08 July, 2011
To get the maximum amount of nutrition in your diet, you need to choose your calories carefully. Cantaloupe is a nutritious addition to a healthy diet because it provides large amounts of nutrients and has few calories. It is a surprisingly versatile fruit. Keep it on hand for a nutritious snack or for an appetizer that can be a part of many meals.
Cantaloupes are a type of melon. What you know as a cantaloupe is likely a muskmelon because true cantaloupes are not commercially grown in the United States, according to the Cooperative Extension Service at the University of Kentucky. You’ll recognize it by the netted appearance of the rind. They are round, and typically weigh a little over 1 lb. The fruit inside is a creamy light-orange, and it has a delicately sweet scent. It is often served cut in half with the seeds scooped out, diced or scooped into balls.
When you eat a cantaloupe, you can enjoy the entire melon without worrying about consuming excess calories because one medium-size melon contains only 188 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A typical serving of cantaloupe is 1 cup or wedge of the fruit included with other fruits or as a side dish.
While cantaloupes are low in calories, per calorie, they have a high amount of sugar. One medium cantaloupe contains 45 g carbohydrate, 43 of which are sugars. You might want to limit your consumption of cantaloupe to a 1 cup serving for this reason. One cup of cantaloupe contains 53 calories and 12 g sugars. A medium cantaloupe also provides 5 g fiber and 4.5 g protein. Cantaloupes contains only 1 g of fat.
Cantaloupes are a good source of potassium, containing 1,474 mg. You’ll also get 202 mg of vitamin C and a whopping 11,150 mcg of beta carotene. Calorie for calorie, you can’t do much better if you want to add more of this nutrient to your diet. Diets that are rich in foods containing beta carotene and other carotenoids can reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Cantaloupes also contain trace amounts of many other vitamins and minerals.
On a healthy diet, you want to make the most of the calories you eat. Whether a cantaloupe is tasty or not depends on its ripeness. Select ripe cantaloupes because unlike many other fruits, they do not continue to ripen once they have been picked. When selecting a cantaloupe, sniff the fruit. If it is ripe, you should smell a slightly sweet aroma. You can also press your finger against the blossom side, which is opposite of the stem. A ripe cantaloupe will respond to pressure and give slightly. Avoid melons with soft spots or obvious punctures.
Cantaloupes are frequently used in fruit salad, accompanying strawberries, kiwi fruit and other colorful fruits. Wedges of cantaloupe are often used as a garnish. You can also use cantaloupe in frozen summer treats such as sorbets and granitas. They make colorful appetizers, and provide a tasty mix of sweet and savory when wrapped in a slice of prosciutto ham. You can even use them as a base for a chilled dessert soup or chopped in a fruity salsa.
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