The juicy sweetness of melons gives you the satisfaction of dessert without the hit to your waistline. The natural sweetness found in watermelons and cantaloupes can help you turn away from those ingredients to avoid: white table sugar (known as sucrose), corn syrup, and honey, all of which provide calories and few nutrients.
Melons may come in different shapes, sizes, and colors, but they all have two things in common: a soft, sweet, juicy pulp and superb taste. That's why it's hard to say no to melons. They offer a decent dose of fiber, which helps fill you up. As a snack for dieters, melons can't be beat. Their juicy sweetness is just the substitute for high-calorie snacks and desserts. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that most people eat 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit per day. Melons are a great-tasting way to fulfill that recommendation.
Most melons are rich in potassium, a nutrient that may help control blood pressure, regulate heart beat, and possibly prevent strokes. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines state that a potassium-rich diet helps keep salt from raising blood pressure and may also reduce the risk of developing kidney stones and possibly age-related bone loss. The guidelines encourage adults to consume 4,700 milligrams per day (while keeping sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams per day, which is one teaspoon of salt).
Melons are also abundant in vitamin C, one arm of the now-famous disease-fighting antioxidant trio. Another arm that's well represented is beta-carotene. Researchers believe that beta-carotene and vitamin C are capable of preventing heart disease, cancer, and other chronic conditions. No matter which way you cut them, when it comes to nutrition, melons are number one.
Watermelon is a valuable source of lycopene, one of the carotenoids that have actually been studied in humans. Research indicates that lycopene is helpful in reducing the risk of prostate, breast, and endometrial cancers, as well as lung and colon cancer.