Cantaloupe vs. Honeydew

Are you a cantaloupe or a honeydew kinda person? Some favor one over another while others don’t have a hard and fast preference.

But maybe this question will help with the debate: which one is healthier? I get asked this type of question frequently — People want to know which berry is the best, which fish variety is healthier, which leafy green is most nutrient-rich. But more often than not, the answer is that none of them are necessarily healthier than the others. Every food has its own unique nutritional profile so it’s a good idea to eat a variety of foods to make sure you’re getting all of the ones you need. Resist the urge to find out ‘the best’ and then eat it exclusively.

This is especially true when you consider that cantaloupe and honeydew share fairly similar nutritional profiles. There are two exceptions to this, however — vitamin C and beta-carotene. According to George Mateljan of the World’s Healthiest Foods site, cantaloupe has about double the vitamin C as honeydew, containing 37 milligrams per 100-gram serving versus 18 milligrams per 100-gram serving in honeydew. Cantaloupe also has about 67 times more beta-carotene than honeydew.

These two nutrient concentrations definitely put cantaloupe in a higher position than honeydew, but it’s still important to get both. While we wouldn’t turn to honeydew as a source for beta-carotene, we shouldn’t be picking our foods based on two nutrients. The fact is that nutritionally speaking, the two varieties are much more similar than they are different — they have roughly the same fiber content, similar phytonutrient phenol content and close-to-equal B vitamin and mineral counts.

If you ask me, a mixture is the best way to enjoy melon anyway so there’s absolutely no need to choose just one. But the next time you see someone eating only the honeydew out of the melon salad, you can point out what they’re missing out on by avoiding the cantaloupe.

Author by Dr. Doug DiPasquale