Good afternoon, lovely YOU!
Summer is right around the corner and to me, that always means eating more fresh fruits and vegetables from your own garden or from your local farmers’ markets. You most likely know that fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and powerful antioxidants. But what you may not know is that certain fruits and vegetables have been shown to be powerful cancer prevention / fighting tools.
Would you be surprised to hear the humble cantaloupe is one of these powerful weapons against cancer?
What’s So Great About Cantaloupe?
Cantaloupe belongs to other vine growing fruits of the cucurbit family like watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin and squash. What really makes cantaloupe stand out is the amount of vitamin A it contains when compared to other fruits. An average sized cantaloupe contains approximately 3500 IU of vitamin A for every ½ pound.
Now you have probably heard that vitamin A is very important for healthy eyesight, particularly night vision. But did you also know that vitamin A has also been called the “anti-cancer vitamin?”
A study published in The Journal of Nucleic Acids Research found a link between prostate cancer and Retinoic acid (a form of vitamin A-retinol). The study pointed out that All-trans retinoic acid therapy (ATRA) has already been used in treating a form of leukemia called acute promyelomcytic leukaemia (APL), improving survival rates from 0% to 80%.
Retinoids, it turns out, are so powerful in treating cancer because they have the ability to stop proliferation (the spread) of cancer.
But the cancer prevention doesn’t stop there! Cantaloupes are also chock full of flavonoids, which are incredibly powerful antioxidants. And in case you need a refresher course on antioxidants and what they do exactly, they fight the free radicals in your body that damage tissues, organs and cause the development of diseases like cancer!
More and more research has come out about the ability of flavonoids to prevent cancer. For instance, in 2011 a study was published in The Journal of Environmental Science and Healththat found that flavonoids should be considered a useful cancer preventative approach.
But the good news still doesn’t stop there. Carotenoids are plant pigments that give some fruits and vegetables their bright yellow, red or orange colors. Carotenoids are known to do wonderful things for eyesight. You maybe have been told to eat more carrots to improve your eyes.
Zeaxanthin is a carotenoid that has been found to fight against age-related macular degeneration. But now this powerful plant chemical is getting some attention for its ability to protect against cancer. In fact, an article published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition linked Zeaxanthin with the prevention of diseases including cataracts, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
But that’s not all. Cantaloupes contain some of the highest amounts of manganese, which is a co-factor of the powerful antioxidant Superoxide Dismutase (SOD).
Research published in Nature found that SOD has the ability to selectively kill cancer cells. This means it is a natural form of chemotherapy, but instead of traditional chemo, that kills healthy cells along with cancerous ones, SOD only identifies the bad cells and eradicates them.
This is all really incredible! I think so many people ignore cantaloupe. There are the fans, of course, but for the majority of people, cantaloupe is one of the fruits they pick around in the fruit salad that comes with their meal.
But now you see that cantaloupes are what Hippocrates, the father of medicine, was talking about when he said, “Let food be thy medicine.” Plus, cantaloupes are lower on the Glycemic Index (GI), which means they won’t affect blood sugar as much as some other fruits like pineapple and bananas. So this means people on a Keto diet or diabetics can benefit from the anti-cancer abilities of this marvelous fruit.
This summer, don’t neglect one of the most delicious and nutritious fruits out there. Eat plenty of cantaloupe in the coming months and for the rest of your life to prevent cancer!