Honeydew melon and cantaloupe are two popular varieties of melon.

They’re similar in many ways but also have some unique differences.

This article reviews the health benefits of honeydew melon and cantaloupe, their similarities and differences, and which type may be a better choice for you.

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Honeydew melon and cantaloupe are two members of the same species, Cucumis melo (1).

Yet, though they’re closely related, they’re two distinctive fruits.

They’re similarly sweet, but honeydew melon has a smooth, light-colored rind and green flesh, while cantaloupe has a darker, netted rind and orange flesh (1, 2).

Health benefits

Melons are highly nutritious and associated with many health benefits. Both honeydew and cantaloupe are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and plant polyphenols (3, 4).

Plant polyphenols are unique compounds in fruits and vegetables that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities (5).

Oxidation and inflammation have been linked to obesity and certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Eating a diet rich in plant polyphenols may decrease both oxidative damage and inflammation in your body (5, 6, 7, 8).

Additionally, members of the C. melo species, such as honeydew melon and cantaloupe, may benefit your skin, as they’re rich in the powerful antioxidant superoxide dismutase, which may help alleviate the harmful effects of excessive sun exposure (9).

What’s more, your body may absorb certain antioxidants, including beta-carotene and lycopene in melons, better when they come from fruits as opposed to vegetables (10).

Summary Honeydew and cantaloupe are members of the C. melo species. They contain many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and may benefit your health by reducing inflammation and oxidative damage and by alleviating damage from sun exposure.

Because they’re the same species, cantaloupe and honeydew melon are noticeably similar. Nevertheless, they have distinct differences, too.

Here are the similarities and differences between cantaloupe and honeydew melon.

Nutrition

Honeydew melon and cantaloupe have comparable nutrient profiles, with 3.5 ounces (100 grams) providing (11, 12):

Honeydew melonCantaloupe
Water content90%90%
Calories3634
Fat0 grams0 grams
Carbs9 grams8 grams
Protein1 gram1 gram
Fiber1 gram1 gram
Vitamin A1% of the DV68% of the DV
Vitamin C30% of the DV61% of the DV

They’re almost identical in their calorie, macronutrient, and water contents, but cantaloupe has more than twice the vitamin C of honeydew and over 60% more vitamin A in the form of provitamin A carotenoids, which are precursors for vitamin A found in plant foods (11, 12).

Vitamin A is essential to prevent vision problems, and vitamin C has a number of immune-boosting functions. Both have antioxidant properties as well (13, 14, 15).

Culinary differences

Honeydew melons and cantaloupes are loved for their sweetness and juiciness (16).

Their color and firm texture make them a good addition to fruit platter and salads.

Due to their similar taste and texture, they can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

However, honeydew is slightly sweeter with a firm, green flesh, while cantaloupe has softer, orange flesh.

Cantaloupe is more prone to being contaminated with disease-causing bacteria due to its netted rind, which provides more recesses in which bacteria can grow. It’s also harder to clean (17).

That said, this problem has been solved by crossbreeding cantaloupe and honeydew melon, resulting in a type of melon with the smooth rind of honeydew but the orange flesh of cantaloupe (18).

Summary Honeydew melon and cantaloupe have similar nutrition profiles, but cantaloupe contains more vitamin C and vitamin A. Additionally, cantaloupe is more likely to be contaminated with harmful bacteria due to its netted rind.

Cantaloupe and honeydew melon are similar, so which one you choose primarily depends on your personal preference.

Cantaloupe contains more provitamin A and vitamin C, making it slightly more nutritious — though both make healthy choices.

Because cantaloupe carries a higher risk of being contaminated with harmful bacteria, you may want to avoid this type if your immune system is compromised or you are pregnant.

Still, a type of melon with the taste and color of cantaloupe and the smooth rind of honeydew melon is now available. This crossbred version is less likely to cause illness.

Either melon is a great choice, as both are low in calories and full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Summary Both cantaloupe and honeydew melon are good choices, though cantaloupe contains more antioxidants. A good choice to reduce your risk of foodborne illness is the variety of melon with the honeydew melon rind and cantaloupe flesh.

Honeydew melon and cantaloupe are two popular varieties of melon.

Honeydew melon has a smooth, light-colored rind and green flesh, while cantaloupe has a darker, netted rind and orange flesh.

Both are sweet and nutritious, but cantaloupe contains more vitamin C and provitamin A. It also carries a greater risk of being contaminated with harmful bacteria.

Regardless of whether you choose cantaloupe or honeydew melon, including a wide variety of fruits — including melon — in your diet is a great way to promote overall health, increase antioxidant activity, and decrease inflammation in your body.