Kiwano melon is an exotic, peculiar-looking fruit from the central and southern regions of Africa. It’s formally known as Cucumis metuliferus but informally also goes by horned melonand African horned cucumber.

When ripe, the thick outer skin of a kiwano melon is bright orange and covered in small spiny projections or horns. The inner flesh consists of a gelatinous, lime-green or yellow substance that houses a multitude of edible seeds. Though kiwano melon isn’t a fruit you’re likely to find in an average fruit basket, including it in your diet may be good for your health.

Here are 7 benefits of kiwano melon and tips on how to eat it.


Kiwano melon boasts an array of vitamins and minerals, many of which play a role in its ability to positively impact health. A single kiwano melon (209 grams) provides the following nutrients (1Trusted Source):

Calories: 92

Carbs: 16 grams

Protein: 3.7 grams

Fat: 2.6 grams

Vitamin C: 18% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)

Vitamin A: 6% of the RDI

Vitamin B6: 7% of the RDI

Magnesium: 21% of the RDI

Iron: 13% of the RDI

Phosphorus: 8% of the RDI

Zinc: 7% of the RDI

Potassium: 5% of the RDI

Calcium: 3% of the RDI

Kiwano melon is mainly comprised of water and relatively low in calories, ca uhrbs, and fat. About 16% of its calories come from protein — which is relatively high compared to other fruits. This unique nutrient distribution makes kiwano melon suitable for a variety of diet plans.


Kiwano melon contains many vitamins and minerals that are essential to optimal health. It’s relatively low in calories, yet — for a fruit — high in protein.


Kiwano melon is not only nutritious but also offers several potent antioxidants — many of which are nutrients themselves. Antioxidants are compounds found in certain foods that can protect against cellular damage caused by oxidative stress in your body.

Though oxidative reactions are a normal part of human metabolism, too much oxidative strain can result in inflammation and impaired cellular function over time. You can minimize this potential damage by providing your body with an adequate supply of antioxidant-rich foods like kiwano melon.

The main antioxidants in kiwano melon are vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, and lutein. Together, these nutrients play a role in reducing inflammation and preventing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4). Moreover, the edible seeds found within the fruit’s pulp provide vitamin E — another nutrient with antioxidant properties (5).


Kiwano melon and its seeds contain several antioxidants, including zinc, lutein, and vitamins A, C, and E.


Kiwano melon is a good source of iron and provides about 13% of your daily needs (1Trusted Source). Red blood cells store an iron-containing substance called hemoglobin, which is used to transport oxygen through your body. However, pairing non-heme iron with vitamin C enhances its absorption rate (7Trusted Source).

Thus, an adequate supply of dietary iron is necessary for your body to produce enough healthy red blood cells for proper oxygenation (6Trusted Source). Plant sources of iron — such as kiwano melon — contain a form of the mineral known as non-heme iron. This form isn’t absorbed as efficiently as iron from animal sources.

Coincidentally, kiwano melon supplies a significant amount of vitamin C as well. This can improve the absorption of the iron present within the fruit, making it more effective for supporting red blood cell production and oxygen transport (1Trusted Source).


Kiwano melon is a good source of iron and vitamin C. These nutrients promote proper production of hemoglobin in red blood cells, which is necessary for oxygen transport.


Kiwano melon has a low glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t cause a significant spike in blood sugar after you eat it.Additionally, it’s a rich source of magnesium — a mineral that’s directly involved in the metabolism of glucose (sugar) and insulin (8Trusted Source) A small study found that kiwano melon extract significantly reduced blood sugar in diabetic rats but not in animals with normal blood sugar levels (9Trusted Source).

Ultimately, more research is needed to determine whether kiwano melon affects blood sugar in humans.


Kiwano melon is low-glycemic and contains nutrients necessary for proper sugar and insulin metabolism. Some animal research suggests that it may be useful for treating high blood sugar. However, this remains to be proven in human studies.


Water alone is often thought to be synonymous with hydration. However, electrolytes — such as potassium, magnesium, and sodium — are also necessary for maintaining healthy fluid status (10Trusted Source).

Kiwano melon is made up of about 88% water and contains carbs and electrolytes — making it useful for increasing hydration (1Trusted Source). Snacking on a fruit like kiwano melon on a hot summer day or after vigorous exercise can help keep you fueled and well-hydrated throughout the day.


Kiwano melon has a high water content and provides several electrolytes that are necessary for staying hydrated.


Kiwano melon contains magnesium and zinc — two minerals that are closely related to mental health and healthy brain function maintenance. Both magnesium and zinc are involved in producing neurotransmitters that impact mood and are linked to some mood-related disorders, such as depression and anxiety (11Trusted Source).

One study evaluated the use of magnesium for treating mild depression and anxiety disorders in 126 people. Those who received magnesium reported significant improvements in their symptoms (12Trusted Source). Overall, more research is needed to better understand the role of magnesium and zinc in improving mood or preventing and treating depression, but eating plenty of mineral-rich foods like kiwano melon certainly can’t hurt.


Kiwano melon contains minerals involved in the production of neurotransmitters that regulate mood.


Research that focuses specifically on kiwano melon’s effect on health is minimal. However, many of the nutrients it contains are well-known for supporting your body’s systems in other ways:

Supports bone health: Kiwano melon provides nutrients that support bone remodeling and maintenance of bone strength, including magnesium, vitamin C, and zinc (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source). Encourages healthy skin: The vitamin C and water in kiwano melon may support collagen production, wound healing, and protection from sun damage 

Promotes heart health: Kiwano melon is a rich source of magnesium and potassium. These minerals can reduce inflammation, prevent the accumulation of arterial plaque, and help regulate blood pressure (16Trusted Source). Strengthens immunity: Kiwano melon also offers multiple nutrients that are vital for a healthy immune system, including vitamin C, zinc, iron, and magnesium

While kiwano melon contains many important nutrients, no single food holds the key to optimal health. Consider including kiwano melon alongside other nutrient-dense foods to get the most benefit from your diet.


Nutrients found in kiwano melon are key players in supporting your immune system, heart, skin, and bones.


This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Caroline Njeri

    Wow. Amazing read. I like eating this fruit with a mango. I cut the mango (preferrably the apple mango) into cube like shapes after peeling off the skin. Next I take a spoon and scoop off the insides of the kiwano fruit. I mix them together and snack on it like a fruit salad. I didn’t know its health benefits, but now I do. Thanks Kipkorir.

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