Make the most of melons

The moment the word ‘melon’ is uttered, we are bound to visualise the red and juicy watermelons, and as an afterthought, the yellow flesh of muskmelons. While watermelons and muskmelons are seasonal, there are other melons that are available throughout the year.

Did you know that gourds belong to the melon family? That includes ash gourd, bitter gourd, bottle gourd and snake gourd. While you may refuse to believe it, it does not change the fact that they are, indeed, fruits! Call them fruits, call them vegetables, call them what you will; the point is to include them as an integral part of your regular diet.

Besides being easy on the stomach, melons of all kinds are packed with many significant nutrients:

Melons contain an anticoagulant, called adenosine, which is very good for the heart. Adenosine has the ability to stop the clotting of blood cells, which is the common cause of strokes and heart diseases.

Melons are rich in potassium, a nutrient that helps to regulate heart beat and blood pressure level.

They are a good source of citrulline, that helps to make the amino acid arginine, which plays an essential role in immune function. Therefore, melons help build immunity.

Melons are packed with vitamins - A, B and C - as well as contain  protein, calcium and phosphorus.

The water content of melons aids in digestion. As most melons are 90 percent or more water, they have a very calming and soothing effect on the digestive system, and help relieve heartburn. 

They are a valuable source of lycopene, one of the carotenoids, which is helpful in preventing
cancers. It reduces the risk of prostate, lung, colon, breast and endometrial cancers.