Juicing Cantaloupes: If It’s Orange, You Should Probably Eat More of It (Includes Recipe for Naturally Treating Chrons Disease)
Next to watermelons, kids crave cantaloupes! Especially in the summertime. It’s no wonder: the rich orange-pastel and sometimes almost pale salmon-colors conjure visions of dreamsicle, but with distinctively bolder (and far more nutritious) flavors.
And you know that bright colors mean flavonoids and antioxidants (if you’ve been reading my blog)! What else do they give us? These bright-colored fruits contain zeaxanthin, lycopene, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene as a precursor to vitamin A-retinol.
While cantaloupes may not be as vibrant as, say, an orange, pomegranate or blueberry, remember that orange and yellow fruits and vegetables deliver massive amounts of carotenes (as in beta-carotene, aka Vitamin A) and carotenoids (even more Vitamin A). They also provide vitamin B1, B3 (niacin – important for our arteries), and B6, plus folate, magnesium, copper and even a bit of vitamin K. This makes cantaloupe juice a tasty addition to any juicing program seeking to improve the eyes or reduce inflammation. What(?) you say, ‘reduce inflammation?’ That’s right!
While most of know from childhood that Vitamin A is great for eyes (al-a Bugs Bunny and carrots), and some of us even know that it’s spread in the macular nerve is measured as an indicator of eye health (thus preventing macular degeneration), far fewer of us were taught that Vitamin A reduces inflammation.
Specifically (and getting kind of technical), studies show that carotenoids inhibit the production of inflammatory cytokines (such as interleukin-8), and block oxidative stress. This means that they keep the body from causing its own inflammation-response to injury.
Other research suggests that carotenoids are great for healthy skin (by preventing UV damage), and may even protect against prostate, head and neck cancers (due to ‘cucurbitacins’). While the organic acids ferulic and caffeic acid are both potent anti-aging agents.
That’s right! Cantaloupes clearly aren’t just for kids any more!
Steve’s Favorite Juice Recipe
Because I have Chrons Disease — an inflammatory disease of the intestines — I spent years searching for ways to reduce inflammation without upsetting my stomach (and without taking Prednisone or Infliximab). In 2016, I modified a few recipes and found what works for me! This juice is my cure (along with other healthy life choices — especially dietary choices). As always, cold-pressed is best!
- 1/4 Cantaloupe
- 1 Nectarines
- 1 Large Carrots
- ½ Medium-Sized Stem of Aloe Vera
Why this blend? Because a cantaloupe’s beta-carotene content can be as high as 3,138 micrograms per 100 grams of fresh weight, it’s the core of this juice (incidentally, that’s just about the most of any fruit I could locate online). I add to that other fruits and vegetables that are high in beta-carotene (carrots and nectarines). And, fresh aloe vera has a calming effect on the digestive tract I’ll cover in a future blog.
If you combine this juice with jewel-sized sweet potatoes and butternut squash (cooked!), I bet you’ll be full, and your digestive tract will calm down. And, if you’re having a chrons flare-up, eat slowly.
Oh, By The Way … The History of the Cantaloupe
So, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. When I started researching cantaloupes, some conflicting articles really confused me. Here’s why: the cantaloupes you’ve been eating most of your life? You know, the ones you buy at the grocery store and eat in “fruit plates”? They’re actually muskmelons (aka Persian melons), and are closely related to honeydew melons and watermelons.
“True cantaloupes” are enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean especially. In fact, the “cantaloupe” gets its name from a town near Rome: “Cantaloupo” (of course)! But, here in the US, muskmelons are the most common.
The clearest visual differences is in the grooving of the rind. Mediterranean cantaloupes have less of the familiar net-patterns, but have far more ribbing (as you can see in the market photo!).
Don’t worry … while chances are you haven’t been eating cantaloupe at all, I’ve written this article to conform to the good-ol’ USA’S muskmelon-cantaloupe!
The Grand Finale: 6 More Reasons to Eat Cantaloupe
- Promotes healthy cholesterol, blood pressure
- Promotes collagen formation
- Promotes proper pH balance
- Promotes a health immune system
- Promotes proper metabolic function.
- Promotes the alleviation of diabetes-induced oxidative stress.
- https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/ (vitamin a)
- Napier AB, Crosby KM and Park SO. Identifying Molecular Markers Correlating with High Beta-carotene Content in Muskmelon. HortScience, Jul 2006; 41: 1049.