Commonly known as horned melon, kiwano belongs to the melon and cucumber family. The alien looking fruit has similarities with pomegranate and passion fruit in its texture and is a traditional food plant in the African continent. The gelatinous fruit tastes similar to that of cucumber, and the thoroughly ripe one tastes similar to that of a banana. The fruit has a significant role during the dry season in the Kalahari Desert as it acts as one of the few sources of water.
Horned melon's increasing popularity in the health arena is due to the abundance of health benefits it possess. From improving your cognitive function to being used as a recovery aid for heat stroke, kiwano melon can slow down the ageing process and even neutralize the free radicals in your body. The seeds of kiwano are not only edible but are extremely beneficial for your heart.
The essential nutrients, minerals and organic compounds in the fruit have resulted in its recognition by the World Health Organisation (WHO), stating horned melon  to be an essential fruit in the fight against illnesses and malnutrition. Read on to know more about the amazing benefits the wonder fruit has on your health, hair and eye.
Nutritional Value Of Kiwano
100 grams of horned melon has 44 kcal (calories) of energy. The other nutrients in the fruit are thiamine (0.025 milligrams), riboflavin (0.015 milligrams), niacin (0.565 milligrams), pantothenic acid (0.183 milligrams), vitamin B6 (0.063 milligrams), copper (0.020 milligrams), manganese (0.039 milligrams) and zinc (0.48 milligrams).
100 grams of horned melon contains approximately 
- 7.56 grams carbohydrate
- 1.26 grams fat
- 1.78 grams protein
- 88.97 grams water
- 3 micrograms folate
- 5.3 milligrams vitamin C
- 13 milligrams calcium
- 1.13 milligrams iron
- 40 milligrams magnesium
- 37 milligrams phosphorus
- 123 milligrams potassium
- 2 milligrams sodium.
Health Benefits Of Horned Melon Or Kiwano
Loaded with dietary fibres and antioxidants, the exotic fruit is extremely advantageous to the human body. It can be consumed as a snack between meals, in addition to salads or in juice or smoothie forms. Whichever way you consume the wonder fruit, the nutritional properties of kiwano will benefit your body and soul.
1. Improves digestion
The dietary fibre content in horned melon is beneficial for the digestion process. The dietary fibre aids in improving your digestion process and maintains a healthy digestive system. The fibre will act by regulating the bowel movements, and the gelatinous nature of the fruit prevents constipation, and help reduce cramping, and  bloating. It also aids in treating serious conditions such as gastric ulcers and colon cancer.
Also read: Eat These Fruits To Improve Digestion
2. Enhances visibility
The impact of vitamin A on boosting eye health and vision is widely known and proven. The micronutrient, vitamin A is a type of carotenoid that has  antioxidant properties. Kiwano has a surplus amount of vitamin A, which will aid in eliminating the  free-radicals that can cause macular degeneration. Consumption of kiwano can help restrict the onset of various eye problems such as cataracts and eye irritation.
3. Aids weight loss
The kiwano fruit is 80% water, therefore consuming it will make you full without the risk of gaining weight. The fruit is low in fat as well, and the nutrient content in the exotic fruit will help your body get the necessary  energy in your journey towards weight loss. And the carbohydrates in the fruit does not cause weight gain. All these properties  contribute to making kiwano a central ingredient in your diet.
4. Promotes cognitive functioning
The high content of vitamin E in the exotic fruit can improve your cognitive functioning. The fruit has rich tocopherol variations that can boost your cognitive function and keep your mind fresh. The vitamin E content in the fruit is said to slow down the onset of  Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
5. Packed with antioxidants
Alpha-tocopherol content in the exotic fruit is beneficial for your body. Suffused with plenty of powerful  antioxidants (a-tocopherol and y-tocopherol), consumption of kiwano can help maintain healthy nerves and blood vessels. The alpha-tocopherol aids in neutralizing the harmful  free radicals in your body, and restrain the onset of serious conditions such as heart diseases, cancer etc., as it flushes out the carcinogenic substances from the body.
Also read: 15 Antioxidant Rich Fruits n Vegetables
6. Slows premature ageing
Vitamin C content in the fruit is responsible for reducing the signs of early ageing. The fruit helps your body in the production of collagen, thereby repairing the damaged organ tissues and skin. The antioxidants, along with the organic compounds and vitamin A reduces the age spots and wrinkles. Kiwano protects your cell from waste products, injuries or  toxins that can cause various ageing disorders.
7. Improves bone strength
The high mineral content in the fruit, such as zinc, calcium etc. aid in the growth and development of your  bones. The calcium storing capacity of the fruit helps in treating and preventing bone-related issues such as osteoporosis. Being rich with a variety of minerals, the fruit also helps in  bone repairing.
8. Promotes healthy metabolism
Kiwano has a good amount of zinc, a mineral that is highly beneficial in improving your metabolic processes. The zinc helps by aiding the  production of protein, normal carbohydrate metabolic process and the insulin discharge. The mineral also helps by repairing wounds and producing blood cells.
9. Reduces stress
Studies point out that the organic components in the fruit aids in the process of hormone regulation. The organic constituent of horned melon regulates the  stress hormones such as adrenaline in your body. Individuals suffering from chronic anxiety can incorporate kiwano in their daily diet.
10. Improves cardiovascular health
The seeds of kiwano contain linoleic acid which aids in  strengthening the heart muscles. The fruit has unsaturated omega six fatty acids, which is beneficial for individuals suffering from cardio-related issues. The low cholesterol level and oleic acid in the fruit improve your overall cardiovascular health.
11. May cure diabetes
The rich amount of magnesium in the exotic fruit is said to have a positive impact on individuals suffering from diabetes. The magnesium helps by regulating the blood  sugar levels in your body.
12. Manages iron deficiency
Kiwano helps in managing the haemoglobin levels in your body. Individuals with anaemia can consume kiwano to help improve  their blood levels and is termed as being the natural drug for treating anaemia. The high levels of iron are also equally beneficial.
13. Strengthens muscles
The kiwano fruit has a good amount of potassium content, which is extremely beneficial for improving your muscle. Likewise, vitamin D in the fruit helps by bettering the calcium absorption process, thereby strengthening your muscles.
Also read: Eat These Fruits To Build Muscles Faster
14. Recovers from heat stroke
Being rich in water and sodium, the kiwano fruit can help you by keeping your body hydrated. In the event of a heat stroke or sunstroke, kiwano maintains the water level in your body from decreasing.
15. Improves immunity
The antioxidant beta-carotene is known for its significant role in health. Kiwano has a high content of beta-carotene antioxidant which will help by improving your immune system and protecting your body from the onset of any diseases.
16. Strengthen hair follicles
Kiwano is highly nutritious. The nutritive property of the fruit is beneficial for the growth of hair, as it strengthens the hair follicles. It increases the strength of your hair follicles when consumed on a daily basis.
17. Improves skin quality
The antioxidant property of the fruit works wonders on your skin. The organic compounds, along with the antioxidants work together in preventing blemishes and spots. The citric acid in kiwano is equally beneficial as it adds a glow to your skin.
How To Eat A Kiwano
- Choose a ripe kiwano, it will have an orange rind.
- Cut or slice the fruit in half, vertically.
- Using a spoon, scoop the jelly from the rind.
- Or if you prefer otherwise, gently squeeze the fruit to get rid of the seeds and enjoy!
How To Store A Kiwano
- Store the kiwano melons at room temperature.
- Do not refrigerate.
- Once the fruit is ripe, consume it within 2-3 days.
Healthy Kiwano Recipes
1. Kiwano salad
- 1 Kiwano
- 1 yellow pepper
- 250 g cherry tomatoes
- 30 g pine nuts
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- ½ tsp mustard
- Pepper & salt
- Cut the kiwano in half and cut it into slices.
- Cut half of the pepper into small slices and remove the seeds.
- Cut the cherry tomatoes into halves.
- Roast the pine nuts, until it becomes golden.
- Mix the olive oil, honey, vinegar and mustard together for the dressing.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, pepper and slices of kiwano.
- Sprinkle the pine nuts over and enjoy!
2. Kiwano salsa
- 1 kiwano
- 5 g coriander
- 10 g basil
- 1 cayenne pepper
- 1 lime
- 4 ripe tomatoes
- 1 red onion
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- A pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp honey
- Cut the kiwano into halves and scoop out the flesh.
- Finely chop the red pepper, garlic, red onion, tomatoes, basil and coriander.
- Squeeze the lemon over the chopped ingredients.
- Add salt and honey.
- Mix the scooped out the flesh of kiwano into the salsa and enjoy!
- Avoid consuming too much of kiwano (3-4 in a day), because too much dietary fibre can cause gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, flatulence etc.
- It can develop allergic reactions in some individuals, due to the number of nutrients present in it.
- Do not consume unripe kiwanos due to the dangerous levels of chemicals present in it.
- Unripe kiwano's toxicity can cause headaches, stomach problems, and fevers.
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