Horned melon or Kiwano is a fruit not known to many but we can bet the more you will get to know it the more you will be surprised. Carrying with it some amazing benefits, you would want to incorporate this tasty exotic fruit into your daily diet at all costs. Here is everything you need to know about it.
What is it and where does it come from?
Considered as a cross between a cucumber and a melon, it is known by different names mainly Kiwano, Kiwano melon, African melon, and Blowfish fruit while the scientific name is Cucumis metuliferus.
Horned melon is an exotic fruit and has a very peculiar and unique appearance. Bright orange colored skin with little horn-like projections all over is what this fruit looks like from outside but as you cut it open, you will see a yellow or lime green colored gelatinous flesh full of edible seeds. The taste is somewhat like zucchini or cucumber.
It is native to central and southern Africa but nowadays it is also grown in Mississippi, Chile, America, Australia, and New Zealand.
Nutritional Profile of Kiwano
Full of many nutrients and vitamins, Kiwano has some mind-blowing impacts on human health. Have a glance at the outstanding nutritional profile of this amazing exotic fruit:
A serving (1 medium-sized fruit) contains:
|Total calories||92 kcal|
|Vitamin A||6% of RDI|
|Vitamin B6||7% of RDI|
|Vitamin C||18% of RDI|
|Phosphorous||8% of RDI|
|Iron||13% of RDI|
|Magnesium||21% of RDI|
|Zinc||7% of RDI|
|Calcium||3% of RDI|
|Potassium||5% of RDI|
Benefits of Horned Melon
Just like the nutritional profile, the benefits of horned melon will convince you a great deal too. Let’s get started:
1. Packed with Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect our body from damages caused by oxidative stress. Too much oxidative stress leads to certain diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, etc. In order to save our body from oxidative stress, we must give our body an ample supply of antioxidants. A delicious yet befitting source for these would be Kiwano melon. Apart from the nutrients and minerals, Kiwano fruit comes packed with a huge variety of antioxidants that are super beneficial to our health mainly Vitamin A, Vitamin C, lutein, and zinc. In addition to this, the Vitamin E in the seeds also acts as a beneficial antioxidant.
2. Promotes the production of Red Blood Cells
Being a good source of iron and providing about 13% of the daily recommended value of iron, Kiwano fruit plays a great role in the production of red blood cells and supplying oxygen to the body. The cherry on the cake is that iron present in Kiwano fruit is non-haem iron which is a type that is readily absorbed into the blood. Wait, there is more to it. Kiwano fruit contains an ample amount of Vitamin C which aids in faster and better absorption of iron.
3. Keeps Blood Sugar in Check
Diabetics are often advised to include low glycemic index foods in their diets which do not cause a big spike in the blood sugar levels. Kiwano fruit fits the criteria perfectly. In addition to this, kiwano fruit also contains a relatively higher amount of magnesium which is involved in the metabolism of insulin and glucose. The research is still going on the effect of kiwano fruit on the blood sugar levels but the fact that it is a low glycemic index food rich in magnesium stands true.
4. Improves Bone Health
A fruit improving bone health? Yes, it is true. Kiwano fruit is naturally packed with nutrients like magnesium, zinc, and Vitamin C that help in remodeling and maintenance of the strength of bones. it has also shown to prevent the risk of osteoporosis.
5. Keeps you Hydrated
It is a common misconception that water alone is required to keep us hydrated. The truth is water and electrolytes like magnesium, sodium, and potassium are quintessential to keep you hydrated. This gift of nature here known as horned melon contains 88% water along with carbohydrates and electrolytes needed for hydration. Add this to your summer fruit bowl and stay hydrated!
6. Improves Mood
Magnesium and Zinc are two minerals that are known as brain-friendly as they improve our brain function and also help in the maintenance of mental health. Here is how: Zinc and magnesium produce neurotransmitters that improve mood and are related to mental disorders related to moods such as depression and anxiety. Studies have proved both of these as treatments of depression and anxiety.
8. Heart Friendly Fruit
Kiwano contains magnesium and zinc both of which have a role to play in heart health. Consumption of kiwano prevents the formation of plaque in blood vessels, reduces inflammation, and also lowers blood pressure all of which make it a super heart-friendly food
Side Effects of Hornmelon: Moderate consumption of fruit does not pose any serious threat however there are certain side effects of the fruit that must be kept in mind before overconsumption. These are:
- As it provides relief from hypertension, consuming larger amounts may lead to hypotension.
- If you have food-related allergies, it may not be the right fruit for you.
- Due to its sugar lowering effect, it may lead to hypoglycemia in diabetics.
- Pregnant women must eat this fruit after consulting their doctor.
We have been gifted by nature in so many ways that one can lose count. Kiwano fruit is also one such gift that carries so many health benefits for us. Enjoy this antioxidant-rich, heart-friendly, and super hydrating fruit but only in moderation.