Sweet Fruit for Circulation
Lower high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Reduce the risk of heart disease.
Reduce the risk of cancer Prevent cataracts.
Pretend for a moment you're on a game show.
The show is called: Meal of Fortune.
The question: "For $10,000 and a brand-new car, name the difference between this super fruit and a muskmelon."
You smile and hit the buzzer.
"Nothing," you say.
Then you jump up and down because you know, what the other contestants don't.
This super fruit is a type of muskmelon.
And you also know that either, or, whichever you prefer, is filled with healing substances that can help control blood pressure, lower cholesterol, keep the blood running smoothly, and protect against cancer.
In fact, this is one of the few fruits or vegetables rich in both vitamin-C and beta-carotene.
Both of these antioxidant compounds have been shown to protect against cancer, heart disease, and other age-related health conditions, such as cataracts.
When you think of this fruit, you probably imagine a shimmering wedge of pale orange fruit next to a bowl of cereal.
But if your blood pressure is rising, you may find yourself wanting this super fruit away from the breakfast table, too.
This super fruit is a great source of potassium, a mineral that can help lower blood pressure.
Half of one contains 825 milligrams of potassium, or 24 percent of the Daily Value (DV).
You'll get more potassium by eating just half than you do by eating an entire banana.
Your body uses potassium to help eliminate excess sodium, which in large amounts can cause blood pressure to rise.
So, the more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose and the lower your blood pressure is likely to be.
This is particularly true in people who are sensitive to salt.
In a large international study of more than 10,000 people, re-searchers found that those with the highest levels of potassium had the lowest blood pressures.
Those with the least potassium, on the other hand, were more likely to have higher blood pressures.
In addition, studies show that potassium may help keep the body's low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the dangerous kind, from undergoing chemical changes that cause it to stick to artery walls.
There's also some evidence that a high-potassium diet tends to lower LDL cholesterol and raise "good" HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol and could thwart hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and the formation of blood clots that can trigger heart attack and stroke.
In The Kitchen
Few foods are as sweetly aromatic as a perfectly ripe melon (which may explain its nickname, muskmelon).
On the other hand, one that hasn't reached its peak of freshness will leave you underwhelmed.
To pick the best, here's what you need to do.
Trust your nose.
While thumping melons is the traditional way of testing for ripeness, your sense of smell is a superior judge.
A ripe cantaloupe should have a strong, sweet fragrance.
If you can't smell it, don't dwell on it.
Check the stem.
There shouldn't be one.
Mature, they'll only have a smooth, symmetrical basin where the stem once was and flesh that yields slightly to pressure.
The Dynamic Duo
As mentioned earlier, they're a rich source of two potent antioxidants, vitamin-C and beta-carotene.
For those that missed it, antioxidants are compounds that neutralize free radicals, cell damaging molecules that occur naturally and that are thought to cause cellular changes that can lead to heart disease, cancer, and cataracts.
Like potassium, vitamin-C helps keep the arteries clear and blood flowing smoothly by preventing LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and gumming up the artery walls.
Your body also uses vitamin-C for producing collagen, a protein that makes up skin and connective tissue.
It's an excellent source of vitamin-C, with 1 cup containing 68 milligrams, 113 percent of the DV
This super fruit is also a good source of beta-carotene, which fights heart disease and cancer.
Half a cantaloupe provides 5 milligrams of beta-caroteneabout half of the daily amount recommended by most experts.
Getting the Most
Buy them ripe.
The riper the fruit, the more beta-carotene it contains.
To check for ripeness in the store, put this super fruit to the "heft-and-sniff test.
Heft the fruit to make sure that it's heavy for its size.
Then smell it to make sure that it exudes a sweet, musky perfume.
If there's no smell, put it down and try another.
Eat it quickly.
Vitamin-C degrades quickly when exposed to air, so it's important to eat these super fruits fairly soon after cutting.
This is especially true when it's cut into small pieces, which substantially increases the amount of air to which it's exposed.
So, if you're wondering what to have for lunch or dinner, might we suggest;
Cantaloupe & Watercress Salad
If you live in the southwest, continue to enjoy the sweet taste of local cantaloupes well into the fall.
Succulent plums and pungent watercress combine with the melon for a sweet and tart salad.
Both the melon and the plums are low-calorie treats that are just as tempting as any sugary ,but with a kiss of fiber thrown in for good measure.
* 1/3 c. coarsely chopped red onion
* 1/4 tsp. grated lime peel
* 2 Tbs. lime juice
* 1/8 tsp. sea salt
* 1 Tbs. olive oil
* 2 Tbs. honey
* 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
* 3 c. 3/4" chunks ripe cantaloupe
* 2 ripe plums, thinly sliced
* 1 bunch watercress, tough stems trimmed
* 2 Tbs. crumbled goat or feta cheese
* 2 Tbs. sliced almonds or pumpkin seeds
1. In a salad bowl, mix the onion, lime peel, lime juice, salt, oil, honey and pepper with a fork.
Stir to combine.
2. Add the cantaloupe, plums, watercress, cheese, and almonds or pumpkin seeds and toss to mix.
Calories 103.5 Cal.
Fat 4.2 g.
Saturated Fat 0.9 g.
Cholesterol 2.8 mg.
Sodium 97.1 mg.
Carbohydrates 16.7 g.
Total Sugars 14.5 g.
Dietary Fiber 1.5 g.
Protein 1.9 g.Tweet
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