Health Benefits of Cucumbers
Cucumbers belong to the Cucurbitaceae family: The same plant family with squash, water melon, and pumpkin. Like the watermelon, cucumbers are mainly constituted of water, this making about 95 percent of the cucumber. Apparently, eating them on a hot summer day will ensure you remain hydrated.
However, there’s a vital reason to eat cucumbers all through the year. With vitamins B and K, potassium, copper, manganese, and vitamin C, cucumbers will shield you from nutrient deficiencies that are common with those who feed on the typical American dishes.
Also, cucumbers have unique polyphenols and several other compounds that may help to reduce the risk of you contacting chronic diseases, and several other infections.
9 Reasons to Eat Cucumbers
1. Protect Your Brain
Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called fisetin that appears to play an important role in brain health. In addition to improving your memory and protecting your nerve cells from age-related decline, fisetin has been found to prevent progressive memory and learning impairments in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Reduce Your Risk of Cancer
Cucumbers contain polyphenols called lignans (pinoresinol, lariciresinol, and secoisolariciresinol), which may help to lower your risk of breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers. They also contain phytonutrients called cucurbitacins, which also have anti-cancer properties. According to the George Mateljan Foundation:
“Scientists have already determined that several different signaling pathways (for example, the JAK-STAT and MAPK pathways) required for cancer cell development and survival can be blocked by activity of cucurbitacins.”
3. Fight Inflammation
Cucumbers may help to “cool” the inflammatory response in your body, and animal studies suggest that cucumber extract helps reduce unwanted inflammation, in part by inhibiting the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes (including cyclo-oxygenase 2, or COX-2).
4. Antioxidant Properties
Cucumbers contain numerous antioxidants, including the well-known vitamin C and beta-carotene. They also contain antioxidant flavonoids, such as quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, and kaempferol, which provide additional benefits.
For instance, quercetin is an antioxidant that many believe prevents histamine release—making quercetin-rich foods “natural antihistamines.” Kaempferol, meanwhile, may help fight cancer and lower your risk of chronic diseases including heart disease.
5. Freshen Your Breath
Placing a cucumber slice on the roof of your mouth may help to rid your mouth of odor-causing bacteria. According to the principles of Ayurveda, eating cucumbers may also help to release excess heat in your stomach, which is said to be a primary cause of bad breath.
6. Manage Stress
Cucumbers contain multiple B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin B7 (biotin). B vitamins are known to help ease feelings of anxiety and buffer some of the damaging effects of stress.
7. Support Your Digestive Health
Cucumbers are rich in two of the most basic elements needed for healthy digestion: water and fiber. If you struggle with acid reflux, you should know that drinking water can help suppress acute symptoms of acid reflux by temporarily raising stomach pH; it’s possible that water-rich cucumbers may have a similar effect.
Cucumber skins contain insoluble fiber, which helps add bulk to your stool. This helps food to move through your digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination.
8. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Cucumbers are very low in calories, yet they make a filling snack (one cup of sliced cucumber contains just 16 calories). The soluble fiber in cucumbers dissolves into a gel-like texture in your gut, helping to slow down your digestion. This helps you to feel full longer and is one reason why fiber-rich foods may help with weight control.
9. Support Heart Health
Cucumbers contain potassium, which is associated with lower blood pressure levels. A proper balance of potassium both inside and outside your cells is crucial for your body to function properly.
As an electrolyte, potassium is a positive charged ion that must maintain a certain concentration (about 30 times higher inside than outside your cells) in order to carry out its functions, which includes interacting with sodium to help control nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction, and heart function.
Cucumbers Are a Great Base for Vegetable Juice
There are many ways in which you can enjoy your cucumber: you can have them fermented or have them raw in vinegar-based salads. If you want something different, cucumbers can give you your ideal base required for your vegetable juice, due to their sweet flavor and high presence of water. A simple juice of celery and cucumber is right for those who are beginners in the art of juicing.
Juicing is an ideal way for you to consume cucumbers; from there you will be able to step up to the red leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, escarole, and spinach, alongside cilantro and parsley.
Whenever you drink green juice that is freshly made, it is almost equivalent to receiving an intravenous infusion of enzymes, minerals, and vitamins, because they proceed into your system directly, without any process to have them broken down. Your body will have a great dose of the nutrients required, and your pH will be normalized. Also your immune system will be boosted and, you will feel energized.
Organic Cucumbers Are Highly Rated
If you’re still not really sure whether you should go ahead to choose organic cucumbers over the conventionally grown varieties, I will strongly suggest organic.
Cucumbers are reportedly the 12th most contaminated food and the second in cancer risk due to their pesticide content, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
Cucumbers are usually waxed after harvest to withstand the long journey to market unscarred and to protect against the many hands that touches it. Although, the wax is supposed to be edible and safe. There are different types of waxes used:
- Shellac, which is gotten from the lac beetle.
- Petroleum-based waxes
- Carnauba wax, gotten from the carnauba palm tree.
The natural waxes are quite preferable to the ones that are petroleum-based. The petroleum based waxes usually contain solvent residues or wood rosins. Cucumbers coated with wax are not labeled as such, but the organic cucumbers will not contain petroleum-based wax coatings, but may contain carnauba wax or insect shellac.
Another potential issue is that wax seals in pesticide residues and debris, and makes them even more difficult to remove with ordinary water. To reach the contaminants buried beneath the surface of your vegetables and fruits, you will need a cleanser that also removes the wax, which is what the average fruit and vegetable wash does. You could also peel the cucumber, but that is one of the parts of the cucumber that contains a high concentration of nutrients, the other is the seeds, so it’s better to consume it if you can.
Other prospects of Cucumbers
Tannins and Flavonoids in cucumbers have both pain-relieving effects and free-radical scavenging, although, it is also used in several number of ways by traditional folks. The Journal of Young Pharmacists has this to say: “Traditionally, this plant is used for headaches; the seeds are cooling and diuretic, the fruit juice of this plant is used as a nutritive and as a demulcent in anti-acne lotions.”
It is the fourth-most widely cultivated “vegetable” in the world. Cucumbers can technically be categorized in the fruit family. Cucumbers are widely available, but you should always purchase them from a local farmer’s market if possible. Cucumbers are not so hard to grow, even if all you have access to is a patio. Cucumbers will thrive well in containers, as long as they have somewhere to climb on. Cucumbers will produce ample produce from a small number of plants, so you could easily try to grow them yourself.