8 Benefits of Kiwano (Horned Melon) and How to Eat It

Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2022
8 Benefits of Kiwano
The kiwano fruit can be consumed in a variety of ways.

Kiwano melon (Cucumis metuliferus), also called African horned cucumber or jelly melon, has a distinctive appearance, unlike regular melons. It belongs to the family of cucumbers. 

Because of the orange rind and spiky spurs on its mature fruit, kiwano is also frequently referred to as an orange spiky fruit.

  • These melons are now grown in the United States and other nations all over the world, but they were originally from central and southern Africa.
  • When you cut it, the slimy flesh looks like a cucumber and has a thick, horned outer layer.
  • In addition to being delicious, kiwano (horned melon) seeds provide several health benefits. They have a significant number of antioxidants that guard against diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many other disorders.
  • Minerals such as magnesium, manganese, copper, and selenium are abundant in these seeds. Protein and fat are present but in a modest amount.

8 health benefits of kiwano

Eight health benefits of kiwano include:

  1. Rich in antioxidants: Alpha and beta tocopherol, two types of vitamin E, are found in the edible seeds of kiwano melons.
    • These antioxidants protect the health of the muscles and nerves by scavenging harmful free radicals.
    • The pulp includes lutein, lycopene, and beta-carotene, which preserve and repair DNA and delay aging.
    • The fruit includes vitamin C, which increases the skin's and body's production of collagen and may lessen the appearance of early signs of aging.
  2. Can help prevent iron deficiency anemia: Kiwano melon is a high source of iron, which must be obtained through diet because our body is unable to create it on its own.
    • One of the most widespread nutritional deficits is iron deficiency anemia. Red blood cells, which deliver oxygen to the lungs and tissues, include hemoglobin molecules, which store iron.
    • Lack of this trace nutrient may result in anemia, impede oxygen delivery to the tissues and organs, and impair their ability to perform their duties.
  3. Protects your heart: Kiwano melon is abundant in magnesium, an essential mineral that helps calm the heart (and body) muscles, control blood pressure, and guard against cardiovascular diseases.
  4. Helps with depression: Kiwano melon contains two vital minerals, namely, zinc and manganese, which have a good effect on your mental health.
    • Researchers discovered a link between depression and micronutrient malnutrition. Combining antidepressant therapy with the consumption of zinc and magnesium (through supplements and diet) helps strengthen mental wellness. However, to prove the connection, more investigation is needed.
  5. Improves digestion: Dietary fiber from kiwano melons may aid in better digestion and encourage regular bowel movements.
  6. Protects your vision: Kiwano contains zinc, which has been linked to a lower incidence of age-related macular degeneration, an eye condition that can result in blindness.
  7. Strengthening bone health: Healthy bones can be encouraged by magnesium in kiwano. Fragile bones and osteopenia have both been linked to magnesium shortage.
  8. Enhances skin health: Vitamin C is abundant in healthy skin. Your skin is better protected from UV damage with vitamin C, and it may lessen the effects of aging on your skin.
    • It aids in the recovery of burned or injured skin as well. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, such as kiwano, can help reduce sun damage-related hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin).


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How to eat kiwano

The kiwano fruit can be consumed in a variety of ways. You may either eat it straight as a snack or combine the flesh with other fruits to make a luscious drink.

  • For individuals who are traveling or are just thirsty, it is highly beneficial because it contains a large volume of water. Additionally, it can reduce blood pressure and enhance digestion.
  • Kiwano fruit can be eaten in two major ways. You can either slice it lengthwise and scoop out the flesh with a spoon or chop it into transverse parts.
  • The seeds can also be consumed, either by themselves or in combination with other fruits. Due to their robust flavor, they are typically not eaten by themselves.
  • Although they are typically used in desserts, they can be found in salads, main dishes, and even drinks. Most often, the seeds are used as a decorative items.
  • They can be very useful if you are hosting a dinner party and want to improve the presentation of the food. You can combine them with mashed potatoes to create small flower-shaped potatoes before serving them to your guests.

What are the nutritional values present in kiwano?

Kiwano is rich in important vitamins and minerals. It has high water content and few calories. Vitamins A and C, zinc, and lutein are the antioxidants found in the fruit. The antioxidants a-tocopherol and β-tocopherol, which are natural forms of vitamin E, are present in the seeds. 

According to the US Food and Drug Administration's Food Data Central, one cup (233 grams) of kiwano provides us with the following nutrients:

Table. The nutritional content of kiwano (one cup; 233 grams)
Nutrient Amount
Calories 103 Kcal
Protein 4.15 grams
Fat 2.95 grams
Vitamin C 12.3 mg
Magnesium 93.2 mg
Zinc 1.12 mg
Potassium 287 mg
Phosphorus 86.2 mg
Vitamin A 343 IU
Calcium 30.3 mg


According to the USDA, there is no difference between a “portion” and a “serving.” See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 8/18/2022
Image Source: iStock image