The Need-to-KnowOne cup of cantaloupe delivers 100 percent of the daily recommended values of vitamins A and C, which is precisely why this melon qualifies as a "beauty fruit." The orange flesh is packed with beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in the body and helps promote healthy skin by thinning the outer layer of dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause blemishes. Studies also show vitamin A may help protect skin against damaging UV rays and ozone. Cantaloupe may even help prevent wrinkles, since studies suggest low doses of beta-carotene can improve elasticity and premature aging of the skin.
Vitamin C, on the other hand, can help with a number of things: cancer, cardiovascular disease, cataracts, and the common cold! And bananas don't have anything on cantaloupe—one cup of this melon contains as much potassium as one medium banana (around 12 percent of the daily recommended value).
Your Action Plan
A cup of cantaloupe (one serving) is approximately one quarter of a medium melon (about 5 inches in diameter). Most grocery stores carry them year-round, but it's at its best in June, July, and August.
Ripe cantaloupes should have a prominent golden brown netting on the rind that stands out from the underlying smooth skin, and should have a mildly sweet fragrance. The top end should have a smooth indentation with no bits of stem, indicating that it was ripe when picked and separated from the vine cleanly, while the other end should give when pressed.
You can keep them at room temperature, but for a more refreshing treat, keep melon in the fridge (or even better, the freezer!). Be sure to eat it as soon as it’s ripe, since cantaloupes continue to ripen off the vine. Make sure to get all those beauty-boosting vitamins and enjoy cantaloupe with foods high in zinc, which helps the body utilize 100 percent of the vitamin A. (Tip: Try dipping cantaloupe slices in yogurt, which is naturally high in zinc!)
And cantaloupe isn’t just for eating—it doubles as the perfect hair conditioner during the summer months. Use a fork to mash half a cup of cantaloupe, then massage into hair and leave for ten minutes after shampooing.