italy. The true cantaloupe is a European melon that is not exported to the United States, and American “cantaloupes” are actually a type of muskmelon. In South Africa it’s called a spanspek, and in Australia it’s called a rock melon. Today the United States, Turkey, Iran, and many Central American countries are the major producers of the cantaloupe or muskmelon. Pecos in Texas is world-renowned for its cantaloupe.
Nutrients in Cantaloupe
The health benefits of cantaloupe are legion. Cantaloupe is an excellent source of Vitamins A, B6 and C, and the mineral potassium. It’s also a very good source of dietary fiber, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, and thiamine. The cantaloupe extract oxykine is rich in superoxide dismutase (SOD), and studies have concluded that cantaloupe SOD extract promotes cellular antioxidant activity and protects against oxidative stress-induced cell death.
|Cantaloupe melon||Nutritional value per
100 g (3.5 oz)
|Energy||141 kJ (34 kcal)|
|* Carbohydrates||8.16 g|
|Dietary fiber||0.9 g|
|* Fat||0.19 g|
|* Protein||1.84 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||169 ?g|
|- beta-carotene||2020 ?g|
|Thiamine (Vit. B1)||0.041 mg|
|Riboflavin (Vit. B2)||0.019 mg|
|Niacin (Vit. B3)||0.734 mg|
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||0.105 mg|
|* Vitamin B6||0.072 mg|
|* Folate (Vit. B9)||21 ?g|
|Vitamin B12||0.00 ?g|
|* Vitamin C||36.7 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.05 mg|
|Vitamin K||2.5 ?g|
|* Calcium||9 mg|
|* Magnesium||12 mg|
A comprehensive breakdown of nutrients can be found in the Nutrition Database where this food can also be added to a meal planner.
Cantaloupe contains the compound adenosine, which is used in patients with heart disease as a blood-thinning agent, and also as a relief from angina.
Canteloupe and other melons are rich in folate. According to an analysis of data from the records of more than 80,000 women a diet that provides more than 400 mcg folate and 3 mg vitamin B 6 a day from either food or supplements could reduce a woman’s risk of heart attack by almost 50 percent. The results of this analysis is presumed to apply men as well.
In a study to determine the estimated Glycemic Index of various foods, it was concluded that cantaloupe has a medium GI of 65.
In 2008, there was an outbreak of food-borne illness traced to contaminated cantaloupes. It’s necessary to wash a cantaloupe before cutting, as the surface of the cantaloupe can contain harmful bacteria. Cantaloupe that has been cut should be wrapped and refrigerated, to prevent the ethylene gas that it emits from affecting the taste of other fruit and vegetables.
1. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, Joseph Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno.
2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.
4. Naito Y, et al. Reduction of diabetes-induced renal oxidative stress by a cantaloupe melon extract/gliadin biopolymers, oxykine, in mice. Biofactors. 2005;23(2):85-95. PMID: 16179750
5. Vouldoukis I, Conti M, Krauss P, Kamaté C, Blazquez S, Tefit M, Mazier D, Calenda A, Dugas B. Supplementation with gliadin-combined plant superoxide dismutase extract promotes antioxidant defences and protects against oxidative stress. Phytother Res. 2004 Dec;18(12):957-62. PMID: 15742357
6. Vouldoukis I, Lacan D, Kamate C, Coste P, Calenda A, Mazier D, Conti M, Dugas B. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of a Cucumis melo LC. extract rich in superoxide dismutase activity. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Sep;94(1):67-75. PMID: 15261965
7. Carol Ann Rinzler. The New Complete Book of Food. A Nutritional, Medical, and Culinary Guide
8. Image by giniger