Mukashi mukashi, which means, in Japan, once upon a time, there was a married couple, very much in love but who could not have children. Their life passed quietly when one day, along the river, they saw something round that followed the current among the stones. They picked it up and saw it was a melon! The couple took the melon home and opened it thinking about eating it. You can imagine their surprise, and joy, when, opening the melon, they found not the orange and scented pulp they expected, but a baby girl. So it was that the little girl was adopted by the couple and she took the name of Urikohime, which means, a child princess born from a melon. Since that day the melon has become a symbol of fertility. But it is not only this, the melon is also a treasure trove of precious beneficial properties for health, as evidenced by various scientific researches.
Melon, scientific name Cucumis melo, is a plant of the Cucurbitaceae family, which produces fruits with a juicy, fragrant, sweet pulp and a color that can vary from orange to light green depending on the variety. The light green pulp melon, also called honeydew melon, provides riboflavin, thiamine and folic acid. Not only that, this variety of melon is also a valuable source of vitamin A and vitamin C (Zeb, Foods, 2016). The cantaloupe melon, with its yellow-orange flesh, is also a source of vitamins A and C and also provides micronutrients such as potassium and magnesium. Not only that, cantaloupe has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-ulcer, anti-tumor, anti-diabetic and diuretic properties. Moreover, cantaloupe also shows hepatoprotective action, counteracts hypothyroidism and modulates the immune system (Vella et al, Foods, 2019). Melons of all varieties contain about 90% water, thus showing diuretic properties, are rich in fiber, essential for intestinal health and also provide high levels of GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that acts on the nervous system by reducing stress and improving sleep (Hepsomali et al, Front Neurosci, 2020 - Singh et al, Plants, 2020). Then, each type of melon also provides beta carotene, which in terms of quantity and availability is similar to the beta carotene contained in carrots (Fleshman et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2013). Finally, melon contains adenosine, which is a substance that helps thin the blood and counteracts the formation of blood clots (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of food).
Melon seeds are generally removed and thrown away, as they are considered waste material. However, melon seeds are very interesting from the point of view of their nutrient content. In fact, the seeds contain proteins, fibers, mineral salts, tocopherol, but also fatty acids such as linoleic and oleic acids and antioxidants, including gallic and vanillic acid (Zeb, Foods, 2016). So when you eat a melon, try not to throw away the seeds but clean them well under water and then let them dry in the sun for a few days. You can add the seeds to salads, yogurts or enjoy them on their own as a snack.