Melons hail from the family of vegetables known as gourds, along with pumpkins, squash, courgettes and cucumbers. They originate in Africa and south western parts of Asia. Egyptian hieroglyphics featuring melons date to as far back as 2400 BC, and Tutankhamen was buried with the seeds of watermelons. After they become widely spread and popular in Europe, melon seeds were transported to the United States by Columbus and eventually cultivated by Spanish explorers in California. Almost all parts of the melon (fruit, seed, leaves and roots) are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon are the most well known varieties and generally have high nutritional value. They are a rich source of the antioxidant, vitamin C, vitamins of the B group, and minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron and phosphorus.
The orange colour of some melons mean they are full of beta-carotene which our bodies convert into vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for your immune system, helps you see better in dim light and it keeps your skin healthy. Melons can reduce inflammation and even help to reduce blood pressure.
Watermelons are a great source of lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient that’s especially important for our cardiovascular health. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, helping to guard your cells against harmful cancer-causing free radicals and oxidative stress.
Melons are deliciously good for you and can be served in fruit salads, as refreshing juices, salsas or in the sweet desserts.