Enhancing Kidney Function With Cantaloupe 

  • Victoria Iyeduala WASSCE/NECO, Sciences, School Of Secondary Education (I.C.E) Auchi

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Introduction

Your kidneys do three things, all geared towards ensuring your overall health and wellness: 

  • They help you get rid of substances your body doesn't need.
  • They help you retain the substances your body needs.
  • They help your body produce the substances it needs.

Your kidneys filter your blood and rid your body of waste products like toxins, drugs, acids, salts, vitamins, minerals, and excess water. All this waste passes out of your body through urine. While ridding your body of unwanted substances, they also ensure nothing essential is lost. This way, your kidneys help you maintain a healthy balance of fluid, nutrients, and chemicals.

Your kidneys produce erythropoietin, an essential hormone in red blood cell production. They also produce a heart-protecting hormone called renin, which controls blood pressure. Vitamin D, which is vital for healthy bone formation and maintenance, is converted to its active form by the kidneys.1

Healthy kidneys

  • Cleanse your blood and prevent the buildup of harmful waste products in your body
  • Prevent fluid accumulation in your body (oedema)
  • Help you maintain a healthy nutrient balance
  • Keep your bones healthy
  • Lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases and anaemia
  • Help you maintain overall health and wellness 

Nutrition plays a big role in maintaining healthy kidneys. According to the National Kidney Foundation, research indicates that people who have normal kidney function with no hypertension or diabetes but eat a diet high in sodium, red meat, and sugar-sweetened drinks but low in fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairy have a 97% increased chance of developing kidney disease. 

Cantaloupe is a rich, juicy source of kidney-friendly nutrients, and according to the National Kidney Foundation, it may be a great option for preventing kidney disease in people with normal kidney function. This article explains how cantaloupe can help you keep your kidneys healthy. 

Nutritional composition of cantaloupe

A 100g of raw cantaloupe contains:2 

Water90.2g
Energy 38kcal
Carbohydrate8.69g
Dietary Fibre0.8g
Sugars7.88g
Protein 0.82g
Fat0.18g
Nitrogen0.13g

Minerals:

Calcium9mg
Magnesium 13mg
Phosphorus 17mg
Potassium 157mg
Iron0.38mg
Sodium30mg
Zinc0.44mg
Copper0.085mg
Manganese 0.046mg
Selenium1.7µg

Vitamins:

Vitamin A232µg
Vitamin C10.9mg
Thiamine 0.049mg
Riboflavin 0.027mg
Niacin0.694mg
Pantothenic acid0.085mg
Vitamin B60.04mg
Folate14µg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)2.7µg

Other compounds:

Beta-carotene2780µg
Lutein and zeaxanthin32µg

Cantaloupe is a juicy, delicious melon that has

  • high water content 
  • essential vitamins and minerals
  • low sodium content
  • a trace amount of fat
  • antioxidant compounds 

Benefits of cantaloupe for kidney health

Cantaloupe has natural sugars for your sweet tooth, almost non-existent fat and loads of essential nutrients. Some benefits of cantaloupe for kidney health are discussed below.

High water content in cantaloupe and kidney function

Hydration is essential for your overall well-being. “Drinking sufficient levels of fluid on a daily basis is an important part of kidney health. And it’s not just something we should be thinking about during the warmer summer months.” (Kidney Research UK)

Water helps circulate blood around your body and enables it to easily carry important nutrients to your kidneys. Adequate water intake protects your kidneys and prevents kidney diseases, like kidney stones. Water clears sodium and waste products from your kidneys to form urine, which also flushes out bacteria from your body to prevent infection. (The Lancet, National Kidney Foundation

Cantaloupe is 90% water2 and provides a tasty means of keeping your body hydrated. 

Vitamins in cantaloupe are good for your kidneys

Cantaloupe is a rich source of vitamins that help keep your kidneys healthy and functioning well. 

Vitamin A is important for maintaining the proper function of vital organs, including your kidneys. A deficiency of vitamin A can increase your risk of anaemia, a condition where your body doesn't get adequate oxygen because it lacks enough healthy red blood cells.3

Every organ in your body, including your kidneys, needs energy to perform its duties. Thiamine, riboflavin and niacin (vitamins B1, 2 and 3) are essential for energy production.4,5,6

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), hypertension is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the US. Vitamins B2, 6 (pyridoxine) and 9 (folate) help your body regulate or lower homocysteine levels and prevent homocysteinemia (elevated levels of homocysteine).5,7,8 Homocysteinemia might increase your risk of cardiovascular problems like hypertension, stroke and heart disease.8,9,10

Vitamins B6 and C (ascorbic acid) help your immune system function properly, preventing infections that can damage your kidneys.7,11 

Vitamin B9 (folate) is required to form the building blocks of life – DNA and RNA. It also enables the production of red blood cells. Vitamin C ensures the absorption of iron, an essential mineral for making red blood cells, from plant-based foods and vitamin B6 promotes the formation of haemoglobin, the component in red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body.7,8,11

Vitamin C facilitates the formation of collagen, which enables wound healing in your organs. It also acts as an antioxidant, eliminating free radicals that can harm your kidneys.11 

Minerals in cantaloupe support kidney health

Cantaloupe provides a natural source of minerals that enhance kidney function in healthy people and may help prevent kidney diseases.

This 2018 study indicates that deficiency in phosphorus, potassium, iron or zinc may be linked with an increased chance of advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) in patients.12  

Potassium and sodium are two minerals that regulate fluid (including blood) balance in your body. A healthy balance of both minerals is important for proper kidney function. Too much sodium raises blood pressure. Adequate intake of potassium causes you to pee out more sodium and, hence, lower blood pressure, prevent hypertension and improve kidney function.13,14 Sufficient potassium intake directly prevents calcium-containing kidney stones by regulating the amount of calcium that leaves your body through urine.13 Cantaloupe is relatively low in sodium and high in potassium. 

Cantaloupe is an abundant source of magnesium. Magnesium is essential for energy production, storage and transfer; blood sugar and blood pressure control; muscle and nerve function; and protein, DNA and RNA synthesis. It also helps you make glutathione, an antioxidant. Magnesium may reduce your risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, which are major risk factors for kidney failure.15 

Phosphorus benefits the kidneys because it also plays a role in energy production, storage and transfer. It is required for the formation of DNA and RNA and the maintenance of a normal acid-base balance in the body.16 

Manganese is an essential mineral you need in very small amounts, and cantaloupe is an excellent source. It is beneficial to your kidneys because it helps break down carbs, amino acids, cholesterol and glucose for energy. It also contributes to antioxidant activity and immune strength.17 

Iron supports kidney function because you need it to make healthy red blood cells that supply your entire body system with oxygen. Iron deficiency anaemia starves your body of oxygen and impairs bodily functions, including kidney function.18 You can add a good amount of iron to your diet when you add cantaloupe to it.

Zinc can benefit your kidneys. You need zinc for a strong immune system, to make important proteins and DNA, to heal injuries and for healthy growth.19 Cantaloupe can add a good amount of zinc to your diet.

A 100g of cantaloupe contains about 3% of an adult's daily selenium requirement. Selenium supports kidney function because it boosts your immunity against infections, reduces inflammation and protects your organs against oxidative stress.20,21

Finally, another kidney-friendly mineral you can get from cantaloupe is copper. It helps you make energy and use iron, and it also improves your immune defence against infections and diseases.22

Carotenoids in cantaloupe have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory function

Carotenoids contribute to kidney health because they help you fight oxidative stress and prevent damage to your body tissues by eliminating free radicals released during your body's metabolic processes or retained from exposure to chemical pollutants. They also reduce inflammation.23,24 Cantaloupe contains beta-carotenes, which are also provitamin A (your body converts them to vitamin A), lutein and zeaxanthin. 

Dietary fibre in cantaloupe benefits kidney health

Cantaloupe provides a good amount of dietary fibre. Getting adequate dietary fibre has many benefits, and according to this study, it may be associated with a reduced risk of CKD.25 In people with CKD, dietary fibre may benefit kidney function by promoting healthy gut microbiota (microorganisms like bacteria and fungi) and reducing inflammation and acidosis (excess acid in the body).26

Incorporating cantaloupe into your diet

You can discover a variety of ways to include cantaloupe in your diet. Fruits, including cantaloupe, are healthy snack and dessert alternatives. Craving some worry-free sweet thing? You can have cantaloupe as fresh diced-up fruit, juice or mixed with other fruits and vegetables in a salad. Even better, you can experiment with these yummy-looking recipes from California Cantaloupes.

Cautionary considerations for consuming cantaloupe

You should eat cantaloupe in moderation and include it in a varied, balanced diet. For people with a kidney disorder or increased risk of kidney disease, you may need to consult your healthcare provider about additions to your diet. This is because impaired kidney function can cause a buildup of excess minerals like potassium, sodium and phosphorus in your body. Hence, a CKD diet is often low in these minerals. (National Kidney Foundation, MedlinePlus)

You should also consider the possibility of an allergic reaction to cantaloupe if you are allergic to melons, cucumber, peach, zucchini, celery, banana or tomatoes. (The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, AAAAI)

Summary 

Cantaloupe is packed with nutrients, including vitamins B, C, potassium, magnesium, selenium and antioxidant compounds, plus a high water content that can enhance kidney function and reduce your risk of developing kidney problems. It is an excellent addition to your diet to help you maintain a varied, balanced diet that boosts kidney function and overall well-being. It is important to consult your healthcare provider if you are on medications or have any diet restrictions before incorporating cantaloupe into your diet.

References

  1. Ogobuiro I, Tuma F. Physiology, Renal. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538339/
  2. FoodData Central [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/746770/nutrients
  3. Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin A and Carotenoids [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/
  4. Office of Dietary Supplements - Thiamin [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Thiamin-HealthProfessional/
  5. Office of Dietary Supplements - Riboflavin [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Riboflavin-HealthProfessional/
  6. Office of Dietary Supplements - Niacin [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Niacin-HealthProfessional/
  7. Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin B6 [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB6-HealthProfessional/
  8. Office of Dietary Supplements - Folate [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Folate-HealthProfessional/
  9. Al Hageh C, Alefishat E, Ghassibe-Sabbagh M, Platt DE, Hamdan H, Tcheroyan R, et al. Homocysteine levels, H-Hypertension, and the MTHFR C677T genotypes: A complex interaction. Heliyon [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2024 Jan 27]; 9(6):e16444. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405844023036514
  10. [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://academic.oup.com/ajh/article/35/4/303/6475983
  11. Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin C [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/
  12. Kim J, Lee J, Kim K-N, Oh K-H, Ahn C, Lee J, et al. Association between Dietary Mineral Intake and Chronic Kidney Disease: The Health Examinees (HEXA) Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2024 Jan 27]; 15(6):1070. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6025644/
  13. Office of Dietary Supplements - Potassium [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Potassium-HealthProfessional/
  14. Koo H, Hwang S, Kim TH, Kang SW, Oh K-H, Ahn C, et al. The ratio of urinary sodium and potassium and chronic kidney disease progression. Medicine (Baltimore) [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2024 Jan 27]; 97(44):e12820. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6221621/
  15. Office of Dietary Supplements - Magnesium [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
  16. Office of Dietary Supplements - Phosphorus [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Phosphorus-HealthProfessional/
  17. Office of Dietary Supplements - Manganese [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Manganese-HealthProfessional/
  18. Office of Dietary Supplements - Iron [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
  19. Office of Dietary Supplements - Zinc [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/
  20. Office of Dietary Supplements - Selenium [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Selenium-HealthProfessional/
  21. Başeğmez M. An Overview of the Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Selenium. In: Selenium and Human Health [Internet]. IntechOpen; 2023 [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/87104
  22. Office of Dietary Supplements - Copper [Internet]. [cited 2024 Jan 27]. Available from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Copper-HealthProfessional/
  23. Crupi P, Faienza MF, Naeem MY, Corbo F, Clodoveo ML, Muraglia M. Overview of the Potential Beneficial Effects of Carotenoids on Consumer Health and Well-Being. Antioxidants (Basel) [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2024 Jan 27]; 12(5):1069. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10215867/
  24. Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacogn Rev [Internet]. 2010 [cited 2024 Jan 27]; 4(8):118–26. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
  25. Heo GY, Kim HJ, Kalantar D, Jung CY, Kim HW, Park JT, et al. Association between Fiber Intake and Risk of Incident Chronic Kidney Disease: The UK Biobank Study. The Journal of nutrition, health and aging [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2024 Jan 27]; 27(11):1018–27. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1279770723026131
  26. Cigarrán Guldris S, Latorre Catalá JA, Sanjurjo Amado A, Menéndez Granados N, Piñeiro Varela E. Fibre Intake in Chronic Kidney Disease: What Fibre Should We Recommend? Nutrients [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2024 Jan 27]; 14(20):4419. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/14/20/4419

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Victoria Iyeduala

WASSCE/NECO, Sciences, School Of Secondary Education (I.C.E) Auchi

Victoria is a health and wellness writer who spends her days creating audience-satisfying content for health brands to build a loyal reader base and hit prime marketing goals. She has years of experience in health content writing and has written dozens of articles and blogs, with many ranking high on search engine result pages for multiple keywords. She has a passion for health education and healthcare, which fuels her drive to become a healthcare professional against all odds.

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