Melons have long been touted as a good food for weight loss. They are sweet and refreshing, yet low in calories and high in nutrients.

Watermelons, honeydew, and cantaloupe are the most common varieties of melon, and you can find imported melons all year-round. So, what are the benefits of eating melon for weight loss? Read on to find out.

1. Weight Loss

Weight loss comes from reducing calories, but cutting out sugary foods can be hard. Unlike processed desserts, melons are naturally sweet, which can help you satisfy that sugar craving, and may help you resist eating less healthy sweet options.

2. Low Calorie

Melons like cantaloupes, watermelon and honeydew are regarded as low-energy density foods. This means that they have fewer calories for a larger volume of food.

Watermelon has 46 calories per cup of diced fruit, cantaloupe has 53 calories per cup, and honeydew has 61 calories per cup, so you can eat a lot of melon without racking up the calories. The high water content of melons also helps you to feel full, which can help you control the urge to overeat.

A study published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition showed that food with low-energy densities and a low fat content can help to reduce weight and the risk of type 2 diabetes.

3. High in Nutrients

Melons contain many of the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. They have vitamins C and A, and cantaloupe is the variety that contains most of these vitamins, with 30 percent of a man’s vitamin A requirement, and 37 percent of a woman’s requirement.

Other nutrients in melons include potassium, folate, selenium, and choline. Dietary guidelines published in 2010 advise that adults eating between 1,400 to 1,800 calories per day need 1 ½ cups of fruit every day to ensure proper nourishment. This applies whether you are dieting or not.

4. Ways to Use Melons to Aid Weight Loss

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When you eat melons instead of high calorie foods, you reduce your overall caloric intake, which is what’s needed to lose weight.

If you don’t like eating melon on its own all the time, there are many other ways to enjoy it. For instance, eat 1 ½ cups of melon and 1 cup of Greek yogurt for a 200 calorie breakfast. Have half a cup of melon as a morning or afternoon snack, to keep temptation for sugary foods at bay. You can also combine melon with other fresh fruits as a fruit salad, or topping for yogurt.

While melon is certainly an ally in the battle against weight loss, you need to eat a balanced amount of other foods too. You need to eat protein from meat or beans, complex carbohydrates from breads and veggies, as well as healthy fats.