This page about melons for gout was last reviewed or updated on 18 September 2013.
Unlike strawberries, cherries, and celery, all of whose ability to help with gout can be explained by their nutrients, and whose reputation is boosted by gout stories and testimonials, melons do not have most of the relevant nutrients, nor the stories. No one has seriously claimed melons lower uric acid, nor reduce gout’s inflammation. There aren’t any scientific studies about melons for gout.
So please do not get the idea that all you have to do is eat some melons and your gout will go away. Most of the time with any natural remedy it isn’t that simple.
Melons’ nutrients Melons contain a good assortment of vitamins and minerals in small or moderate amounts. They aren’t as nutrient full as many would think. However, they are useful sources of potassium. (Cantaloupe 267 mg/100 grams; Honeydew 228 mg/100 grams; Casaba 182 mg/100 grams). Gout sufferers need to keep their potassium levels up to balance their sodium. Excess sodium can lead to high blood pressure to which gout sufferers are prone.
But even if melons do not lower uric acid, melons in your gout diet are still useful, especially if the diet boosts your antioxidant levels since gout flares raise the free radicals which are scavenged by antioxidants. A gout diet should be high in antioxidant vitamins, high in other vitamins, minerals and monounsaturated and omega-3 fats, but low in purines. Melons do have some of these nutrients.
Low purine Melons are not going to raise your uric acid by the purine route. A cantaloupe melon produces 33 mg uric acid/100 grams, which makes it low purine. (1) It is reasonable to assume the same (i.e. low purine) about honeydews and other melon types.
And if you are boosting your food intake of vitamin C, always a good idea for gout sufferers, melons’ amount is also useful, between 18-37 mg/100 grams in three melon types, Cantaloupes, Honeydews and Casabas. And vitamin C is an antioxidant.
But as for the flavonoids found for example in cherries, elderberries and strawberries, which have been shown to act as antioxidants and may lower uric acid, they are almost absent in melons. There is just a smidgeon of epigallocatecin in the Honeydews and in the Cantaloupes, a little luteolin, kaempferol and quercetin. The amounts are so small it’s hard to imagine them doing any good. (3)
Watermelons and gout The same can be said about watermelons. Watermelons are also low purine. They contain a lot of water of course, but don’t count their juice as part of your 8 daily glasses. They too can’t raise your uric acid by the purine route. Like melons, there is a range of vitamins and minerals in moderate amounts. They also have useful amounts of potassium. Of note is the red pigment of watermelons from their lycopene (it also colours (colors) tomatoes and pink grapefruits), the carotenoid which may help avoid prostate cancer. Like melons, their flavonoid content is low, just luteolin and kaempferol
I have no nutrient data for other types of melons such as Musk, Galia, Ambrosia, Persian, Sharlyn, Canary, and Sierra Gold, They probably all have a similar nutrient profile since Honeydews, Cantaloupes and Casaba melons are much the same.
Carbs and calories If your diet has you counting calories, melons are low calorie – just 34 in 100 grams of a cantaloupe. But if you count carbs, note they are quite high carb, about 8 grams/100 grams of carbs in a Cantaloupe, although you can take off the 0.9 grams of fibre (fiber) for a real net carbs figure of about seven. A little higher in the Honeydews. If you are restricted to say 40 net carb grams daily,,,,, 7 or 8 grams of net carbs is about 18% of your daily allowance, quite a lot but not unmanageable.
They are fairly high on the glycemic (glycaemic) index which is a negative on a low carb diet. But because they have few net carbs, their glycemic load (Cantaloupe, Honeydew and Watermelon) is low at 4, That means they are unlikely to create much blood sugar, so in effect they have less than 7 or 8 grams of net carbs. See our glycemic load page for a explanation.
Acid or alkaline? If you are following a pH diet of alkaline foods to help boost uric acid excretion note Cantaloupe and Honeydew melons are alkaline. That means the other melon types are almost certainly alkaline.
Fructose in melons. There are 2.8 grams of fructose in a 1/8 melon serving size of a Cantaloupe and 6.7 grams in a 1/8 melon serving size of a Honeydew melon. And 11.3 grams in a 1/16 serving size of a watermelon. (4) Do you monitor your fructose intake because you think it raises uric acid? If so, note that if 25 grams of fructose is your daily limit these amounts can be managed within your daily budget.
THE VERDICT: MELONS FOR GOUT
So the finding about melons for gout has to be they are a good team player, but not a star striker. Have them in your diet, but don’t expect miracles.
BITTER MELON FOR GOUT ?
However, there is a type of melon, or at least “melon” is in its name, that might be more helpful.
Bitter melon (aka bitter gourd, karela, ampalaya,
others) is roughly the size of a long cucumber. It has a grooved skin around its
circumference and whilst it is also coloured green,it’s a paler green than a
cucumber. It is full of nutrients.
Bitter melon gets mentioned as a gout remedy, but usually that’s just a one word mention. No studies have said it lowers uric acid, which is de rigueur to control gout. However, it has been scientifically found to help against inflammation and insulin resistance. If insulin resistance is your cause of gout, it might help you.
Melons for gout - references
(1) http://www. accumedico.com/purines
(2) USDA National Nutrient Database. http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm?modecode=12-35-45-00
(3) The Flavonoid content of selected foods. http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=6231