We know a healthy diet packed with plenty of fruits and veggies is healthy for us; yet, blanket statements are only so helpful when you’re wondering about which foods, exactly, to eat for optimal health, or specific nutrition. Today, our focus will be on the Cantaloupe.
Cantaloupe has many benefits that are unique to it (as well as many that are also found in other melons and fruits), but the one thing that cantaloupe has in large amounts is Vitamin A. The typical serving lists that (about one “medium” wedge slice) cantaloupe has over 2300 I.U.s of Vitamin A. Compare that to a carrot – most known for its Vitamin A and beta-carotene content – which delivers over 23,000 I.U. of the stuff, an eggplant (37 I.U.), or an apple (100 I.U.) and you can see that while it’s not as high as the king carrot, it’s ranks high enough to be included in the royal carotene court.
While the nutritional information for many fruits and veggies lists Vitamin A for these sources, it’ s important to note that what they are really talking about is beta-carotene, which is a molecule that our bodies use to make our vitamin A supply (beta-carotene is readily converted to Vitamin A by the small intestine during nutritional absorption). Beta-carotene (named after the carrot from which it was first isolated) is responsible for the orange pigment in many fruits and vegetables (though it is found in non-orange foods in lesser amounts as well).
Cantaloupe, as we know, is orange, but beta-carotene isn’t all it contains. It also provides vitamins C (almost 100% of your RDA) and niacin (about 8% RDA) in decent enough amounts. But what really cool about cantaloupe, besides that it’s is deliciously refreshing when served cool on a warm afternoon, is that it’s less than 30 calories per serving! What an fantastic snack or dessert!
Walnut trees have been cultivated around the world for centuries. From Old World Europe, to Japan, to North America, to Argentina, their fruit – the walnut – has been incorporated into many different cuisines, and harvested for its strong timber. The walnut shell has been widely used also – ground to powder of varying grits, which provides the abrasion component found in cleansers and polishes from everything from jet engines to facial scrubs.
However, the benefits of the walnut reach beyond its industrial application or its side-show appearance in many cultural recipes. There are some major health benefits that are quickly become apparent from regular walnut consumption. Walnuts are a phytonutrient food, rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory constituents. One constituent in particular unique to walnuts – juglone, a quinone (quinones are naturally occurring chemicals found in many foods which act as precursors to many essential enzymes and vitamins) – was once thought to be only a toxin that acted as a natural pesticide for other would-be competitive plants. However this phytotoxin has been investigated through clinical studies and proves itself a toxin against cancer cells as well! It has shown to kill off leukemia and melanoma cancer cells and precancerous cells while leaving normal tissue unharmed, and is currently being investigated for other types of cancers and therapy options.
Walnuts are also packed with essential nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids (great for cardiovascular health and disease prevention), manganese (essential for vitamin and enzyme production and regulation), and copper (essential for proper iron absorption and transport). I also provides trace amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, zinc and selenium; and has about 2 grams of fiber, and over four grams of protein per one ounce serving. Besides, what’s could be easier than grabbing a handful of these delicious nuts for a quick on-the-go snack? At just over 180 calories, walnuts are a convenient, nutritious, and extremely beneficial food item that is often overlooked and under appreciated. Nevertheless, if working on losing weight, do not overindulge on this fantastic nut.