How to eat melon kiwano

7 benefits of kiwano (horned melon) - and how to eat it

Kiwano melon is an exotic, peculiar looking fruit from the central and southern regions of Africa. It is formally known as Cucumi metuliferu but informally it is also about horned melon


Kiwano melon is an exotic, peculiar looking fruit from the central and southern regions of Africa.

It is formally known as Cucumis metuliferus informally, it is also about horned melon and African horned cucumber.

When ripe, the thick outer skin of a kiwano melon is bright orange and covered with small prickly protrusions or horns. The inner flesh consists of a gelatinous, lime green or yellow substance that contains a variety of edible seeds.

While kiwano melon isn't a fruit you are likely to find in your average fruit basket, including it in your diet can be good for your health.

Here are 7 kiwano melon benefits and tips on how to eat them.

1. Contains a wide variety of essential nutrients

Kiwano melon contains a number of vitamins and minerals, many of which play a role in beneficial health effects.

A single kiwano melon (209 grams) provides the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 92
  • Carbohydrates: 16 grams
  • Protein: 3.7 grams
  • Fat: 2.6 grams
  • Vitamin C: 18% of the daily reference intake (RDI)
  • Vitamin A.: 6% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 7% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 21% of the RDI
  • Iron: 13% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 8% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 7% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Calcium: 3% of the RDI

Kiwano melon consists mainly of water and is relatively low in calories, carbohydrates and fat. About 16% of its calories come from protein - which is relatively high compared to other fruits.

This unique nutrient distribution makes kiwano melons suitable for a variety of diet plans.

Summary Kiwano melon contains many vitamins and minerals that are essential for optimal health. It's relatively low in calories, but high in protein for a fruit.

2. Provides several powerful antioxidants

In addition to being nutritious, kiwano melon offers several powerful antioxidants - many of which are nutrients in themselves.

Antioxidants are compounds found in certain foods that can protect against cell damage from oxidative stress in your body.

Although oxidative reactions are a normal part of human metabolism, excessive oxidative stress can lead to inflammation and dysfunction of cells over time.

You can minimize this potential harm by providing your body with adequate supplies of antioxidant-rich foods like kiwano melons.

The main antioxidants in kiwano melons are vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, and lutein. Together, these nutrients play a role in reducing inflammation and preventing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer (1, 2, 3, 4).

In addition, the edible seeds in the pulp provide vitamin E - another nutrient with antioxidant properties (5).

Summary Kiwano melon and its seeds contain several antioxidants, including zinc, lutein, and vitamins A, C, and E.

3. Promotes healthy red blood cell production

Kiwano melon is a good source of iron and provides about 13% of your daily needs (1).

Red blood cells store a ferrous substance called hemoglobin that is used to carry oxygen around your body.

Therefore, an adequate supply of iron from food is necessary for your body to produce enough healthy red blood cells for proper oxygenation (6).

Plant sources of iron - like kiwano melon - contain a form of the mineral known as non-heme iron. This form is not absorbed as efficiently as iron from animal sources.

However, pairing non-heme iron with vitamin C increases the rate of absorption (7).

Incidentally, kiwanomelon also provides a significant amount of vitamin C. This can improve the absorption of the iron present in the fruit and make it more effective at helping red blood cell production and transporting oxygen (1).

Summary Kiwano melon is a good source of iron and vitamin C. These nutrients promote the proper production in red blood cells of hemoglobin, which is necessary for oxygen transport.

4. Promotes blood sugar control

Kiwano melon has a low glycemic index, which means it won't cause significant spikes in blood sugar after consuming it.

It is also a rich source of magnesium - a mineral that is directly involved in the metabolism of glucose (sugar) and insulin (8).

A small study found that kiwan melon extract significantly lowered blood sugar in diabetic rats, but not in animals with normal blood sugar levels (9).

Ultimately, more research is needed to determine whether kiwano melons affect blood sugar in humans.

Summary Kiwano melon is low on glycemic and contains nutrients necessary for proper sugar and insulin metabolism. Some animal studies suggest that it can be useful for treating high blood sugar. However, this has yet to be proven in human studies.

5. Supports proper hydration

Water alone is often viewed as a synonym for hydration. However, electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium are also required to maintain a healthy fluid status (10).

Kiwano melon is about 88% water and contains carbohydrates and electrolytes. This makes them useful for increasing hydration (1).

If you nibble on a fruit like kiwano melon on a hot summer day or after intense exercise, you can get enough energy and moisture throughout the day.

Summary Kiwano melon is high in water content and provides several electrolytes that are necessary to stay hydrated.

6. Can improve mood

Kiwano melon contains magnesium and zinc - two minerals closely related to mental health and maintaining healthy brain function.

Both magnesium and zinc are involved in the production of neurotransmitters that affect mood and have been linked to some mood-related disorders such as depression and anxiety (11).

One study looked at the use of magnesium to treat mild depression and anxiety disorders in 126 people. Those who received magnesium reported significant improvements in their symptoms (12).

Overall, more research is needed to better understand the roles magnesium and zinc play in improving mood or preventing and treating depression, but eating many mineral-rich foods like kiwano melons certainly can't hurt.

Summary Kiwano melon contains minerals that are involved in the production of neurotransmitters that regulate mood.

7. Other potential benefits

Research specifically focused on the health effects of the kiwan melon is minimal. However, many of the nutrients it contains are known to help your body's systems in other ways:

  • Supports bone health: Kiwano melon provides nutrients that aid in bone remodeling and the maintenance of bone strength, including magnesium, vitamin C and zinc (13, 14).
  • Promotes healthy skin: The vitamin C and water in the kiwano melon can support collagen production, wound healing and protection from sun damage (7, 15).
  • Promotes heart health: Kiwano melon is a rich source of magnesium and potassium. These minerals can reduce inflammation, prevent the buildup of arterial plaque, and help regulate blood pressure (16).
  • Strengthens immunity: Kiwano melon also provides several nutrients that are important for a healthy immune system, including vitamin C, zinc, iron, and magnesium (2, 3, 17, 18).

While kiwano melons contain many important nutrients, no single food is key to optimal health.

Consider using kiwano melons with other nutrient-dense foods to get the most benefit from your diet.

Summary Nutrients in kivan melons play an important role in supporting your immune system, heart, skin, and bones.

How to eat it

At first glance, a kiwano melon may seem anything but edible. In fact, it looks like it's something from space rather than a fruit.

The outer shell is thick and covered with tiny spines. Before it is ripe, the fruit is dark green, but when it ripens it turns creamy orange.

Although the rind is edible, most people stick to eating the sticky inner flesh that is full of seeds. Many also eat the seeds because their sheer quantity makes them difficult to remove from the pulp.

If you're brave enough to eat the peel, cut off the spines first.

The taste of the kiwano melon is mild and slightly sweet. It tastes similar to its close relative, the cucumber. If it's very ripe, you may also be able to spot a hint of banana flavor.

The easiest way to eat a kiwano melon is to cut it open and scoop the pulp straight off the peel. Some people add a little salt or sugar to improve the taste. It can be eaten fresh or cooked.

If you're feeling creative, you can add the pulp to smoothies or top with yogurt, muesli or an ice cream sundae. It's also a delicious addition to sauces and dressings.

Summary The easiest way to eat kiwano is to cut it open and scoop out the pulp. It can also be used in smoothies or on yogurt, cereal or ice cream.

The bottom line

Kiwano melon is an exotic fruit native to Africa that offers several health benefits due to its rich nutritional profile.

The thick orange peel is covered in spikes, which can make it look a little intimidating. However, eating it is as simple as slicing it open and scooping out the pulp. You can even use the rind as a serving platter.

If you're looking for a new way to mix up your fruit game, kiwano melon is a delicious and nutritious choice.