African Horned Melon

Debbie Obierika
Debbie Obierika
I am a versatile writer with passion for curating interesting and thrilling content that wll keep my readers glued to their screen.
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The African Horned Melon, also known as the Kiwano or African Horned Cucumber, is a unique fruit that is native to Africa. While it is not very common in many parts of the world, it has been used for centuries in Africa as food and medicine owing to its many health benefits. In this article, we will be talking about the African Hoorned melon, its origin, history as well as health benefits.

What is African Horned Melon?

Horned Melon
African Horned Melon

The African Horne dd Melon is a traditional food plant in Africa. It is one of the few sources of water during the rainy season in the Kalahari Desert. In northern Zimbabwe, it is called gaka or gakachika and it is primarily used as a snack or salad and rarely for decoration. It can be eaten at any stage of ripening.

The African Horned Melon can be compared to taste like a combination of banana and passion fruit or a combination of banana, cucumber, and lime. A small amount of salt or sugar can increase the flavor, but the seed content can make eating the fruit less convenient than many common fruits. 

The peel of the Horned Melon is also edible as the ripe fruit has orange skin and lime-green, jelly-like flesh.

The African Horned Melon is resistant to several root-knot nematodes; meaning that the horned melon is highly resistant to pests. It is highly resistant to watermelons but extremely sensitive to the squash mosaic virus.

Some Horned Melon variants are susceptible to the Fusarium wilt, however more often than not the African Horned Melon is one fruit that weathers the storm.

The common names of Kiwano are Melano, the African Horned Cucumber, Spiked Melon, Brownfish fruit, Jelly Melon, Horned Melon, English tomato, and Hedged gourd.

Origin of African Horned Melon

The African Horned Melon also known as Kiwano is a Cucurbitaceae family member. This fruit is a tropical fruit found in Africa’s tropical and subtropical sub-Saharan areas, Australia, and several Pacific islands.

The African Hornd melon was nicknamed ‘Kiwano’ because its flesh resembled a kiwi fruit: juicy, emerald-green, jelly-like meat. 

The Horned Melon is Native to South Africa’s semi-arid regions, including Botswana in the south and Nigeria in the center, especially the Kalahari Desert. It is now grown as far as New Zealand and Australia for sale in the United States and Europe as well.

On the outside, the African Horned Melon resembles an oval Melon with spikes while on the inside it looks gelatinous, lime green, and pulpy. Despite its obvious resemblance to Kiwi, it has no relation with the Kiwi family. It has a tangy flavor and a cucumber-like texture.

Nutritional Composition of the African Horned Melon

It is very high in water, it contains up to 89 grams of water, and has low calories, carbohydrates, and fat content. The nutrient component that provides the majority of the calories in the African Horned Melon is Proteins and carbs. 

It is said that every 100 grams of the Horned Melon composes of 44 calories, 1.7 grams of protein, and 7.56 grams of carbohydrates, higher than other fruits.

The African Horned Melon is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, many of which promote health. The Horned Melon composes of 123 milligrams of potassium and 40 milligrams of magnesium for every 100 grams. The antioxidants composed in this fruit include vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, and lutein. 

While the seeds of this African Horned Melon include antioxidants such as tocopherol and a-tocopherol,  which are both organic forms of vitamin E.

According to USDA data, 100 g of Kiwano offers 44 kcal of calories and is cholesterol-free. As a result, Kiwano is an excellent choice if you want to lose weight because of its unique nutrient distribution.

Health Benefits of the African Horned Melon

Horned Melon
Horned Melon

Studies have shown that this fruit is an essential fruit for preventing malnutrition and treating diseases because it has very high nutritional compositions. 

It has helped fight malnutrition in several parts of Africa and other underdeveloped countries because it contains large quantities of essential nutrients. The leaves, roots, and seeds are beneficial for so many things, however, the fruit itself takes the cake.

Regardless of the fact that it is not widely available, the African Horned Melon is a nutritious addition to anyone’s diet as it provides protein, magnesium, vitamin C, and iron. 

African Horned Melon can boost cognitive performance, prevent chronic diseases, aid weight reduction, protects the skin from blemishes, increases metabolism, improve vision, strengthen muscles, regulate digestion, slow down aging, and reduce inflammation. It is a low-calorie, cholesterol-free, high-nutrient fruit with various health-promoting components. So when it comes to health, the African Horned Melon is a fruit with numerous health benefits.

We are going to be highlighting the elemental benefits of the African Horned Melon to the human body;

Rich in Antioxidants

The African Horned Melon is abundant in vitamin E-based antioxidants such as alpha-tocopherol and beta-tocopherol. These antioxidants support the immune system while helping to keep neurons and blood vessels healthy. It helps neutralize free radicals that cause oxidative damage to the cells and protects bodies from degeneration, heart disease, and cancer. It is also said that vitamin E helps reduce the risks of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. 

The African Horned Melon is high in antioxidants which help prevent skin blemishes and it contains vitamin C which helps your skin glow and aids in preventing aging by increasing collagen production.

Helps Lower The Risk of Diabetes

It is very rich in dietary fiber, which slows down the absorption of sugar in our bloodstream and lowers blood sugar levels thereby reducing the risks of Diabetes. It is also high in Magnesium which helps with blood sugar regulation. 

Studies have shown that magnesium helps regulate insulin action and insulin-mediated glucose uptake in type 2 diabetes. The Horned Melon is highly recommended for people with diabetes. 

Boosts Eye Health

The African Horned Melon is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which helps with vision improvement. Its antioxidant properties protect the eye cells from free radical damage.

Also, vitamin A is an essential nutrient for good retinal health and it strengthens the mucosal lining, protecting the nasal passages, throat, and digestive tract against infection.

Prevents Early Aging

This African fruit offers many essential elements required for the function of numerous body functions, including vitamin C. The Horned Melon provides 5.3 milligrams of vitamin C in every 100 grams. 

Also, the Horned Melon helps produce collagen which is an element of skin tissue utilized for repairing damaged skin and organ tissues. The fruit also protects cells from injury caused by free radicals and harmful toxins that can develop many aging disorders. 

Boosts Metabolism

The African Horned Melon aids metabolism in the body because it has a large composition of zinc. Zinc is an essential dietary component because it aids in creating protein, which aids in the healing of wounds, tissues, and blood vessels. It also contains sufficient zinc, which helps insulin release and boosts proper carbohydrate metabolism.

Helps Digestion

This fruit is high in dietary fibre content aids and promotes regular bowel movements. Dietary fibre boosts healthy digestion and cleanses the urinary tract and protects against dangerous illnesses, including stomach ulcers and colon cancer. 

It also ensures great cardiac health by helping manage cholesterol levels in the body and manage cholesterol levels in the body and insulin receptors. It contains high amounts of antibacterial and antiviral properties which are beneficial in preventing different types of gastrointestinal tract infections.

Reduces Blood Pressure

African Horned Melon is high in potassium and other electrolytes and can help lower blood pressure. Potassium is a mineral found in cells and body fluids that aid in regulating heart rate and blood pressure induced by sodium. In addition, potassium works as a vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels and allows blood to flow smoothly through the arteries which help in lowering blood pressure. It helps the heart’s functionality.

The African melon is one amazing fruit from the African continent that is diverse and unique because of its unique health composition. It is definitely a fruit that should be included in your diet if you can find it in your area.

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Debbie Obierika
Debbie Obierika
I am a versatile writer with passion for curating interesting and thrilling content that wll keep my readers glued to their screen.

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