Experts Speak

Food For Thought : Why you should be a Melon-naire!

Reviewed by

Anagha Kulkarni

Muskmelons are beautiful, juicy, tasty and delicious fruit popular for their pleasant aroma and medicinal properties. They belong to the family of Melons and are round, firm with an yellow-orange hue.

The name Muskmelon comes from the words Musk which means Perfume in Persian and Melon, derived from the Latin word Melonem roughly meaning Round Fruit.

The Muskmelon was first seen and grown natively in parts of Persia, India, Afghanistan and Iran; but they are now grown and available all across the world. Historians say that muskmelons have been around since the 3rd century BC, and our ancestors knew and found that it could be used as food as well as a medicine.

But is it safe to consume for individuals with Diabetes? Let's find out.

Muskmelons Varieties

There are several types of melons around the world, distinguished by differences in shape and colour of their skin or rind. Some have pale yellow skin ,while others have bright yellow and green skin. Some of the most common types are -

Rock Melon

         Rock Melon

  • Rock melons are spherical to slightly oblong and average 2.5 kgs in weight.
  • Their exterior rind is hard (like a rock) and has a dusty-green tinge and the covered in a beige netting.
  • The inside contains sweet orange coloured flesh which is moderately aromatic and having a firm texture.
Cantaloupe Melon

         Cantaloupe Melon

  • Cantaloupe melons are oval to round in shape, weighing between 0.45 – 5 kg.
  • Some cantaloupes have a pale yellow-green exterior.
  • Some others may have mesh-like markings and dark stripes resembling a basketball.
  • The fruit inside ranges from light to bright orange flesh that is firm and juicy in texture .
Honeydew Melon

          Honeydew Melon

  • Honeydew melons are oval-shaped weighing between 1.8 to 3.6 kg and having a pale green exterior with a similarly coloured silky smooth flesh inside.
  • Unlike the Cantaloupes, Honeydews don’t have brightly colored flesh., but that has no bearing on their taste which is still a deliciously sweet type of melon.
Canary Melon

          Canary Melon.

  • The Canary melon is an elongated oval shaped melon with bright smooth yellow skin resembling the canary bird.
  • A Canary melon has soft light-green or yellowish flesh that is extremely juicy and succulent but not too sweet.
  • Canary melons weigh around 1.8 – 2.2 kg.

Local Names for Muskmelons

Nutrition Profile

Nutrition Profile of Muskmelon

Effect on Blood Sugar Levels

One factor that is key when choosing any Foods for Diabetes is to evaluate its Glycemic Measures. The two Glycemic Measures are the Glycemic Index and the Glycemic Load of various foods, primarily used to determine safe and suggested foods for people who are diagnosed with diabetes. These measurements consider the number of carbohydrates available in a food item and its effect on consumption to the body’s blood sugar levels.

Is Muskmelon good for diabetes? Yes the glycemic index of muskmelon is 65, which falls in the medium Glycemic Index range. This denotes that a moderate amount of this fruit is safe for one’s diabetic health. But then what makes it so good for diabetics even after having a near high Glycemic range? This is where the Glycemic Load of foods plays a crucial role. It determines the effect a food will produce on one’s blood glucose levels as per the quantity taken. Therefore, the portion or amount of food is also an important factor to pay attention to.

Even though the Glycemic Index of Muskmelon may is on the higher side, the low Glycemic Load of 3.14 nullifies it. This means by consuming small portions of muskmelon, limiting its intake to one cup or 150 gm and pairing it with healthy fats or proteins, one can avoid sugar spikes and rest assured that iit is a safe option for diabetes.

For a more in-depth explanation of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load, check out our article on The Hype about Glycemic Index.

Benefits

  • High Fiber and Vitamin C content helps in keeping the digestive system healthy and keeping ulcers, constipation, and indigestion issues at bay. Fiber is also great for keeping the blood sugars under check.
  • Minerals and Vitamins help boost the overall immunity of the body.
  • Help sin keeping the blood pressures under control and prevents the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Vitamin helps keep the lungs out of potential risk.
  • Anti-inflammatory & antioxidant properties help keep the joints/muscles safe and minimize pain relating to arthritis
  • Helps cure various dental pains, issues and tooth decay.
  • Potassium helps in combating stress and keeping the mind healthy.
  • Antioxidants helps to remove impurities, retains softness and moisture, and prevents skin outbreaks.
  • Vitamin C and A help in improving sight and keeping the vision healthy.

Natural Proprietary Actions

  • Anti-diabetic : Oxykine reduces diabetes-induced oxidative stress & renal cell injury, preventing nephropathy
  • Antioxidant : Delay and inhibit cellular damage through free radical scavenging.
  • Anti-ulcer : Employs a gastro-protective mechanism by reducing lipid peroxidation and strengthening to mucosal barrier.
  • Hepatoprotective : Improves Hepatic or Liver function and increases gluconeogenesis. Hence used in treatment of toxic and chronic hepatitis, jaundice and cirrhosis of liver.
  • Prevention of Atherosclerosis : Inhibits platelet aggregation thereby helpful in the management of cardiovascular diseases.

Therapeutic Functions

  • Used as a Purgative
  • Helps in maintaining kidney functions
  • Reduces blood pressure and prevent cardiac dysfunction
  • Possess anti-rheumatic and anti-gout properties.
  • Kernels are prescribed for stomach cancer.
  • Useful in menorrhagia.
  • Fruit pulp is employed as a lotion for chronic and acute eczema.
  • The fruit can be used as a cooling agent, cleansing agent or moisturiser for the skin.

Side Effects

  • Consuming bigger portions at the wrong time can adversely affect and spike sugar levels
  • Binging on muskmelons is not advisable as it may interfere with proper digestion
  • Muskmelons are cold in nature hence should be totally avoided or eaten in small portions if one has a cough or cold
  • Too much muskmelon is not good for individuals having renal or kidney related conditions.
  • Eating melons that have been contaminated with harmful bacteria can lead to food poisoning and infections.               

Five minute Expert Recipe

Muskmelon Salad with Curd or Yogurt

Muskmelon Scoops in Yogurt

Ingredients :

  • Muskmelon Fruit : 5-6 scoops or Cut Melon pieces 1 Cup
  • Fresh Plain Curd or Yogurt : 1 Cup
  • Lemon Juice : 2 Tablespoons
  • Seasoning (Optional) : Pinch of Salt, Pepper or Cumin Seed Powder
  • Toppings (Optional) : Fresh Mint Leaves, Walnuts, Almonds and Flax Seeds.

Preparation :

  1. Using a melon baller or a teaspoon, scoop out rounds of the muskmelon and place it aside.
  2. Take a small cup or bowl add and combine yogurt and lemon juice and stir until smooth.
  3. Add in the melon scoops made earlier into this mixture, season it with a pinch of Salt, Pepper, Cumin Seed Powder and top it with fresh mint leaves and serve chilled.

Fun Twists :

  • Sprinkle some cinnamon powder, add nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds and flax seeds to make it taste better, reduce sugar spikes and balance the glycemic load in the body.
  • You can also add the muskmelon pieces and yogurt into a Mixie Jar and blend it to a smooth creamy consistency making it into a yummy Muskmelon Lassi.

Expert's Tip to Buying the Perfect Melon
It is not always easy to know when a melon is ripe and ready to eat. Some varieties of melons only ripen on the vine, whereas others become sweeter and juicier after they are harvested. Here are a few tips on selecting the best melon everytime.

  • Inspect the skin to make sure that there is no bruising or soft patches.
  • Checking the Skin Color - Yellow melons such as canary melons should be vibrant, whereas honeydews should have a pale-yellow color. Avoid the ones that have green patches.
  • Depending on the variety, the rind color of muskmelons and cantaloupes should be light green, golden, or orange under the beige-colored netting.
  • Check the weight because heavier melons tend to be more succulent and juicier.
  • Do the smell test because popular varieties of melon such as honeydews and cantaloupes should have a fragrant, fresh aroma.
  • Gently tap the melons to make sure they have a hollow sound.

FAQs
 

1. Are Muskmelons a Diabetic Friendly Fruit ?

Muskmelons have a low glycemic load but high glycemic index. Hence it should only be added into your diet following a consultation with our Expert Health Coaches and your current glycemic or sugar levels.

2. How much Muskmelon can a Diabetic eat in a day?

If you have an active lifestyle with controlled sugars, then adding 1 small cup of muskmelon as a mid meal is good.

3. What are the Side Effects of eating Muskmelon?

Overeating of melons can lead to stomach issues like diarrhoea or indigestion. Also not helpful for kidney patients due to high potassium content.

Bottom Line

When Life gives you Melons, say Thank You!

Being nutrient-dense and containing a variety of important vitamins and minerals, Muskmelons have a wide range of both immediate and potentially long-term health benefits.  They are a strong source of Fiber, Vitamin B and Electrolytes making it a great choice for maintaining energy and controlling blood glucose levels. Although it is a fruit having a near-high glycemic index, when eaten in moderation it is helps you stay hydrated, active and alert. Research shows that consuming Muskmelon has multiple other advantages like preserving skin and hair health, lowering blood pressure, supporting heart health, eyesight during aging, improving blood-glucose metabolism and reducing oxidative stress in the kidneys. So without any further delay, start including them in your diet and make the Muskmelon a Must-Eat Melon!

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