Veggies and Fruit

A Complete Guide to the Types and Health Benefits of Melons

a bunch of watermelons stacks on each other

Melons are one of the common fruits used worldwide for different purposes. From using them in salads to incorporating them in medicines, this fruit has endless uses.

If we look back at its history, it is believed that melons have been around since the ancient Egyptian types. From Africa to Asia, it is found everywhere.

Melons are highly versatile and have many types and sub-types, each being more special than the other. If you want to learn more about this blessed fruit, then stick around till the end.

Classes of Melons

Melons belong to the plant family of Cucurbitaceae. This is the same class where cucumbers and squashes reside. So in a way, you can say that melons are cousins of squashes.

There are two broad classes of melons:CitrullusLanatus and Cucumus melon. Both of them are commonly known as watermelons and muskmelons, respectively. For better understanding, let’s discuss each class separately.

1. Watermelons

Watermelons are quite easy to identify. As the name suggests, it has a high content of water. So much so it is nearly 90% water. With its green exterior and juicy red flesh, it is through and through an amazing fruit.

2. Muskmelons

Unlike watermelons, it is difficult to recognize a muskmelon. It is yet another sweet treat hidden inside a hard shell. It has many varieties that differ in taste, shape, color, and size. But they all share one trait, that is, a delicious taste.

Types of Melons

Every year in the summertime, nearly 20 different kinds of melons are harvested in bulk quantities. These refreshing fruits are a delicacy on scorching hot days. People in every corner of the world love and enjoy this treat during summers. Out of dozens of types of this plant, the famous ones are listed below:

1. Cantaloupes

This type of melon is readily available in the market. It has grey-green stripes on the outside and sweet orange flesh inside. Cantaloupes are again divided into two subtypes: North American cantaloupes and the European cantaloupes.

2. Ha’Ogen Melons

This one is named after Israel from where it is produced. It has a green exterior, which changes into yellow as the fruit ages. Like other melons, it also possesses a sweet tropical taste that leaves the eater speechless.

3. Ananas

This is a middle-eastern kind of melon, which was named after pineapple to represent its tropical taste. It is harder as compared to other melons but in no way any inferior in the taste department.

4. Honey Globe Melons

As the name implies, this fruit has the shape of a globe. And again, as the name suggests, it has heavy sugar content. Similar to honeydew, it has a very sweet taste. Its white exterior makes it stand out from the rest of the types.

Moreover, in all its uniqueness, it does cost much higher than the others.

5. Canary Melons

Canary melon is oval-shaped. It is a bright yellow melon with a hard rind and a waxy feel to touch. The inner flesh is green, and the taste has a tangy twist to it. One can also say that it is similar to a pear in taste.

6. Honeydew Melons

As the name suggests, this melon is amazingly sweet to taste. It has a higher sugar content as compared to other fruits. As it matures, its flesh becomes sticky and quite velvety to touch.

The popularity of Honeydew melons is based on the preferences of the consumer. If a person likes sweets, he’ll like this melon as well.

7. Watermelons

All-time famous fruit, watermelon has dozens of sub-types. All of them differ in size, shape, color, and hardness. But when it comes to taste, they are pretty much all the same. Some contain seeds while others are seedless, but anyhow, every single one of them tastes delicious.

8. Snap Melon

Known for their healing properties, snap melons are produced in Asia. Because to grow properly, they need dry weather.Their flesh has a tangy taste that is different from all the other types. In addition to that, they are unique but in a good way.

9. Santa Claus Melon

Santa Claus melon, or more commonly known as Christmas melon, is a delicacy of Spain. It has a striped green rind and a white-yellow flesh. It resembles honeydew in taste, but in a subtle way. So if you find honeydew to be too sweet, you should try this one.

10. Winter Melons

This type of melon is slow-ripening and non-fragrant. It takes a while to mature and has a harder rind as compared to the rest. It may require some more work, but the result obtained is verily worth it.

11. Ambrosia Melons

As the name suggests, ambrosia melons are a true delicacy. They have a soft orange flesh with a taste that takes you into a new dimension. The minute you take a bite of it, it melts in your mouth, filling with its amazing flavor.

How To Tell When a Melon is ready to Consume?

Melons are delicious, true. But there is a fine line between a fairly ripe melon and an unripe fruit. Even a few hours can entirely change the taste and texture of a melon. You must choose a fruit that is ready to eat and ripe according to your taste palate.

This task seems easy, but in reality, it is quite challenging to observe the ripeness and texture of a melon. But worry not, we will guide you in this regard too.

Every type of melon has a different way to represent its ripeness. For better understanding, each of them is discussed separately.

For honeydews, the rind color is the marker of its ripeness. As it matures, the rind changes color from green to creamy yellow. Moreover, its exterior becomes waxy and sort of slippery. If you see this type of melon, pick it as fast as you can.

Things are a little different for cantaloupes and muskmelons. It is fairly easy because the plant does the job for you. When the fruit is ready to eat, it falls off from the plant, leaving a dish-like scar on the rind. At this moment, it has the maximum flavor, and you can enjoy it any way you want.

Lastly, let’s understand the concept of watermelon ripeness. When a watermelon is fully ripe, the leaf right along the fruit will turn brown and curl away. It may seem absurd, but it is true. Also, sometimes the portion of the ground where the fruit rests turns yellow. Now, these signs are subtle and hard to notice, but if you pay close attention, the results will be worth the hassle.

With all the mentioned tips, we hope you manage to get a perfectly ripe melon every time.

Health Benefits of Melons

Consuming melons regularly can turn around a person’s life. They are not only packed with a refreshing flavor, but they also hold great benefits.  While we can’t talk about every single health benefit of this superfood, we will try to highlight the best ones in the following list:

  • Source of Lycopene

Watermelon contains lycopene in abundant quantities. It is the compound that adds the red color to different fruits like tomatoes and guava. According to research, it is one of the most beneficial compounds that are naturally obtained.

Lycopene improves many health conditions, including heart problems. It is a powerful antioxidant that not only gets rid of inflammation but also boosts up several healthy responses in the body. It has all kinds of benefits ranging from skin health to bone density.

  • Anti-cancer Properties

Melons are a good source of carotenoid, an element that can naturally prevent conditions like cancer. It is observed that it effectively reduces the chances of prostate and breast cancer. Moreover, lycopene has anti-cancer properties too.

  • Helps Control Diabetes

Just like other fruits, melons are rich in healthy sugars. Due to this, it satisfies your sugar cravings without raising the blood sugar levels. Also, the fiber content in the fruit produces a feeling of fullness. This helps diabetic patients to control their sugar levels while satisfying their sweet tooth at the same time.

  • Improves Gut Functions

Many nutrients from melons, such as fiber, water, and different vitamins, significantly improve gut functions. It cleanses the digestive tract and brings back the balance that is usually disturbed by other unhealthy choices.

  • Protection of Kidney

If you want to maintain healthy kidneys, try incorporating melons in your diet. Its potassium content works as a diuretic, while the water cleans everything. Both of these actions significantly improve the overall health of the kidneys.

  • Comfort to Stomach Aches

As discussed earlier in this article, our digestive system gets exhausted with heavy junk foods. This causes stomach aches and disturbed bowel movements. But if you regularly consume melons, its water will wash everything, and act as a cleanser for your digestive tract.

  • improves Skin Health

Melons naturally contain a good amount of collagen that helps improve skin conditions and brings back its elasticity. According to research, if you suffer from chronic skin conditions, try adding more foods like melons in your diet.

  • Anti-nauseating Properties

Melons provide great relief in morning sickness. The nausea is effectively reduced with the consumption of melon in small quantities.

  • Source of Water

Dehydration is a common problem. It proves to be the root of many other conditions like dryness, acne, constipation, infections, and whatnot. Melons can readily reduce this problem and even solve it in a small period.

  • Prevention or Control of Hypertension

As stated above, melons contain potassium. Potassium in them works as a diuretic and controls the blood pressure in vessels. Also, according to research, the citrulline in the melons helps prevent atherosclerosis.

So, if someone is already hypertensive, it complements the medications. But if someone is on the verge of getting this disorder, it can help prevent it as well.

Risks and Precautions

It is a common saying that excess of anything is dangerous, but could that be applicable for fruit like melon? Well yes, just like every other field of life, this quote is relevant for melons too.

While there are excellent benefits of this fruit, there are some risks and precautions that are attached to its over-consumption. Some of such side-effects are listed below:

  • May Spike Your Blood Sugar Levels

Even though it is preferred for a person to eat fruits as their primary source of sugar intake, it should be kept in mind that they are still highly sweet. And while melons will help you satisfy your craving for a sweet treat, you shouldn’t go overboard with it.

Or else it can spike up the blood sugar levels in your body, leading to several problems, especially for diabetic patients.

  • High Water Content

As discussed above, melons have an abundant quantity of water. On the one hand, this is a good thing. But on the other hand, this property can be misused.

People use melons, or more specifically, watermelons to lose weight. The water content makes them feel fuller and satisfied, thus leading to weight loss.

But little do they know, it only sheds away from their muscle mass, although fat is the real culprit of weight gain and obesity.

  • Hyperkalemia

Melons, and as a matter of fact, many other fruits are a rich source of potassium. This element provides many benefits to the body, but if taken in huge quantities, it can lead to hyperkalemia. Meaning, it will raise the potassium content in the body, which in turn can cause many side effects like nausea and fatigue.

In a Nutshell

Melons are an underrated fruit that deserves the attention of all kinds. There are various types of melons, and each one proves to be better than the other. It is a rich source of water, lycopene, and other nutrients. In addition to that, melons have many health benefits, including stroke prevention and blood pressure reduction.

This fruit is harvested in the summers, which is quite a perfect time for its refreshing qualities. It doesn’t require much effort to grow, and unlike some other fruits, it is harvested everywhere from Africa to Asia.

Melons are highly versatile. Whether you want to enjoy a fruit cocktail or indulge in a sweet fruit salad, there is a type of melon for every situation.

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