Cantaloupe may ward off the effects of age-related macular degeneration
Dmitry Kalinovsky/shutterstock A mounting body of research shows that eating the right foods can help ward off age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of legal blindness in people over age 60, according to the American Optometric Association. Studies show that the development of the disease is linked to depleted macular pigment, the retinal layer that filters out harmful blue light waves and reduces the number of free radicals in the macular area. “Antioxidants like zeazanthin and lutein found in cantaloupe have been shown to protect the eye and scavenge free radicals in the retina,” says Hultin. Another study shows that eating three servings of fruit a day affects eye health and decreases the risk of age-related macular degeneration. As an added boost, vitamin C, also found in cantaloupe, has been shown to slow the progression of cataracts. Find out other foods that prevent macular degeneration.
Cantaloupe is good for your heart
Branislav Nenin/shutterstock Cantaloupe contains several ingredients—fiber, potassium, and vitamin C—that contribute to keeping our heart healthy. “Foods high in fiber help control blood pressure and lower LDL, the bad cholesterol,” says Majumdar. Just one cup of cubed cantaloupe contains 1.5 grams of fiber or five percent of the daily requirement, explains Hultin. “If you have it for breakfast or a snack, you are on your way to meeting the national fiber recommendations.” Consuming foods that are high in potassium help to lower blood pressure and may reduce the risk of stroke, the formation of kidney stones, and protect against loss of muscle mass and bone mineral density. “Potassium helps lower blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium,” says Majumdar. Cantaloupe and other fruits are part of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which helps to lower blood pressure. Find out other foods that are beneficial for your heart.
Cantaloupe helps with digestion
puhhha/shutterstock Cantaloupe contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, which work together for bowel health, helping to prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract. “Cantaloupe, as well as other foods with fiber, act as food for gut bacteria,” says Majumdar. Having a healthy digestive tract helps ward off conditions such as diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome, and eating a high-fiber diet has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. The Institute of Medicine recommends consuming 21 to 38 grams of fiber daily (depending on calorie needs, age, and sex), and cantaloupe offers about 1.5 grams of fiber in one cup of melon balls. “Eating foods that contain fiber rather than taking a fiber supplement helps us get different types of fiber,” says Majumdar.