Cool, refreshing cantaloupes are a wonderful treat for a warm summer day. And you can eat your fill, knowing that with every delicious bite you’re helping your bones to several Foundation Supplements, including Vitamin C and polyphenols.
Since summer’s just around the corner, now is a perfect time to start enjoying this colorful fruit. Although most supermarkets sell cantaloupes year-round, out of season fruits have to be imported, so you’ll find the best and sweetest local cantaloupes in the summer.
And as is true with all fruits and vegetables, the fresher the cantaloupe, the more nutrients it contains.
C’s the Key to Cantaloupe’s Bone Healthy Goodness
Just one cup of cubed cantaloupe contains almost 68 mg of Vitamin C. That is over 100% of the current Recommended Daily Allowance of 60 mg.
But Vitamin C is such an important vitamin and antioxidant that it is better to err on the high side especially since it is water-soluble and therefore, we don’t store in the body. So as I write in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program, I suggest taking a daily supplement of 500 mg. You’ll notice that most multivitamins typically stick to the RDA, so you can take an additional dose… and a couple of servings of cantaloupe is a great way to get even more!
You might think of Vitamin C in terms of its ability to prevent the common cold. But Vitamin C plays an essential role in bone health. This multi-tasking vitamin, also known as ascorbic acid, is crucial for the production of collagen that maintains – among other things – healthy bones and cartilage.
You see, without sufficient Vitamin C, collagen can’t be formed properly.1 Since osteoblasts manufacture and secrete collagen to bind the bone matrix cells together, Vitamin C plays an important role in bone health. And let’s not forget about the well-known and thoroughly documented role of Vitamin C helping the immune system.
Cantaloupe is only one source of Vitamin C and a Foundation Food in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple, watermelon, papaya, guava, kiwi, cantaloupe, cabbage, tomatoes, broccoli, sweet bell peppers, and cauliflower are other Vitamin C-rich and mouth-watering choices to help build your bones.
Cantaloupes are also listed in the Program as an excellent source of polyphenols, a class of plant antioxidants that play a confirmed role in increasing bone density by boosting the production of osteoblasts. Amazingly, several thousand types of polyphenols have been identified in plants, but only hundreds in fruits and vegetables.
Other good food sources of polyphenols include apples, blackberries, cherries, grapes, pears, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, celery, onions, and parsley.
Tip: Fully ripened cantaloupes yield the highest level of antioxidants.
Other Important Nutrients
Cantaloupes are also an excellent source of beta-carotene (yet another important antioxidant) and potassium (an alkalizing mineral), as well as Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), and folate.
A Cantaloupe by Any Other Name
Did you know that what we refer to as cantaloupe in the U.S. is actually a muskmelon? A “true cantaloupe” is a specific type of melon that’s grown only in Europe and is not generally exported to the U.S. For the purposes of this article, I’m talking about U.S. cantaloupe, or muskmelon.
Speaking of names, if you’re in Australia, you probably know these treats as rockmelons.
Can’t Eat Cantaloupes?
As wonderful as cantaloupes are, they’re just one choice among many in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program. So if you’re allergic, or even if you just don’t like them, don’t feel that you have to eat them to succeed on the program. There are many delicious ways to get all of the nutrients your bones need – no single food is required.
Did you know that cut fruits retain most of their nutritional content for six days (and sometimes up to nine days)? A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found this to be the case. Interestingly, fresh cut fruits often appear to be spoiled before there’s been any significant nutrient loss. That means you can enjoy the convenience of cutting up a cantaloupe or adding it to a fruit salad and eating it later that day or the next day.
Here are a few tips to help you find the freshest cantaloupes:
- Your nose knows. Sniff the stem end – a good cantaloupe will have that “cantaloupe” smell.
- No stems. The stem end should be smooth, with a slight indentation. If there’s any roughness or stem remaining, that means the cantaloupe was picked prematurely. And the other end should be slightly soft to the touch.
- Avoid shriveled or overly bruised fruits.
Cleaning and preparing cantaloupes:
- It’s important to wash cantaloupe before cutting them, as bacteria can collect on the surface (this is true of all melons).
- Be sure to refrigerate the cut melon if you’re not going to eat it right away.
- Fill a halved cantaloupe with fresh fruit salad. This can make an elegant appetizer or a casual snack, especially topped with a dollop of plain yogurt and a sprig of fresh mint.
- Make a refreshing smoothie by blending cantaloupe, plain yogurt, lemon juice, crushed ice, and a touch of honey. If you have digestive issues, don’t mix dairy with fruits, so use your favorite fruit juice, non-dairy milk substitute (almond milk, for example), or water instead.
And for my favorite summer serving suggestion, try my Cool Cantaloupe Soup.
Cool Cantaloupe Soup
2 cups orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Peel, seed, and cut up cantaloupe.
In blender or food processor, mix cantaloupe pieces with 1/2 cup orange juice. Cover and blend until smooth.
Transfer to large bowl and stir in lime or lemon juice, cinnamon, and remaining orange juice.
Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Garnish with mint or your favorite herb.
1 Biochemistry. Lubert Stryer. Third Edition, 1988. W.H Freeman and Co. NY , NY.
Comments on this article are closed.
My husband & I have discovered that PRICE-RITE is a bargain place to buy good olive oil in our area.
I was diganosed with osteoporosis and am on fosamax Can i still use the natural remedies?
Thank You for constantly sending very useful informatio for the best of my bones.
I have continued to loose bone density reported in my recent test. Now I am going to try weights, as walking and my other exercising was not helping.I am using two and three pound hand weights, also continuing my yoga. I feel stronger, and hope my new routine is helping. I really have enjoyed learning your exercises.
Thank you. Elva
I love cantaloupe, I eat it almost everyday
for breakfast and dinner mixed with other fruits, thanks for the information.
Hi Vivian – I recently saw a review on http://www.consumerlab.com that Algae Cal wasn’t approved because of its lead content and not labeling the soy ingredient. Could you please comment on this. Thanks.
I almost never eat melons, but with this good news, I will force myself to eat them more often. Thank you Vivian for sharing this good news.
you mentioned vit c and presume you know all about Lypo-Spheric vit c and wondered if you have first hand experience of this easily absorbed kind..
Thanks Vivian for info on Bone Health and Cantaloupe nutrients. I would like to know what is the best way to ripen it once we get it home. How can we tell if it is ready? Usually I have to wait like 2 weeks or more before it maybe ready. Sometimes it is still hard or chewy or unevenly ripe inside. Thanks for all your help. Great info.
I thought plastic wrap (like clingfilm) should not actually touch the food.
I just leave the melon on the counter.
It will ripen in a few days. If I’m not going to use the whole melon, I just cut out a wedge and leave the seeds in the melon and wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it. The melon stays fresher, longer.I do the same thing with peppers.
Just wrap them tightly with plastic wrap.
thanks again for the great information on cantalopes and bone-health
Is mineral water good for your bones?
Every day, more information is being published concerning Food Combining and GMO Foods. I’m reading that melon fruit should never be combined with any other fruit or any other food, and not eaten 2-3 hrs. before or after eating any other type of food. Other fruits, although can be eaten together, should also not be eaten approx 2-3 hours before or after eating other types of food. NOT A PROBLEM. It also appears that the majority of the foods we consume anyway are genetically modified, and even some of the food ingredients contained in organically labeled foods, “USDA Organic”, also may contain some GMO components. A SERIOUS PROBLEM! Please comment. Thanks.
Dear Vivian, Thank you for your information you give to us! I am wanting so much to eat foods high in Calcium and love juicing greens, carrots, celery and an apple in one drink. But I have been wondering about spinach, kale, collards(?), bok choy, etc., which are reported to have oxalic acid that blocks absorption of calcium. I really want to know this as I have this every day. Thank you so much. All the best, Sherry
I think Vivian has said that the oxalic acid in spinach or probably any other food is not enough to worry about and to go ahead and enjoy your spinach. I had the same question as I was worried about having it for lunch and then taking calcium at the same time. I don’t think it’s that much of a problem. I’m guilty of worrying too much.
I have a book entitled “Vinegar.” It contains many ideas for household use. One recipe tells of a perfect way to get calcium. Wash 2-3 eggs, and cover them with cider vinegar for a couple of days. The vinegar dissolves the egg shells, remove the raw eggs, and take the mix as a calcium supplement. Vinegar is very acidic…is it not? This sounds like a good idea, but wouldn’t the acid in the vinegar cause your bones to leech calcium?
I am having a problem with eating calcium producing foods such as collards, kale, almonds,spinach as they also have oxalic acid which is not so good for my low hemoglobin. If the foods are cooked does this lower the oxalic acid in them?
Another tip for cantelope lovers; it is very low in calories, which is another plus for this melon. Thanks for the info Vivian.It is always a pleasure to receive your E-mails. I always look forward to receiving them.
I find this blog interesting sine the foods listed are among my favorites. I notice that you have not mentioned oatmeal in any of your blogs on food. this is another of my favorite foods and I would like to know if this helps in the building of our bones.
I enjoy oatmeal each morning. I top it with flaxseed, 1/4c chopped almonds and 1/4c raisins. I use 3/4c water and 1/4c almond milk to 1/2c outmeal, then microwave it. I also have a banana and 1/2 grapefruit or other alkalizibng fruit. Sometimes I put sliced strawberries on the outmeal as well. Very filling and yummy! You don’t have to give up oatmeal!
Sounds like a great breakfast to me and yummy..I do something very simular but blend it all in my Blend tec with Sprilina and a few other nutrients, as I love my oatmeal.
Phyllils, oatmeal is considered an acidic food, but still very healthy. Say, at breakfast, combine cooked oatmeal with four other fruits like banana, and strawberries, maybe some honey. Then have some cantaloupe and grapefruit servings on the side, and you have your 80/20 ratio of acid to alkaline and a very healthy start to the day. This is all outlined in the book.
What great information. I believe in the 80/20 or 75/25 alkaline/acid should be the lower.
You said that the cantaloupe we have are actually muskmelon. I disagree as when I was a child and living on a farm my parents raised both cantaloupe and muskmelon. The cantaloupe has the smooth skin as we can buy in stores while muskmelon has a ridged skin and is much sweeter than the cantaloupe and is jucier.