February 21, 2024


Future Depends on What You Do

Honeydew Melon: Benefits, Nutrition, and Risks

Honeydew melons are the sweetest of all melons and are typically in season from July to September. The sweet summer fruit is light green and soft on the inside, and can have a white or yellow skin on the outside, although white skinned versions are generally sweeter. Honeydew is also related to squash and cucumbers.

Honeydew melon contains plenty of water as well as vitamin C, B vitamins, fiber, antioxidants, and smaller amounts of other key nutrients. Eating the fruit may offer several health benefits.

One cup of diced honeydew melon provides over five ounces (oz) of water. Consuming adequate water helps you stay hydrated and prevent dehydration.

When you become dehydrated, your body overheats and you can experience unclear thinking, mood changes, constipation, and kidney stones. Drinking water also helps to lubricate and cushion your joints.

One study found adults who stay well-hydrated appear to be healthier, develop fewer chronic conditions, such as heart and lung disease, and live longer compared to people who may not consume enough fluids.

Apart from water, the standout nutrient in honeydew melon is vitamin C. One cup of diced melon provides about a third of the daily requirement for this immune-supporting nutrient.

The immune system needs vitamin C to respond to pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Vitamin C’s antioxidant abilities also protect cells from damage known to increase chronic disease risk. The body can’t store water-soluble vitamins for long periods, so a regular and adequate intake of vitamin C is required to support healthy immune function.

Honeydews are very low in sodium and high in potassium, both of which are good for managing blood pressure. Potassium helps control blood pressure by causing your kidneys to excrete surplus sodium—a nutrient that can cause high blood pressure in excess. Potassium also eases tension in blood vessel walls, which further reduces blood pressure.

One study found melons, including honeydew, activate the production of a substance called nitric oxide (NO). NO helps smooth muscles in the body relax, including blood vessels, which results in a reduction in blood pressure.

Other research shows eating more fruits and vegetables that produce nitric oxide is part of a diet that can help prevent and treat lifestyle-related diseases, including high blood pressure.

Research shows eating fruits like honeydew melon may be beneficial for people with or at risk for type 2 diabetes.

A research review found consuming 200 grams (about seven ounces) of fruit per day is linked to diabetes prevention. In addition, consuming up to 133 grams (about five ounces) of fresh fruit per day has been shown to decreased complications and death in people with type 2 diabetes.

Data also shows while fruits with a lower glycemic load (the amount of carbohydrates in a given portion) may be helpful for blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes, the glycemic index or glycemic load of individual fruits did not affect diabetes risk.

An Australian study found fruit consumption preserved insulin sensitivity, or how well insulin works to clear sugar from the blood, and was protective against type 2 diabetes.

After adjusting for other dietary and lifestyle factors, scientists concluded that compared to people with the lowest fruit intakes, those with a moderate total fruit consumption had a 36% lower risk of having type 2 diabetes after five years.

Eating fruit also changes gut microbiota, the collection of microbes that live in the gut, in ways that reduce type 2 diabetes risk.

The fluid and fiber in honeydew melon are an important combo for bowel regularity and the prevention of constipation. 

Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements per week; stools that are hard, dry, or lumpy; stools that are difficult or painful to pass; or a feeling that not all stool has passed.

Common remedies for constipation include eating more fiber and consuming plenty of water, and honeydew provides some of both.

Honeydew melon contains several nutrients involved with bone formation and maintenance, including vitamin C and smaller amounts of vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants.

Vitamin C alone, honeydew’s main nutrient, has been tied to a lower risk of hip fracture and osteoporosis (bone disease), as well as higher bone mineral density of both the neck and spine.

In addition, a study found close adherence to the Mediterranean diet—an eating pattern rich in fruits and vegetables—is protective against osteoporosis. Research shows postmenopausal women who most closely stuck with the Mediterranean diet had higher levels of bone mineral density and fewer hip fractures.

Honeydew melon is a good source water and vitamin C and has anti-inflammatory effects, all of which contribute to healthy skin. Skin cells depend on vitamin C to make collagen and to regulate the collagen and elastin balance, which gives skin its volume and shape.

Too little vitamin C can lead to poor skin healing and skin inflammation. Several studies have shown aged or sun-damaged skin contains lower vitamin C levels, although the exact link is unknown. Research indicates excessive exposure to pollutants or sun is associated with depleted skin vitamin C levels.  

In contrast, a higher intake of fruits and vegetables has been shown to decrease signs of skin aging and improve skin tightness, tone, and color. 

One cup of diced honeydew melon provides:

  • Calories: 61.2
  • Fat: 0.238 g
  • Sodium: 30.6 mg, or 1% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Carbohydrates: 15.5 g
  • Fiber: 1.36 g
  • Protein: 0.918 g
  • Vitamin C: 30.6 mg, or 34% of the DV
  • Potassium: 388 mg, or 8% of the DV

Honeydew also supplies smaller amounts of several nutrients, including some B vitamins, vitamins A and K, and magnesium.

While melon allergies aren’t common, they can occur. Melons contain substances similar to certain pollens, so if you have a pollen allergy you may also react to melon.

One study found those with grass and ragweed allergies may also react to melon.

Another potential risk of eating melon is contracting a foodborne illness from bacteria, like E coli, Listeria, or Salmonella, which can be found in the soil in which melons grow. Most fruits and vegetables have this risk.

Make sure to wash your hands before handling honeydew melons and wash the melons before cutting to prevent bacteria from being transferred from the skin to the flesh. Once cut, the melon should always be stored in the refrigerator. Leaving it out at room temperature or outdoors on a hot day can lead to bacterial growth that can cause foodborne illness.

In the refrigerator, honeydew melon can last for up to five days in an air-tight container.

Honeydew melons don’t ripen after they’ve been harvested, so look for one with telltale signs of ripeness. A ripe melon should be:

  • Symmetrical in shape
  • Heavy for its size
  • Free from cracks, bruises, and soft spots
  • Sweet smelling
  • Slightly soft when squeezed

There are many ways to enjoy honeydew melon while it’s in season. You can eat the fruit:

  • By itself
  • In fruit salad
  • Skewered with other cut fruits
  • Added to a garden salad
  • Added to slaw
  • Whipped into chilled melon soup
  • Added to fresh salsa
  • Pureed into refreshing drinks, like a melon slushy or mocktail
  • Grilled
  • Dipped into melted dark chocolate

Honeydew melon is a nutritious summer fruit that provides key nutrients, including vitamin C and water. It’s also been linked to better skin health and protection against chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. If you have a history of environmental allergies, including pollen, grass, or ragweed, talk to your healthcare provider for guidance before consuming honeydew.