Watermelon vs Cantaloupe: Understanding the Difference and Health Benefits

Watermelon and cantaloupe are two of the most popular summer fruits. They are sweet, hydrating, and refreshing, making them perfect for a hot summer day. They can even make you wonder what is there between Watermelon vs Cantaloupe: Understanding the Difference: do they offer the same benefits, or is one better than the other?

See also Benefits of Watermelon and How Long Does Cantaloupe Last in the Fridge?

Both these fruits are excellent sources of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They are also low in calories, making them suitable for anyone on a low-calorie diet.

Nonetheless, they both have similarities and differences in their nutritional benefits. For instance, watermelon is rich in lycopene, an antioxidant pigment that gives watermelon its red color. On the other hand, cantaloupe is rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that give fruits and vegetables their yellow color.

Both of them are also good sources of vitamin C, which can boost your immune system and promote skin health.

Keep reading to learn more about the two and how they can each support your health.

cantaloupe on white background

Nutritional Profile of Watermelon vs Cantaloupe

A cup of raw watermelon and cantaloupe contains:

Nutrients Watermelon Cantaloupe






Dietary fiber 2% 6%
Vitamin C 21% 108%
Vitamin A 18 % 120%
Potassium 5% 14%
Magnesium 4% 5%
Vitamin B6 3% 6%
Thiamine 3% 5%
Pantothenic acid 3% 2%
Copper 3% 4%
Manganese 3% 4%
Iron 2% 2%
Beta-carotene 467 mcg 3575 mcg
Lycopene 6979 mcg 0 mcg
Water content 141g 160 g
Vitamin K 0% 6%
Calcium 1% 2%
Folate 1% 9%




Zinc 1% 2%


46 mcg

4 Key Differences Between Watermelon and Cantaloupe

While the two fruits are delicious and nutritious, there are key differences that you can notice. Here are four that will be instrumental to you

  • Classification: A watermelon is a Citrullus lanatus, while a cantaloupe falls under Cucumis melo. The latter is a variety of muskmelon.
  • Appearance: Looking at the appearance, you will notice that both can take an oval or round shape. However, the watermelon has smooth green skin (irregular stripes of pale and dark), while a cantaloupe has a jungle greenish color on its coarse skin. The flesh differs as the watermelon mostly has red flesh with black seeds, while the cantaloupe has orange flesh with light brown seeds. From the appearance, the two fruits are very easy to distinguish.
  • Taste: A ripe watermelon will be juicy, sweet, and tender. A cantaloupe may also be sweet and juicy, but its flesh has a pear-like taste.
  • Growing Conditions: Since they are genetically related, the two fruits require similar growing conditions. Their conditions are hot with loamy, somewhat-sandy, and well-drained soil.
    Watermelon cut into slices on wooden tray

Health Benefits of Eating Watermelons vs Cantaloupes

Watermelons and cantaloupe have almost similar nutrients but vary in the amount each contains. This means that even their benefits are mostly similar.

These may include:

Prevents Dehydration

Drinking enough water is essential for various body functions, including regulating body temperature, preventing infections, keeping joints lubricated, delivering nutrients to cells, and improving mood and cognitive functions.

But water is not the only source of hydration. In fact, most people dislike the taste of plain water, making it challenging to maintain their intake. However, eating water-rich foods like watermelon and cantaloupe can help. 

Watermelon consists of almost 92 percent water and cantaloupe 90 percent water. This makes them hydrating and highly refreshing, especially for people not fond of carrying water bottles everywhere. Given their high-water content, the fruits have a low-calorie density, which also promotes weight loss. 

The water content in these fruits also helps fill you up, making you eat less.

Promotes Better Eye Health

Both fruits are rich in essential antioxidants that promote eye health. Watermelon, for example, is a good source of lycopene, an antioxidant that gives watermelon its red color. It has been shown to delay the formation of cataracts and reduce macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in old age.

Lycopene can also improve brain health and improve cognitive functions, including associated conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.

On the other hand, cantaloupe has a different set of antioxidants, including Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Like lycopene, lutein helps improve or prevent age-related macular disease, while zeaxanthin protects the eyes from absorbing harmful blue light that may be damaging to the eyes.

Cantaloupe also contains beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin a helps maintain healthy eyes by keeping the surface of the eye and cornea moist and healthy.

Contains Anti-Cancer Properties

 Watermelon and cantaloupe can help you fight cancer due to their high antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage, leading to various conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Lycopene in watermelon, for example, works by lowering insulin-like growth hormones that speed up cell division. Too much cell division causes cells to grow out of control, leading to cancer formation.

Ongoing research shows that antioxidant properties can inhibit cancer by up to 85%.

Relieves Muscle Soreness

Like most melons, cantaloupe and watermelon contain a generous amount of citrulline. This is an amino acid that enhances performance and decreases muscle soreness. 

It increases the glucose oxidation rate when exercising and the phosphocreatine recovery rate after activity by up to 35%. 

Citrulline can also boost nitric oxide production, which may lower blood pressure, improve erectile dysfunction, exercise, and athletic performance.

Enhances Heart Health

Heart disease is among the leading causes of death across the globe. One must adopt an active lifestyle, lower cholesterol intake, and check blood pressure to combat it. 

The high citrulline levels in these fruits, in addition to potassium, help your blood vessels expand and relax, lowering blood pressure. 

Lycopene in watermelon can also help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which can promote a healthy heart.

Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

The two fruits have a rich combination of antioxidants, anti-inflammation agents, vitamins, and nutrients. These work hand in hand in lowering inflammation and oxidative damage resulting from free radicals. Besides being a symptom, inflammation is the key motivator for most chronic illnesses. As such, consuming fruits protect your body from unnecessary inflammation. This will, in turn, keep diseases such as diabetes and arthritis at bay.

Promotes Better Skin Health

Both fruits are rich in vitamin C, which also acts as an antioxidant helping neutralize free radicals on the skin, especially those from UV radiation. These elements can damage your skin cells leading to premature signs of aging, including wrinkles and fine lines.

Vitamin C also promotes the production of collagen, the main structural protein on the skin. It’s the building block of the skin, helping give it structure, elasticity, and suppleness.

Collagen also improves skin hydration, promotes wound healing, prevents scar formation, reduces visible cellulite, and prevents or reduces stretch marks.

Vitamin A is another essential skin nutrient present in both fruits. Like vitamin C, vitamin A promotes collagen production on the skin. It also encourages the removal of elastin fibers, giving room for new ones.

Additionally, vitamin A can promote the formation of new blood vessels on the skin, reduce acne, reduce hyperpigmentation, and treat skin conditions like psoriasis.

If you yearn for smooth and flawless skin, take a few slices f watermelon and cantaloupe daily and watch the magic unfold.

Enhances Digestion

Watermelons and cantaloupes have a generous amount of water and dietary fiber. These two components are crucial for healthy digestion. Since most of the fiber is soluble, consuming the fruits helps your bowel movement become smoother, and you are unlikely to suffer from digestion issues such as constipation.

Promotes healthy hair

Just like collagen promotes healthy skin, it also provides a structure for the hair, helping you maintain a healthy and strong hair shaft.

Also, cantaloupe contains inositol, a compound acting similarly to the B vitamins and has been shown to promote hair growth. Additionally, the nutrients in cantaloupe are perfect for hair conditioning, preventing breakage and making your hair more manageable.

Cleans kidneys

Melons, especially watermelon, are natural diuretics that help increase urine output without straining the kidneys.

Watermelon also helps the kidney process different waste products like ammonia. It can also help flush out debris and other waste materials from the colon.

How to Prepare and Enjoy Watermelon and Cantaloupe

Eating Raw

The easiest way to consume fruits and get their nutritional value is by eating them raw. Simply wash them, remove the skin, slice them, and enjoy your fruit. The seeds are also safe and packed with a significant amount of vitamins, so you shouldn’t throw them out.

Fresh Juices

While most people find it easier to grab a premade juice from the store, most of these contain added sugar and other additives that lower the quality of the product while putting your health at risk.

That’s why you should always make your own fresh juice at home. To make the juices, wash your fruits, remove the skin, and juice or blend (if you don’t have a juicer), then sieve out the pulp.

Depending on your preference, you can blend with other tropical fruits such as pineapples and mangoes. Serve it cold.


When making a smoothie, add some Greek yogurt for some extra creaminess. Blend both fruits together until everything combines and you get a velvety consistency. Don’t forget to add in some ice cubes for that cool effect. You can also garnish your smoothie with mint.

Fruit Salads

 Incorporate cantaloupe and watermelon in your fruit salads for enhanced sweetness. Cut the fruit’s flesh into small pieces and mix them with your salad ingredients. If it is too sweet, you can squeeze some lime juice and serve.


These are frozen treats that only need a few ingredients. You will use cantaloupe or watermelon puree or both and some honey. Blend all the ingredients into a puree and then chill and churn them. You can enjoy it as a dessert.


While it may be unconventional, some people prefer roasting watermelons and cantaloupes to get all the juice. Cut the fruits into pieces and season with BBQ sauce, soy sauce, and any other seasoning of choice. Pop it into the oven for seven minutes and have a natural taste of the fruits.

Potential Side Effects of Consuming Watermelon and Cantaloupe

While the fruits are natural, you need to be cautious about overconsumption. For starters, the two fruits have high potassium contents, and while it is an essential nutrient, too much of it at once could make you susceptible to hyperkalemia. This is especially so if you have kidney disease, as your kidneys cannot completely filter out the excessive amount.

Naturally, potassium promotes the dilation of the blood vessels hence reducing high blood pressure. However, if it is too much, it may increase the risk of a heart attack.

Also, due to their high natural sugar content, overconsumption may cause your glucose levels to rise quickly, especially if you have diabetes. 

Additionally, cantaloupe is very high in fiber, and although fiber is important to the body, too much of it may be hard on the digestive system and cause things like cramping, diarrhea, and difficulty digesting. Too much fiber can also be harmful in some health conditions such as cancer, inflammatory disease, or if you recently had a bowel surgery

As with any other food, you must consume these fruits in moderation. If you are on medication or have any underlying issues that bar you from taking these fruits, you should get in touch with your physician.

Watermelon vs. Cantaloupe: Which is Better than the Other

When it comes to the selection, it comes down to your preferences. As you can see, each fruit has its health benefits based on its mineral and nutrient composition. Some people may prefer watermelon for its sweetness, while others go for cantaloupe because it is perceived to be more refreshing. Ultimately, it is up to you to choose the fruit you like better. Try each fruit and let me know what you love most.


Related Articles:

  1. How to Tell if Cut Watermelon is Bad
  2. Santa Claus Melon
  3. Korean Melon
  4. Yellow Watermelon

Final Thoughts

Both watermelon and cantaloupe are delicious fruits rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They have almost similar nutrients; however, they may slightly differ in certain nutrients, like antioxidants.

While watermelons are rich in lycopene, which gives them a red color. Cantaloupe is rich in beta-carotene, an orange pigment that gives its orange color.

Nonetheless, combining the two can offer you additional benefits, thus boosting your health and well-being.


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  and would love to see more, join me on YoutubeInstagramFacebook & Twitter!

Get discounted copies of my cookbook here.

Fortunately, because of the Ads on our website, readers and subscribers of Healthier Steps are sponsoring many underprivileged families.

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