You know summer is on its way when you see cantaloupes popping up at your local farmers’ market or grocers. And that’s great because you got a great way to keep your skin hydrated and restore it after spending time in the glorious outdoors where you’re exposed to the sun and wind.
Brief facts about cantaloupes
Cantaloupe, muskmelon, sweet melon are they all the same? Let’s get into the nitty gritty first. Often people call muskmelons you know the melons with netted skin and bright orange flesh as “melons”. The botanical term for it is Cucumis melo, a member of the family Cucurbitaceae (gourd) family and so is closely related to pumpkin and watermelon.
There are many varieties like honeydew, Persian melon, and cantaloupe. So, all cantaloupes are muskmelons, but it’s not true the other way around.
Muskmelon got its name thanks to its strong, delightful flavour when ripe. Musk comes from the Persian word (‘mushk’) for a kind of perfume. It’s not quite clear, where its origins are. Some place it in the Middle East, others in India or Central Asia. What’s clear is that nowadays, they’re cultivated all over the world.
Exciting facts about muskmelons
Like most orange fruits and vegetables, muskmelon has oodles of carotenoids among other goodies which means many things for your health and skin.
All parts of the fruits have their benefits, not only the flesh but also skin and seeds. So nothing goes to waste.
All brightly yellow to orange coloured fruits and veggies have beta carotene, a type of carotenoid. It’s just that the muskmelon blows them all out of the water (according to USDA) it has more than mangoes, nectarines, or oranges.
Why do I stress it so much? As a type of carotenoid, beta carotene is a pigment that makes fruits and veggies so colourful. Once eaten or when it hits your skin, your body converts it into vitamin A. Whether on your skin or in your mouth, vitamin A is magic. When eaten, it can decrease the odds of you getting cataracts in your eyes. It also is essential for healthy red blood cells and your immune system to function well.
For your skin it means, zits are clearing, keep your skin firm and help protect it from premature signs of ageing resulting from the harmful effects of free radicals.
With double the vitamin C levels of orange juice, I mean just eating one serving of muskmelon – about 1 cup of melon cubes, you’ve covered your recommended daily value. You may remember your mum telling you to take vitamin C when you got a cold, it’s because helps to protect against illness and boosts your immunity.
It also has a role in protecting the collagen in your skin as well as in collagen and elastin production. Collagen is a protein that gives structure and shape to your skin and organs while the protein elastin makes your skin spring back when stretched.
Containing vitamin C, muskmelon will help with UV-related skin damage not only, when the sun hits your skin (think of free radicals) but also the aftermath. As mentioned, it protects the collagen in your skin and also fades dark spots.
It even has a part to play in clearing breakouts, as it’s anti-inflammatory and helps control sebum production.
A range of vitamin Bs and other vitamins
Doesn’t it seem like the muskmelon gives and gives? It also has a range of vitamin Bs
- Vitamin B3 (niacin) – as a multitasker, it moisturises your skin, improves its surface structure and helps smooth out its texture, and evens out dark spots
- Vitamin B6 – plays a part in red blood cell production and helps with the growth and repair of skin cells
- Vitamin B9 (folate) – cell production and tissue growth and ensuring optimum cell turnover for healthy skin
- Vitamin K – has a major role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and wound healing
Musk melon also contains fibre and trace minerals such as
Skin and seeds
Normally, the seeds are just discarded when the muskmelon is prepared. What a pity, because just like watermelon seeds they can be dried and roasted, making them into a healthy snack.
If you don’t want the hassle to dry and roast the seeds, grind the seeds and skin (and a bit of water of fruit flesh) into a paste and apply it where you need it. This paste will help calm down irritated skin. It also works against minor burn marks and freckles.
How to choose a muskmelon
Ripe muskmelons will have a fragrant aroma – its famous strong musky smell. It will also feel heavy for its size since it’s full of water. Some muskmelons will change their skin colour from green to yellow but some types still remain green even when ripe. Since the colour is not such a reliable way to tell if the fruit is ripe, you can also check if the stem end of the melon is slightly soft.
For the freshest taste, eat it within 3 days after you take the fruit home. You can it fresh like in a fruit salad. In Italy, you get the most delicious antipasti, ham and melon.
What’s not to like, when the musk melon can both improve your skin texture as well as overall skin appearance.
Did you know? Not only watermelons were used as a remedy for dehydration, muskmelons had this function for hundreds of years. It contains almost 90% water and along with the various trace minerals and vitamins, the muskmelon will help you stay hydrated throughout the day. Excellent when you’re feeling a bit under the weather and not really eating.
Tell me in the comments below if you want more recipes than the one with just the skin and seeds.