The melon with horns is a strange-looking fruit that is native to southern Africa, and recently (in the last century) has been introduced in other parts of the world, namely Australia and New Zealand, which is where it took the name kiwano , due to its consistency and appearance similar to kiwis. However, this fruit is not biologically linked to the Kiwis, and is actually closer in nutritional and evolutionary terms to cucumbers and courgettes.
The scientific name of the horned melon, the other popular name for the fruit, is Cucumis metuliferus, and the fruit is widely grown in sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, New Zealand and certain parts of Asia.
The name “melon with horns” comes from the unusual appearance of the fruit, since the outer layer of orange or golden skin is covered with small spines. The interior of the fruit has the gelatinous appearance of a kiwi, but the inner layer of fruit pulp is the main culinary ingredient.
The leaves and roots are also used for various applications, but the fruit is the most appreciated. The seeds also contain high concentrations of beneficial nutrients and organic compounds that make the fruit so healthy.
As a cultural element, kiwano is considered vital to solve certain problems of food shortages in sub-Saharan Africa, as it can retain significant amounts of water during the dry season and can also grow in adverse conditions, while providing a wide range of essential nutrients to those who may have limited access to food.
This fruit has spread beyond its normal ranges as more health benefits have been discovered; Now, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of kiwano for health.
9 Benefits of kiwano for health and the organism
Although it is an unusual fruit as we have discussed throughout this publication, within the benefits of kiwano, people will have access to a series of components and nutrients that will help strengthen various characteristics of human body health, but better let’s thoroughly analyze each of these added values, not only so that you know first hand the real benefits of the kiwano, but so that you know how you can obtain them without any problem.
1. Promotes weight loss
Considering that this fruit is more than 80% water, it has the ability to fill you up without packing in pounds. People who try to lose weight without feeling hungry all the time often look for a kiwano to avoid hunger pangs.
The high concentration of nutrients also keeps your body rich in nutrients, even though the fruit is low in calories and fats; therefore the benefits of kiwano allow you to hydrate naturally.
2. It has antioxidant properties
There are high levels of alpha-tocopherol in kiwano, which is a potent antioxidant form of vitamin E. This is very important for the health of the nerves and blood vessels, while also seeking and neutralizing free radicals, the harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause everything from heart disease to cancer, proving that the benefits of kiwano are more than theories.
3. Eye care
The significant levels of vitamin A found in kiwano make it an important reinforcement for vision health. Vitamin A is a type of carotenoid, which acts as an antioxidant for the eye, eliminating free radicals that can cause macular degeneration, while the benefits of kiwano slow down or prevent the development of cataracts.
4. Improves cognitive function
Although many different nutrients can positively affect the brain, vitamin E is specifically related to the decrease in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The high levels of various variations of tocopherol in kiwano make it a favorite among young and old alike who want to keep their minds fresh.
5. Increase metabolism
Zinc is a mineral that is often overlooked in human health, but it plays a key role in metabolism, as well as in the production of proteins, which is necessary for the healing of wounds and the repair of organs, tissues, blood vessels and cells.
The high content of vitamin C is a perfect complement to the zinc found in kiwano, as ascorbic acid is a key component in collagen, which is another key material in repair and growth.
6. Slow aging
Between vitamin A, vitamin C, natural antioxidants and abundant organic compounds, the benefits of kiwano are wonderful to stay young, both inside and out. It is known to protect the integrity of the skin and reduce age spots and wrinkles, in addition to reducing the appearance of scars and imperfections. These same important nutrients keep the inside of the body younger by preventing the onset of chronic diseases through intense antioxidant activity.
7. Relieves stress and anxiety
The research has connected some of the organic compounds in kiwano with the regulation of hormones, especially adrenaline and other stress hormones. If you suffer from chronic stress or feel anxious, eating some kiwano can quickly ease your mind and return your body to a state of calm and relaxation.
8. Aids digestion
The high fiber content in kiwano makes it an ideal digestive aid. Dietary fiber helps stimulate peristaltic movement and clean the gastrointestinal tract, maintaining regular bowel movements and preventing cramping, bloating, constipation and more serious conditions such as gastric ulcers or even colon cancer.
Dietary fiber is also a key element of heart health, as it helps regulate the level of cholesterol in the body; It even helps regulate insulin receptors, preventing or controlling diabetes.
9. Increase bone strength
The benefits of kiwano are also famous and cited for their high content of minerals, particularly calcium, to increase bone strength and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. While the other minerals in kiwano, including zinc, are important for development, growth, repair and bone integrity, calcium is the most desirable mineral for our bone health.
Word of caution about the benefits of kiwano: The bitter forms of kiwano, before they are ripe, can have dangerous levels of chemical substances that are not present when the fruit is ready to eat.
This toxicity can cause stomach problems, headaches and fevers, but it is not known to threaten life. In addition, kiwano is not commonly considered as an allergenic food.