Chew on This!

What Are the Benefits of Honeydew Melon?

by Sandi Busch, Demand Media

Honeydew melon makes a refreshing treat on a hot summer day, but it’s also a low-calorie and healthy choice any time you need to feed a craving for sweets. Whether enjoyed fresh or added to a fruit salad, honeydew delivers iron, B vitamins and essential nutrients.

Vitamin C

One cup of cubed honeydew provides 34 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. Free radicals are the natural byproduct of normal chemical processes, but they damage cells if they’re not neutralized by an antioxidant such as vitamin C. Damaged cells become inflamed and, over time, that can result in illnesses, including cardiovascular disease. White blood cells in the immune system secrete substances to kill bacteria, but the same substances would harm the white blood cells if not, in part, for vitamin C’s antioxidant ability to neutralize the toxins. Your body also needs vitamin C for the synthesis of collagen, which is used to support blood vessels, ligaments and skin.

Potassium

Muscles, nerves, the heart and blood vessels all rely on the presence of potassium for normal functioning. Potassium is capable of carrying an electric charge that stimulates and regulates muscle contractions and communication between nerves. In this role, potassium maintains a regular heart beat and the tone of blood vessel walls. Getting enough potassium in your diet is associated with maintaining a normal blood pressure, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. One cup of cubed honeydew has 388 milligrams of potassium, which is 8 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Vitamin B-6

Like other B vitamins, vitamin B-6 functions as a coenzyme, which means it must be present for enzymes to activate chemical processes. It’s used by more than 100 enzymes, many of which metabolize protein. Vitamin B-6 must be present for the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and sleep. It also converts an amino acid, homocysteine, into other beneficial substances, which is important because high levels of homocysteine are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. You’ll gain 12 percent of the recommended daily intake from 1 cup of honeydew melon.

Fiber

Honeydew melon contains soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps keep blood sugar balanced by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates. It also lowers cholesterol by carrying it out of the body. Insoluble fiber is the type of dietary fiber that keeps food moving through the digestive tract, preventing constipation and some types of gastrointestinal disease. One cup of honeydew melon has a total of 1.4 grams of fiber. Men need 38 grams daily, while women need 25 grams, so men get 4 percent of their recommended daily intake and women gain 6 percent.

Tips

Look for honeydew melons with a creamy white or pale cream rind. You should be able to smell the melon’s aroma if it’s fully ripened. If it’s not quite ripe, let the melon sit at room temperature for a few days. Ripe honeydew is most often enjoyed fresh, but it also works well in cold soup. Mix honeydew, watermelon, cantaloupe and lemon-lime soda for a summer smoothie. Honeydew, grapes and walnuts pair well with chicken salad.

 

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Contact Info

Rebecca (Becky) M. Tyson, Coordinator

Food, Nutrition and Wellness

School Board of Levy County

P. O. Drawer 129

Bronson, FL  32621

(352) 486-5244-Office

(352) 317-2184-Cell

(352) 486-5418-Fax