Cantaloupe is healthy, hydrating, and full of vitamin C.
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Cantaloupe Health Benefits: sliced cantaloupe on a plate
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Longer days and warmer weather are a happy indication that cantaloupe season is just around the corner. And while you can usually find this delicious melon variety in grocery stores year-round, it'll be most delicious when in season, which can start as early as April or as late as August, depending on where you live.  

Cantaloupe may not be the showiest pick in the produce aisle—it's hard to compete when surrounded by a rainbow of options like apples, oranges, and watermelons—but under its pale, rough-textured exterior lies sweet and mildly tangy orange fruit that's as refreshing as it is nutritious. It's also extremely versatile and a delicious addition to salads and smoothies, as well as being a perfect standalone snack, says Fareeha Jay, a U.K.-based registered dietitian. And if you've ever had the pleasure of indulging in a prosciutto-wrapped slice of cantaloupe (hopefully drizzled with a hint of balsamic dressing), you know it's a tasty complement to savory dishes, too.

And for anyone with a sweet tooth who's trying to cut down on added processed or refined sugars, cantaloupe is a healthy way to satisfy those sweet cravings. In addition to slicing up some juicy cantaloupe for a post-dinner palate cleanser, add it into smoothies for natural sweetness and dice it into salads to replace a sugary dressing. 

Now that you know how easy cantaloupe is to incorporate into your diet, let's not forget about how healthy it is for you, too. Here are the top nutritious reasons to eat more cantaloupe.

Cantaloupe Health Benefits

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1 Cantaloupes help keep you hydrated.

You know you have to sip water regularly throughout the day to stay properly hydrated—but don't forget that eating fruits and veggies high in water content helps contribute to that hydration goal. "A cantaloupe is around 90 percent water and can be a great choice to fulfill a person's daily hydration needs," Jay says. "Being hydrated will keep your heart pumping and your brain functioning properly."

2 Cantaloupe is a great source of fiber.

Fiber helps regulate digestion and keep your gut flora and blood sugar in check. Fruit is one type of food that's notoriously high in fiber, and this is no exception. "Cantaloupe is a source of fiber, which will help you feel fuller for longer and improve your gut health," Jay says. "It will also lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers." 

RELATED: 6 Types of Fruit That Are Loaded With Fiber—Plus, Delicious Ways to Eat More of Them

3 Cantaloupes contain loads of vitamin C.

In case the bright color doesn't give it away, cantaloupe is rich in vitamin C, an essential vitamin that boasts antioxidant and immunity-boosting properties. "Vitamin C will protect our cells, maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones, and cartilage," adds Jay. "The adult requirement for vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams a day. Having 3 ounces of cantaloupe will fulfill about half your daily vitamin C requirement."

4 Cantaloupes support eye health.

Cantaloupes' orange color indicates that they're a great source of beta-carotene, which turns into vitamin A in the body. "It will optimize our immune system and keep our eyes and skin healthy," Jay explains. She adds that lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in cantaloupe that guard against free radicals, can help protect your eyes and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

RELATED: Papaya Doesn't Just Taste Like Paradise—It's Packed With Fiber, Antioxidants, and More Sweet Benefits

Easy Cantaloupe Recipes

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The bright addition of lime and ginger makes melon even better. Just these two ingredients elevate melon from a cookout side dish to a dinner party-worthy salad (or dessert). Feel free to use your favorite kind of melon, although we prefer a mixture of watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe.

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Grilled Cantaloupe and Prosciutto Skewers

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Sweet, salty, tangy, creamy—this fun take on the classic appetizer is perfect for summer dinner parties.

Sparkling Cantaloupe Lemonade
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Sparkling Cantaloupe Lemonade

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This spicy melon sparkler combines a peppercorn-spiked simple syrup with puréed cantaloupe and sparkling water for a delicious, bright twist on your average lemonade. If you want to tote this along for a picnic or barbecue, make the cantaloupe-lemon-syrup mixture and wait to add the sparkling water until you're ready to drink up.

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Cantaloupe-Coconut Ice Pops

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Summer calls for a fruity treat that's cool and creamy with a touch of crunch. Here frozen, blended cantaloupe gets dipped in sweet basil-coconut cream and sprinkled with toasted coconut for a nutty finish.