"If life gives you melons…you may be dyslexic." – Anonymous
It’s melon season! Maybe you’ve already brought home a few cantaloupes from the grocery store this summer. Did you know that cantaloupes contain one of the most powerful antioxidants?
Superoxide dismutase, also called SOD, is a powerful antioxidant enzyme naturally found in our bodies. An enzyme is a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction. SOD is also found in a number of foods, including melons like cantaloupe.
Antioxidants protect against oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals, which are composed of oxygen and an uneven number of electrons, interact with other molecules to cause harmful chemical reactions. These reactions can contribute to conditions like cancer, heart disease, seizure disorders, diabetes and chronic inflammatory diseases.
Superoxide dismutase forms the front line of defense against oxidative stress. SOD is the only antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, changing them into harmless oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. This process is extremely valuable in disease prevention and healing.
So, is it worth supplementing with SOD? You may not know it, but you might be supplementing already. SOD is frequently used in cosmetic and personal care products as an anti-aging ingredient to prevent wrinkles and skin damage. SOD is also sold over the counter as individual and combined supplements, often extracted from — you guessed it — melons.
There is an issue with SOD supplements though: SOD has a high molecular weight that prevents its absorption in our intestines. But don’t toss your cantaloupe into the compost just yet! Interestingly, several animal studies have suggested that SOD melon supplements trigger natural SOD production in the body. Given the vast therapeutic potential of SOD in our bodies, it’s an encouraging finding that merits further research.
Enjoy a melon today,
MD MPH, Integrative Family Medicine
Time for some fruitful homework! Are you interested in more health benefits of cantaloupe? Check out this quick review of cantaloupe nutrition by Healthline.
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