I have a confession – yesterday, I ate an entire cantaloupe for lunch. I am not proud of this at all. I was on a series of conference calls for work and pretty stressed out and did not have time to sit down for an official “lunch.” So, slowly, over the period of two hours, I ate an entire cantaloupe, chunk by chunk.
My husband had so kindly cut up a cantaloupe the night before and put it in the fridge, I’m sure so he could also enjoy some cold cantaloupe when he got home from work. But, when he got home and asked, “Where is that cantaloupe that I cut last night,” I had to shamefully admit that I downed the entire thing. Yikes! At least it wasn’t an entire bag of chips that I mindlessly ate. I really need to get better about “mindful eating.”
Luckily the entire cantaloupe only had 277 calories, much to my surprise. In fact, Dr. Bowden touts that cantaloupe is a great diet food because it is a “high-volume” food, which basically means that it is high in water, fiber and air, while being low in calories. Volumetrics is a very interesting diet approach that I’ve followed for years, because I love to eat, and I feel much more satisfied with a high volume of low calorie foods than a small portion of the more fattening stuff. Apparently I’m not the only one, because studies have shown that people will eat nearly the same serving of food (by weight) whether it was a high volume food (like watermelon) or a low volume food (like cheesecake.) The most amazing part….people feel just as satisfied with the lower calorie food as they did after eating the calorie-rich version. Check out the book Volumetrics by Dr. Barbara Rolls for more information on this diet.
Cantaloupe is high in potassium and vitamin A. Just a cup of melon provides 427 mg of potassium, which can lower the rate of heart disease and stroke. Potassium also is key to lowering blood pressure. One study showed that people with high blood pressure who had a daily serving of potassium rich foods lowered their risk of fatal stroke by 40%. The vitamin A in cantaloupe also plays a huge role in vision, growth and bone development and immune-system protection.
Eat some cantaloupe if you feel a cold coming on, because the large amounts of vitamin A can protect against infection and bolster your immune system. Vitamin A has also been shown to protect against some of the immune-depressing effects of radiation and cancer chemotherapy.
Did you know that just a measly cup of cantaloupe has over 3,000 mcg of beta-carotene? Beta-carotene is an excellent antioxidant that protects against cellular damage, cancer and heart disease. Cantaloupe also is strong in dietary carotenoids, which protect against many cancers, but especially lung cancer.
So, I guess I’m off to the store this afternoon to buy another cantaloupe so my husband can actually eat some of it this time….if I’m not in a meeting mindlessly eating the entire thing again!