When it comes to quick, easy breakfasts, there are few things as delicious and satisfying as digging into a perfectly ripe fruit cup—especially one that has hearty chunks of cantaloupe. With just 150 calories in a small melon, cantaloupe has long been touted as an ideal food for dieters, with its high volume and water content capable of keeping those who consume it full and focused for hours.
However, even the most ardent cantaloupe connoisseurs may not realize one of the major benefits they're getting with every tasty bite of this delicious fruit: eye health support.
"Cantaloupe is a nutrient-packed melon that does not get as much attention for its health benefits as it should. You may find it surprising that cantaloupe is an excellent source of beta-carotene, a nutrient necessary for eye health," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, a registered dietitian with Balance One Supplements.
A study published in JAMA found that, among 5,836 adults aged 55 and older, those with higher intakes of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and zinc—all of which can be found in cantaloupe—had significantly lower rates of age-related macular degeneration than those with lower antioxidant consumption.
Best notes that cantaloupe is also a naturally occurring source of folate, which is known for combatting neural tube disorders and improving cognitive function but may also benefit your eye health.
A 2014 study published in JAMA Ophthalmology found that, among adults over 40 who studied as part of the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, higher folate intake was linked to lower rates of exfoliation glaucoma and exfoliation glaucoma suspect.
So, whether you're looking for a simple way to safeguard your vision or just want a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no further than this tasty melon.
For more ways to protect your eye health, check out these 20 Bad Habits That Could Turn You Blind, Say Experts, and for the latest health news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter!
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