Kiwano benefits are quite impressive, which is probably the reason for its recent popularity. The horned melon might look like a fruit from the universe (and actually, it featured in one episode of Star Trek and a similar version of it was shown in The BFG), however, it is a very popular fruit in Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and some parts of the U.S. It is also grown in Portugal, Germany, and Italy.
This peculiar fruit is also known as the jelly melon, horned melon, hedged gourd, African horned cucumber, blowfish fruit, and melano.
What is kiwano?
Kiwano is an annual vine in the melon and cucumber family, Cucurbitaceae. It is a traditional food plant in Africa. Because of its horn-like spines is also called “horned melon”. Ripe fruit has orange-yellow skin and slimy green interior. Horned melon has a tart flavor and texture similar to a cucumber. Its connoisseurs describe the taste as a cross between kiwifruit, zucchini, and cucumber.
Since the World Health Organization acknowledged the principle nutritional diseases that effect Sib-Saharan Africa, research has been performed to determine plants, just like the ones from the Cucurbitacceae botanical family that could supply the required nutrition along with micronutrients so as to combat these kinds of inadequacies 1 . Ever since the kiwano can be grown in dry regions and is principally very nourishing, it will aid in improving malnutrition in Africa and some other parts of the developing world.
Following, we present you the most impressive kiwano health benefits:
- Antioxidant Capacity
Kiwano benefits are mostly significant due to its high levels of alpha-tocopherol, a powerful antioxidant form or Vitamin E. This is truly essential for the health of blood vessels and nerves, while is also neutralizes free radicals, which are harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism responsible for many major diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. 2
- Eye Health
The great levels of Vitamin A found in jelly melon make it a significant booster for vision health. This vitamin is a form of carotenoid that acts as an antioxidant for the eyes, removing free radicals that could cause macular degeneration, while also preventing and slowing down the development of cataracts.
- Bone Strength
Horned melons are also rich in calcium that boosts bone strength and prevents osteoporosis. While the other minerals in this fruit, including zinc, are significant for bone development, integrity, repair, and growth, calcium is the most needed mineral for our bone health.
- Aging Process
Between vitamin C, vitamin A, natural antioxidants, and plentiful organic compounds, horned melon is beneficial for staying young, both out and inside. Kiwano can help reduce wrinkles and age spots, and protect the integrity of the skin, in addition to lessening the appearance of blemishes and scars. These significant nutrients keep the inside of your body younger by preventing the onset of chronic illness thru intense antioxidant activity.
- Cognitive Function
Even though many different nutrients can have a positive effect on the brain, Vitamin E is specifically associated with slowing the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The high levels of numerous tocopherol variations in horned melon make it a favorite for those who want to keep their mind fresh.
- Metabolic Processes
Zinc is a trace mineral which plays a main role in the metabolism and in producing a protein that is essential for wound healing and repair of cells, blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Kiwano is rich in Vitamin C, which is an ideal complement to the zinc found in this fruit as well because the ascorbic acid is the main component of collagen that is another important material in growth and repair.
- Anxiety and Stress
Scientists have related some of the organic compounds in the jelly melon with the regulation of hormones, principally adrenaline and some other stress hormones 3 . Therefore, if you feel anxious or suffer from chronic stress, eating kiwano can rapidly clear your mind and get your body back to a tranquil, relaxed stat.
- Weight Loss
Considering that horned melon is up to 80 percent water, it has the power to fill you up without packing on any pounds. Individuals trying to lose weight without feeling hungry often reach for this fruit to stave off hunger twinges. The high nutrient concentration also keeps your body rich in essential nutrients, even though the horned melon is low in fats and calories.
- Digestive Process
Horned melon is rich in fiber, which is beneficial for the digestive health. Dietary fiber helps to clear out the gastrointestinal tract and stimulate peristaltic motion, keeping the bowel movement regular, preventing bloating, cramping, constipation, and other more serious conditions, like colon cancer and gastric ulcers. 4
Dietary fiber is also important for the cardiovascular health, as it assists in the regulation of the cholesterol levels; plus, it helps to regulate insulin receptors, thereby managing and preventing diabetes.
Kiwano Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 Cup (233 g)
Calories 103 Kcal. Calories from Fat 26.46 Kcal.
|Total Fat||2.94 g||8.40%|
|Saturated Fat||0 g||NA|
|Vitamin C||12.3 mg||13.67%|
|Vitamin B6||0.147 mg||11.31%|
|Vitamin B5||0.426 mg||8.52%|
|Vitamin B3||1.316 mg||8.23%|
|Vitamin B1||0.058 mg||4.83%|
|Vitamin B2||0.035 mg||2.69%|
|Amino Acids & Lipids||Amount||% DV|
|Monounsaturated Fat||0 g||0%|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0 g||0%|
|Trans Fat||0 g||0%|
*Percent Daily values (%DVs) are based on 2,000 calorie diet intake. Daily values (DVs) may be a difference depending upon the daily calorie needs.
How to select kiwano (horned melon)?
Look for kiwiano in supermarkets and specialty-food markets. The horned melon should range in length from around 3-5 inches and not have any soft spots or bruises. Kiwiano is available year-round, though, summer is its peak season (those in stores usually come from New Zealand, where it is summer). No need for refrigeration.
Slice the kiwano in half and then spoon out the pulp. You can consume it raw, including the seeds. If you’re not keen on tart taste – sprinkle some brown sugar on it. The pulp can be used in sauces, dips, smoothies, and soups. Peeled, the fruit could be tossed in fruit salads. Use the split shell as a container for the finished dish.
Many studies have found that kiwano benefits are incredible your health, and may lower the risk of numerous sorts of diseases. The ideal way to incorporate this fruit into your diet is to eat it raw or add it to a fruit salad, fresh smoothie or juice, or some snack using sugar or salt to enhance the taste and flavor.