Although commonly thought to be a vegetable, Cucumber is actually a fruit. It is rich in beneficial nutrients, as well as certain plant compounds and antioxidants that can help treat and even prevent some diseases. In addition, cucumbers are low in calories and contain a good amount of water and soluble fiber, making them ideal for maintaining hydration and for helping with weight loss. In this article we show you closely some of the main health benefits that cucumber can provide you with eating cucumber.
1. It has a High Nutrient Content:
Cucumbers have very few calories but contain a lot of important vitamins and minerals. A raw and unpeeled cucumber of 11 ounces (300 grams) contains the following:
- Calories: 45
- Total Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 11 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C :14% of the RDI (Recommended Daily Intake)
- Vitamin K: 62% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 10% of the IDR
- Potassium: 13% of the RDI
- Manganese: 12% of the IDR
Although, the typical serving size is about a third of a cucumber, so eating a standard serving would provide about a third of the nutrients listed. In addition, cucumbers have a high water content. In fact, cucumbers are made up of approximately 96% water. To maximize its nutrient content, cucumbers should be eaten without peeling. Peeling them reduces the amount of fiber, as well as certain vitamins and minerals, in one serving.
Summary: Cucumbers are low in calories but high in water and several important vitamins and minerals. Eating cucumbers with the peel provides the maximum amount of nutrients.
2. Contains Antioxidants:
Antioxidants are molecules that block oxidation, a chemical reaction that forms highly reactive atoms with unpaired electrons known as free radicals. The accumulation of these harmful free radicals can lead to various types of chronic diseases. In fact, oxidative stress caused by free radicals has been associated with heart and lung cancer and with autoimmune diseases.
“Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are especially rich in beneficial antioxidants that can reduce the risk of these diseases”.
One study measured the antioxidant power of cucumber by giving 30 older adults a cucumber powder supplement. At the end of the 30 days of the study, cucumber powder caused a significant increase in several markers of antioxidant activity and a better antioxidant state. However, it is important to keep in mind that the cucumber powder used in this study probably contained a higher dose of antioxidants than is consumed in a typical portion of cucumber. Another test tube study investigated the antioxidant properties of cucumbers and found that they contain flavonoids and tannins, which are two compounds that are especially effective in blocking harmful free radicals.
Summary: Cucumbers contain antioxidants, including flavonoids and tannins, which prevent the accumulation of harmful free radicals and can reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
3. Help Maintain Hydration:
Water is crucial for the proper functioning of the body, playing numerous important roles. It is involved in processes such as temperature regulation and the transport of waste and nutrients. In fact, having adequate hydration can influence everything from physical performance to metabolism. While the most common is that people meet most of their hydration needs only by drinking water or other liquids, some people can meet up to 40% of their total need for food water. Fruits and vegetables, in particular, can be a good source of water in your diet. In one study, hydration status was evaluated and diet records of 442 children were collected. They found that increased intake of fruits and a vegetable was associated with improvements in hydration status. Because cucumbers are composed of 96% water, they are especially effective in maintaining hydration and can help you meet your daily fluid needs.
Summary: Cucumbers are made up of approximately 96% water, which can increase hydration and help you meet your daily fluid needs.
4. Can Help in Weight Loss:
Cucumbers could help you lose weight in different ways. First, they are low in calories. Each serving of a cup of cucumbers (104 grams) contains only 16 calories, while a whole 11-ounce cucumber (300 grams) contains only 45 calories. This means that you can eat a lot of cucumbers without eating all the extra calories that lead to weight gain. Cucumbers can add freshness and flavor to salads, sandwiches and contour dishes and can also be used as a replacement for alternatives with more calories. In addition, the high water content of cucumbers could also help you with weight loss. An investigation analyzed 13 studies, which included 3,628 people, and found that eating foods with high water content and low calories was associated with a significant decrease in body weight.
Summary: Cucumbers are low in calories, high in water and can be used as a low-calorie coating for many dishes. All of these can help in weight loss.
5. Could Help Lower Cholesterol:
Research shows that cucumbers contain certain compounds that could reduce blood cholesterol levels. These compounds include phytosterols, or plant sterols, which can be found in many types of fruits and vegetables. Studies show that plant sterols can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 5 to 15% in most people. In a study that included participants with and without diabetes supplement with plant sterols. It was found that LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by 15% in non-diabetic participants and an impressive 26.8% in diabetic participants. Cucumbers also contain pectin, a natural type of soluble fiber that could lower blood cholesterol. An animal study found that the administration of pectin extracted from cucumbers caused a significant decrease in both blood cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels.
Summary: Cucumbers contain plant sterols and pectin. Studies show that these two substances could help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
6. Can Lower Blood Sugar:
Several animal studies and test tube studies have found that cucumbers can help reduce blood sugar levels and prevent some complications of diabetes. An animal study examined the effects of several plants on blood sugar. It was shown that cucumbers effectively reduce and control blood sugar levels. Another study in animals induced diabetes in mice and then was given a supplement with cucumber peel extract. The cucumber peel reversed most of the changes associated with diabetes and caused a decrease in blood sugar. In addition, a test tube study found that cucumbers can be effective in reducing oxidative stress and preventing diabetes-related complications. However, current evidence is limited to studies in test tube and in animals. More research is needed to determine the way in which cucumbers can affect blood sugar levels in humans.
Summary: Studies in test tube and in animals show that cucumber can help reduce blood sugar and prevent diabetes-related complications, although additional research is needed.
7. Could Encourage Intestinal Regularity:
Eating cucumbers can help to have regular bowel movements. Dehydration is an important risk factor for constipation, as it can alter the water balance and hinder the passage of feces. Cucumbers have a high-water content and promote hydration. Staying hydrated can improve stool consistency, prevent constipation and help maintain regular bowel movements. In addition, cucumbers contain fiber, which helps regulate bowel movements. In particular, pectin, the type of soluble fiber found in cucumbers, can help increase the frequency of bowel movement. One study had 80 participants who were given a supplement with pectin. It was found that pectin accelerated the movement of the intestinal muscles, all while feeding the beneficial bacteria in the intestine that improves digestive health.
Summary: Cucumbers contain a good amount of fiber and water, which can help prevent constipation and increase regularity.
How to Add Cucumber to Your Diet?
Because they are soft with a clearly fresh and refreshing taste, cucumbers are commonly enjoyed naturally or pickled in everything from salads to sandwiches. Cucumbers are also often eaten raw as a low-calorie snack or can be spread with hummus, olive oil, salt or some salad dressing to add a little more flavor. With a little creativity, cucumbers can be enjoyed in many ways. Here are some ideas to help you incorporate cucumbers into your diet:
- Baked cucumber fried chips
- Vinaigrette cucumbers
- Thai Cucumber Salad
- Infusion of strawberry, lime, cucumber and mint water
- Cucumber and mint sorbet
- Grilled goat cheese cucumbers
Summary: Cucumbers can be eaten fresh or pickled. They can be enjoyed as a low-calorie snack or used to add flavor in a variety of dishes.
Cucumbers are a refreshing, nutritious and incredibly versatile addition to any diet. They are low in calories, but contain many important vitamins and minerals, as well as a high water content. Including cucumbers in your diet can lead to many potential health benefits, including weight loss, balanced hydration, digestive regularity and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.