Fruit should be a staple in a healthy diet, but most Americans fall short of their target fruit and veggie intake, according to Harvard School of Public Health. Honeydew -- a relative of watermelon and cantaloupe -- boosts your fruit intake and has a well-rounded nutritional profile, serving as a significant amount of a few key nutrients, as well as small amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins and trace minerals. Eat it on its own, or get creative and use honeydew in smoothies and entrees.
If you're looking for a diet-friendly snack, honeydew is a good option. Even though a cup of balled honeydew contains just 64 calories, it's still satisfying because it's roughly 90 percent water. Foods that are high in water are more filling, explains Alice Henneman, M.S., R.D., writing for the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension; such foods help you stick to a calorie-controlled diet without feeling deprived. Honeydew's water content also boosts your hydration levels, which helps your liver and kidneys function properly.
Snack on honeydew to support good cardiovascular health. Each serving contains a significant amount of potassium, an electrolyte that works with sodium to control your blood pressure. Potassium and sodium have opposite effects -- sodium boosts blood pressure, while potassium lowers it -- and a diet that contains too much sodium and too little potassium increases the risk of heart disease. At 12 percent of the daily value of potassium per serving, honeydew helps restore your sodium-potassium balance, which lowers heart disease risk.
Bone-Building Vitamin C
Honeydew also provides a generous amount of vitamin C, an antioxidant that also boosts tissue strength. Each 1-cup serving of balled honeydew contains 32 milligrams of vitamin C, 53 percent of the daily value. Vitamin C promotes bone health by helping your body make collagen, a protein that prevents your bones from becoming brittle. It also strengthens your skin, hair and blood vessels and clears away harmful free radicals produced during your cells' daily functioning.
Eating More Honeydew
Honeydew's mellow, sweet flavor makes it a refreshing treat served on its own, and it also works well in healthy recipes. Freeze individual chunks of honeydew to use in smoothies -- blend them with coconut water and mint for a refreshing drink, or with spinach, kale, cucumber and lemon for a veggie-packed green smoothie. Or combine finely chopped honeydew with pineapple, jalapeno, cilantro and olive oil for a vibrant salsa that pairs well with grilled white fish, turkey or chicken breasts.
- HealthAliciousNess: Melons Honeydew Raw
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Melons Honeydew Raw
- University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension: Eat Smart: How to Fill Up, Not Out!
- Linus Pauling Institute: Potassium
- Colorado State University Extension: Water-Soluble Vitamins
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
- Harvard School of Public Health: Vegetables and Fruits: Get Plenty Every Day
- Photo Credit S847/iStock/Getty Images
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