Kiwano 101: Description, Nutrition, and health benefits

Kiwano is botanically called Cucumis metuliferus and is commonly known as African horned cucumber or horned melon. Kiwano is an annual fruit plant belonging to the Cucurbitaceae or melon family linked to many health benefits. It has horn-like spines, orange skin, jelly-like flesh fruit, and a texture similar to a pomegranate.

Origin of Kiwano

It is native to the semi-arid regions of Central Africa, South Africa, Kalahari Desert, Nigeria, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. It was introduced in Australia 70 years ago and later it became a weed.

Considering the shelf life and retention capacity of decorative appeal for many months, people in New Zealand and Kenya grow this fruit as an ornamental plant and its market is expanding.

Scientific Classification of Kiwano

  • Kingdom: Plantae
  • Order: Cucurbitales
  • Family: Cucurbitaceae
  • Genius: Cucumis
  • Species: C. metuliferus
  • Scientific Name: Cucumis metuliferus (E. Mey)

Horned melon is a monoecious plant with staminate flowers and ellipsoid fruit. It is yellow-reddish color, shaped like a stout cucumber and its seed are embedded in a mesocarp. It is endemic to the semi-arid regions of Central Africa found along the roadsides and from low to medium altitude ranges.

Pest and diseases related to kiwano

It is resistant to many root-knot nematodes and highly resistant to the watermelon mosaic virus. The pest and diseases related to kiwano are squash mosaic virus, fusarium wilt, and Israel powdery mildew. It is also resistant to greenhouse whitefly, and powdery mildew.

Also Read: Watermelon benefits for Men

Nutritional Value of Kiwano

Horned melon is a low-calorie fruit containing about 44 calories out of 100 grams. It contains health-beneficial phytonutrients, dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals. It possesses antioxidant properties and it helps in anti-inflammatory purposes, skin protection, and prevents some sort of cancers.

100 grams of fresh kiwano fruit contains 5.3 milligrams of vitamin C which is 9 percent of the daily recommended value. It helps our body in developing resistance against infectious diseases and harmful free radicals.

100 grams of fresh kiwano fruit contains 1.3 milligrams of iron which is 14 percent of the daily recommended value and 40 milligrams of magnesium which is 10 percent of the daily recommended value. Kiwano is also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins like thiamin, folic acid, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid.

How do you pick a good kiwano melon?

The very first step is to choose a fully ripened fruit. A fully ripened kiwano fruit will have an orange rind with spikes and squeeze slightly to check its hardness to determine whether it’s ripened or not.

Kiwano preparation and recipe tips

  • Cut the fruit in half and scoop out the jelly-like flesh.
  • Use as a salad, fill with yogurt, or use as toppings with sweet dishes.
  • Recipes of kiwano include kiwano-strawberry smoothie, salad, and mousse.

11 Amazing Kiwano Health Benefits

According to the previous article on the amazing health benefits of kiwano, there are about 11 health benefits listed below:

1. Weight loss

People who are seeking to lose weight without continually feeling hungry usually resort to a kiwano to fight the feeling of hunger. The high density of nutrients also keeps your body strong in nutrients even though the fruit is moderate in calories and fat.

2. Antioxidants

It is healthy in a powerful antioxidant called alpha-tocopherol. It also neutralizes free radicals in your body, thus preserving you from serious illnesses like cancer, heart disorder, etc.

3. Eyecare

The high levels of vitamin A present in kiwano make it an important supporter of visual health. Vitamin A is a kind of carotenoid, which acts as an antioxidant for the eyes.

4. Cognitive functioning

Although several nutrients can positively influence the brain, vitamin E is connected to slowing Alzheimer’s disorder and dementia. The high levels of tocopherol changes in kiwano make it a favorite amongst all who want to keep their minds active.

Also Read: Health Benefits of Paragis Grass

5. Support for digestion

Horned melon improves bowel movements and stops cramps, constipation, bloating, and other critical conditions such as colon cancer and gastric ulcers.

6. Metabolism

Zinc plays an important role in the metabolism and composition of proteins, important for the healing and repair of organs, tissues, blood vessels, and cells.

7. Strong bones

Horned melon helps to stop osteoporosis. Its richness in many minerals makes it an excellent fruit supporting developing, repair, and developing bones.

8. Anti-aging

It is lovely for staying young, in and out. It is identified to protect the skin’s integrity and decrease age spots and wrinkles and decrease scars and blemishes’ appearance.

9. Stress reduction

According to research, the many organic compounds in this fruit contribute to hormonal control, especially stress hormones such as adrenaline.

10. Healthy heart

Horned melon has a shallow cholesterol level, and its seeds are abundant in linoleic acid, which carries unsaturated omega-6 fatty acids. It also includes oleic acid, which is necessary for heart health because it is saturated. Your heart muscles increase strength and health with this delightful fruit.

11. Red blood cells production

Sufficient dietary iron intake is important for your body to produce sufficient healthy red blood cells for sufficient oxygenation. Plant sources of iron – like kiwano melon – include a form of the mineral called non-heme iron. This form is not received as efficiently as iron from animal origins.