Honeydew Melon Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Honeydew, annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Honeydew melons are large, oval melons with a smooth rind and pale center. Despite their name, honeydew melons are not loaded with sugar. If you're concerned about the carb count of this sweet-tasting melon, keep in mind that honeydews have a high percentage of water that dilutes their natural sugars. Honeydew melons also provide some fiber and several essential micronutrients, including vitamin C and potassium.

Honeydew Melon Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (177g) of balled honeydew melon.

  • Calories: 64
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Sodium: 32mg
  • Carbohydrates: 16g
  • Fiber: 1.4g
  • Sugars: 14g
  • Protein: 1g

Carbs

A cup of honeydew melon balls contains 16 grams of carbohydrates, the majority of which comes from natural sugars (14 grams). There are also 1.4 grams of fiber in 1 cup of honeydew melon.

The glycemic index of honeydew melon is 62 (which is moderate; under 55 is low) and the glycemic load is 9, which is considered low.

Fats

Honeydew melon is basically fat-free with less than 1/2 gram per serving.

Protein

Honeydew melon doesn't offer much in the way of dietary protein. There's just 1 gram per 1-cup serving.

Vitamins and Minerals 

Honeydew melon provides potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, magnesium, and choline.

Health Benefits

Beyond nutritional benefits, honeydew may be useful in managing or preventing certain health conditions.

Prevents Dehydration

A 1-cup serving (177g) of balled honeydew contains 159 grams of water. Water amounts to nearly 90% of the melon by weight. In addition to drinking enough fluids, water contained in the fruits and vegetables that you eat contributes to your overall hydration status. Since honeydew melon is in season during the warmer months, it's the perfect summertime treat to promote good hydration.

Promotes Heart Health

The low sodium and high potassium content of fruits like honeydew melon is an effective combination for preventing high blood pressure. In addition, honeydew melon is a source of folate and other B-vitamins which help reduce homocysteine levels, a key marker of inflammation. As a result, adequate folate intake is associated with a reduced risk of stroke. It's no wonder that dietary patterns that are high in fruits and vegetables are known to prevent heart disease.

Aids Diabetes Management

Managing diabetes is difficult, especially if you have a sweet tooth. Luckily, fresh fruits like honeydew melon are associated with improvements in blood sugar control, despite their natural sugar content. The fiber and water in honeydew melons prevents them from causing large spikes in blood sugar.

In fact, a 2017 study from China analyzed the medical records of 482,591 adults from 2004 to 2008. Researchers concluded that daily fruit consumption was associated with a 12% reduction in diabetes risk compared to people who never or rarely consumed fruit.

In people who reported having diabetes, consuming fruit more than 3 days per week was associated with a 13% to 28% lower risk of developing diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye disease, and disease of the nervous system. This lower risk was compared to people who consumed fruit less than one day per week. The misconception that fresh fruit is too sweet for people with diabetes may do more harm than good in managing the disease. 

Promotes Skin Repair

The vitamin C in honeydew melons supports the production of collagen, a major structural protein required for skin tissue repair. A cup of honeydew melon provides 32 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 36% of the daily value set by the Food and Drug Administration.

Because our bodies are unable to produce vitamin C, getting a regular supply through the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is crucial. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports good health from the inside out.

Protects Vision

The effects of aging and exposure to sunlight can lead to eye issues including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. This progressive damage to delicate eye tissues causes vision loss over time. Honeydew melon contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are powerful defenders against vision loss. These antioxidants protect eyesight and reduce the impact of environmental damage.

Allergies

A true allergy to honeydew melon is uncommon. However, cross-reactive symptoms may occur when eating melon due to a phenomenon known as oral allergy syndrome (OAS). This is when the body mistakes proteins in melon for certain tree or grass pollens that cause "true" allergies. Ragweed (late summer through fall) is the most common pollen associated with honeydew OAS.

Compared to true allergies, OAS symptoms are relatively mild and short-lasting. They may include:

  • An itchy or burning sensation in the mouth
  • Swollen or numb lips
  • A scratchy throat
  • A stuffy or runny nose

Symptoms will usually develop right after eating honeydew and may take an hour to resolve. An over-the-counter oral antihistamine may help relieve the symptoms. Call your doctor or seek urgent care if symptoms persist or worsen.

Varieties

Honeydew melon is different from cantaloupe and watermelons. Honeydew melon is classified under the species Cucumis melo. It has a characteristic smooth skin (unlike cantaloupe skin, which is netted) and pale flesh that may be white, green, or orange.

When It's Best

Honeydew melons are available year-round in the supermarket but are best between May and September. Choose melons that are heavy for their size and have smooth, undamaged skin with a slightly waxy feel. Avoid melons that are overly soft or feel damp at the stem end. A ripe honeydew should give off a noticeably sweet, almost honey-like aroma.

Storage and Food Safety

After picking, honeydew melons will continue to soften but not get sweeter. Melons should be stored at room temperature, above 45 degrees Fahrenheit where they should last for 2 to 4 weeks.

Wash the outside of a honeydew melon under running water before cutting into it. After the melon is cut, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container and consume within 4 days.

How to Prepare

Sweet honeydew melons are a healthy substitute for dessert. Because melons have such a high percentage of water, cooking them destroys their texture. Honeydew is best served raw, diced, sliced, or balled with a melon baller. It can be tossed in a fruit salad, blended into smoothies, or paired with Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or ricotta. Try it with chia seed pudding. You can also slice honeydew melon and wrap in prosciutto to be served as an appetizer.

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Article Sources
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