By melons, we mean cantaloupe (or muskmelon), honeydew and crenshaw melons. Also in this group (known as winter melons) are the less common casaba, Santa Claus (Christmas), Persian and Juan Canary (canary) melons; watermelon is covered in another web page. Melons are generally a good dietary source of vitamin C and contain some cucurbitacins. Cantaloupes are also a good source of alpha-carotene and beta-carotene. Melons have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, although less powerful than many other fruits. Melons have been found to be associated with lower risks of gallbladder, thyroid, and colon cancer. Maternal consumption of cantaloupe is associated with lower risk of childhood leukemia in children.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating melons
Consumption of the watermelon, papaya and cantaloupe (taken together) was found to be associated with lower risk of breast cancer in one 2009 study of Chinese women.
Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) or bitter gourd, used in Asian cuisines, is related to common melon. The fruit is very bitter, as the name implies. This bitterness appears to give it medicinal properties, including anti-cancer activities. Extracts of bitter melon have been shown to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells.
Melons should be washed before using to prevent a transfer of pesticides and other contaminants to the flesh during cutting.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list of studies, please click on melon.