Honeydew vs. Cantaloupe: Which Summer Melon Is Healthier?
Honeydew melon and cantaloupe might not be as popular as watermelon, but in the summertime, the two can be refreshing and full of flavor. While the melons are often confused for each other, they vary in taste, color, and even some nutrients. Here's how the two stack up in terms of health benefits and nutrition.
Is honeydew good for you?
Green foods are notoriously known for being healthy, and honeydew melon is no different. This summer melon is high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
The potassium in honeydew can help manage blood pressure, while vitamin C benefits the immune system and skin health. "Vitamin C is needed for collagen to form," Wallace explains, "ensuring that your skin tissue remains unbroken and repairs properly when needed."
The nutritional value is based on 1 cup of honeydew, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) food database:
- Calories: 61.2
- Fat: 0.238 g
- Sodium: 30.6 mg
- Carbohydrates: 15.5 g
- Sugar: 13.8 g
- Fiber: 1.36 g
- Protein: 0.918 g
- Calcium: 10.2 mg
- Magnesium: 17 mg
- Folate: 32.3 µg
What about the benefits of cantaloupe?
Orange might not signal "health food" the way green does, but Wallace says the orange pigment of cantaloupe actually indicates that it's rich in beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that gives carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe their orange hues. Once it's in the body, it converts to vitamin A and benefits eye health, red blood cells, and helps manage inflammation, Wallace says.
The nutritional value is based on 1 cup of cantaloupe, according to the USDA food database:
- Calories: 53
- Fat: 0.296 g
- Sodium: 25 mg
- Carbohydrates: 12.7 g
- Sugar: 12.3 g
- Fiber: 1.4 g
- Protein: 1.31 g
- Calcium: 14 mg
- Magnesium: 18.7 mg
- Folate: 32.8 µg
Honeydew vs. cantaloupe: How do they compare?
Honeydew and cantaloupe have a similar texture and appearance—aside from color. This is because they come from the same species of fruit, Wallace explains. Both are high in vitamins A, C, and B6, as well as potassium, fiber, and folate.
Cantaloupe contains slightly fewer natural sugars and more than half the vitamin A and vitamin C levels of honeydew. However, when it comes to fruit, registered dietitian Jenna Gorham, R.D., L.D., says sugar shouldn't be a deciding factor. "For those that do need to track carbohydrates for medical purposes, per cup, cantaloupe has three grams less carbs compared to honeydew," she says.
In terms of taste? "Each melon is mildly sweet with a similar firm and smooth texture," Wallace says. "However, some people find that cantaloupe is slightly less firm than honeydew.”
Like most melons, these two are helpful for preventing dehydration—they each have a 90% water content and plenty of electrolytes. In fact, registered dietitian nutritionist Carlene Thomas, R.D., recommends blending cantaloupe or honeydew with ice for a hydrating drink. "You're also still getting the fiber from the melon, so you'll get a sense of satiety," she tells mbg.
So, which one is healthier?
Honeydew and cantaloupe are good sources of fiber, potassium, and vitamins. They're also both hydrating and juicy, which makes them so satisfying in warm summer months.
Though it mainly comes down to personal preference, Gorham says cantaloupe stands out for its high vitamin A and vitamin C content—making it slightly more nutrient-dense than honeydew.
Whichever melon variety suits your palate, know that you can't really go wrong with these vibrant, healthy fruits.
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