The Health Benefits Of Cantaloupe: Why Athletes Should Eat It
Health Benefits of Cantaloupe
Fruit is nature’s way of satisfying a sweet tooth. And like any good mother, Mother Nature always has your best interest in mind. Fruits like cantaloupe provide a naturally sweet option that offers vitamins for immune strength, collagen production, and wound healing (vitamins A & C) and minerals for improved blood pressure (like potassium).
This low calorie, low cholesterol, fat-free, hydrating fruit adds one more way to make eating healthy in the long run attainable.
Athlete highlight: Cantaloupe is 90% water. Chunks of cantaloupe and avocado tossed with a vinaigrette and sprinkled with feta are a great way to recover and rehydrate after a hard training session.
3 Reasons Why Athletes Should Eat Cantaloupe
Red blood cell formation.
Vitamin A and folate within cantaloupe assist the body in the creation of red blood cells. An adequate supply of red blood cells helps deliver oxygen to the muscles, reducing perceived effort during activity
Folate coenzymes are required for the metabolism of several important amino acids, namely methionine, cysteine, serine, glycine, and histidine.
A serving of cantaloupe provides over 100% of vitamins A and C, both which contribute to a strong immune system, so you never miss a day of training.
Reference: Higdon, Jane. “Folate.” Linus Pauling Institute, 29 May 2018
What is Cantaloupe
Cantaloupe is a delicious and juicy melon that is in season from April through December. The dry regions of California are the perfect growing grounds for cantaloupe. In fact, California produces 75% of the US supply.
Related: How to Improve Sleep & Recovery With One Fruit
Most of us have tried cantaloupe on its own or as part of a fruit salad. Now it’s time to up your game. Throw it on salads, grill it on kabobs, make it into a chia breakfast pudding and now you’re talkin’. But there’s more to cantaloupe than taste and versatility. This summer favorite can help athlete performance and maintain overall health.
Incorporate the Health Benefits of Cantaloupe: Simple Recipes
No one can deny the pleasure involved in biting into a juicy slice of sweet cantaloupe. But like many fruits and vegetables, cantaloupe can be applied in sweet and savory dishes--even being stuck on skewers and grilled. If this is news to you, it’s time to get in-the-know.
Breakfast: Chia Pudding with Cantaloupe
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ½ cup chopped cantaloupe
- Combine milk and chia seeds in a bowl and mix well. Add a dash of cinnamon or vanilla extract if desired.
- Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator. Allow to set for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, mix gently and return to the fridge to chill for 2 more hours, or up to overnight.
- Top with cantaloupe before serving.
Tip: Save time and make 3-4 servings so breakfast is set for the week. Top with different berries for variety. Cantaloupe goes very well with blueberries!
Related: 5 Race-Day Breakfast Mistakes to Avoid
Lunch: Crisp Summer Cantaloupe Salad
- 1/2 cup cucumber
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 medium red onion
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Salt + black pepper, just a pinch
- 3-4 cups cantaloupe
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch sea salt
- Wash and thinly slice cucumber, tomato, and onion, then add to a small mixing bowl.
- Top with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine and place in refrigerator to chill.
- Whisk together lime juice, maple syrup, and sea salt, then slowly stream in olive oil while whisking to combine. Set aside.
- Wash cantaloupe. Cut open, seed, and cut into chunks about ½ inch in size. Add cantaloupe to a large serving bowl and top with dressing. Gently toss to combine. Add cucumber-tomato-onion mixture on top. Gently toss to combine.
- Keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days.
Tip: Add in ½ cup of cooked quinoa for a complete plant-based protein source.
Dinner: Savory Skewered Cantaloupe
- 1 cantaloupe
- 1 red onion
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts,
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- Soak 4 skewers in water while prepping ingredients. This will keep them from burning on the grill. Preheat grill to medium heat.
- Wash, peel, seed and cut cantaloupe into 1 inch cubes. Cut onion into 1/2 inch wide wedges. And cut chicken into 1 inch cubes. Thread chunks of melon, onion, and chicken onto skewers. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill skewers over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, rotating occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and onion and melon are golden brown.
Related: 6 Dinner Mistakes You’re Making the Night Before Race Day
Snack: Frozen Fruit Salad
- 1 cantaloupe
- 1 bunch red grapes
- 1 bunch green grapes
- Wash, peel, and seed cantaloupe. Using a melon baller, core out as many cantaloupe balls as you can from the fresh melon.
- Wash grapes, pick them from their vines, and dry them with paper towels.
- Place cantaloupe and grapes on a flat baking sheet and place in the freezer.
- Once frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer bag or Tupperware. When ready to eat, simply pull a colorful bowl of red, green, and orange frozen treats and allow them to thaw at room temp for 5-10 minutes. The perfect snack after a hot summer workout session or when the craving for ice cream hits!
Post-workout : Ginger Melon Smoothie
- 1 banana, frozen
- 1 cup cantaloupe
- 1-2 tsp ginger, frozen and grated
- ½ of a lime, juiced
- 1 cup coconut milk
Directions Blend all ingredients together in a blender for 30 seconds. Pour into a glass and enjoy.
Related: 3 Protein Smoothie Recipes That Little Spartans Will Love
Smoothie: Avocado Cantaloupe Breakfast Smoothie
- ½ avocado, ripe
- ½ cup cantaloupe chunks
- ½-1 tsp lime juice
- ½ cup milk, fat free
- ½ cup yogurt, fat free, plain
- ¼ cup apple juice or water
- ½-1 Tbsp honey
- Wash cantaloupe and avocado.
- Remove seeds from both avocado and cantaloupe.
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds to one minute. Add additional liquid to desired thickness.
Snack: California Cantaloupe Salad
- 4 cups leafy greens
- ½ cantaloupe
- 1 avocado
- 1/2 cup red pepper
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves (optional)
- 1½ tsp white wine vinegar
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
- Wash, peel, and slice cantaloupe into wedges. Wash and dice red pepper. Wash and cut avocado into slices. Mince garlic.
- Divide greens between two plates. Arrange half of the cantaloupe and half of the avocado over greens.
- Sprinkle with diced red pepper and fresh mint (if using).
- Whisk together white wine vinegar, oil, honey, mustard, and garlic. Drizzle over the salads.
Tip: Sprinkle each salad with 1 tsp chia seeds for even more nutrition
Cantaloupe Shopping List for above recipes:
Produce Avocado Banana Bell pepper, red Cantaloupe Cherry tomatoes Cucumber Ginger, fresh Grapes, red and green Greens (spinach, arugula, your choice) Lime, fresh Onion, red
Pantry Apple cider vinegar Chia seeds Dijon mustard Extra virgin olive oil Garlic, for mincing Honey Maple syrup Pepper, black Salt, pink himalayan White wine vinegar
Refrigerator Apple juice (optional, used in smoothie but can be substituted with water) Chicken breast, boneless, skinless Coconut milk (regular milk ok) Milk Yogurt, plain, fat free