The cucumber is said to belong to the cucurbitaceae family. It has a high water content and a mild refreshing taste. They are also very pleasant to consume in hot weather as they help to relieve dehydration. A lot of people consume cucumber as a savory food but it is a fruit. Due to its rich nutritional benefits, the fruit also features in some beauty products. Although aside cucumber, there are other members of the cucurbitaceae family which includes squash as well as different kinds of melon, including bitter melon. Cucumbers are richly endowed with various nutrients but are low in calories, cholesterol, fat as well as sodium.
Research has however shown that in some countries of the world today, take for instance India, they are known to have grown cucumbers for food as well medicinal purposes since ancient times. Not only that, it has also been revealed that they have long been part of the Mediterranean diet.
How Many Carbs Are In A Cucumber
Health Benefits of cucumber
Due to the numerous nutritional values that cucumber is endowed with, it is therefore has some good quality health benefits.
1. One major health benefit of cucumber is that the fruit helps to prevent dehydration
Cucumber is a fruit which contains some quality amount of electrolytes. It is the presence of these electrolytes that makes the fruit able to help prevent dehydration. Not only that, cucumber consists mostly of water which can also help to prevent dehydration in hot weather or most especially after workout. However, it is advisable for people who do not enjoy drinking water to add cucumber together with mint as this can make it more attractive.
According to doctors, staying hydrated is very essential so as to maintain a healthy intestine. Not only that, it also helps in preventing constipation as well as to avoid kidney stones, and others. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge that cucumber is one of the most hydrating foods. Others may include water and bitter lemon respectively.
2. Another important health benefit of cucumber is that the fruit helps to improve bone health
Cucumber is a great source of vitamin K which helps with blood clotting. Vitamin K is also said to support bone health.
Study shows that a 142 gram (g) cup of chopped, unpeeled, raw cucumber provides 10.2 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin K. Therefore, the recommend an intake of cucumber should be 90 mcg a day for females aged 19 years and over
120 mcg for males of the same age. Cucumber is also said to contain 19.9 milligrams (mg) of calcium. Therefore, the recommended intake for adults is 1,000–1,200 mg of calcium a day, and this depends on the sex and age. Vitamin K is also said to improve calcium absorption. Therefore when all these nutrient combined together, they tend to contribute to good bone health. Research has also shown that just like vitamin K, Vitamin D is also important for bone health.
3. And yet another important health benefit of cucumber is that the fruit may help prevent cancer
As earlier stated in this article that cucumber is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family of plants, the fruit is said to contain high levels of bitter-tasting nutrients known as cucurbitacin. However, research have shown that cucurbitacins may help prevent cancer by stopping cancer cells from reproducing. Also note that a 133 grams cup of chopped cucumber with its skin also provides around 1 gram of fiber. Fiber is an essential nutrient that the body needs and when present in cucumber it may help protect against colorectal cancer.
4. Another important health benefit of cucumber is that the fruit tends to help maintain cardiovascular health
Study shows that fiber can help manage cholesterol and help to prevent related cardiovascular problems as a 142 grams cup of unpeeled cucumber provides 193 mg of potassium and 17 mg of magnesium. The Dietary Guidelines has however recommend that adults consume nothing less than 4,700 mg of potassium each day and 310–410 mg of magnesium, depending on the gender as well as the age. Note that by reducing sodium intake and increasing potassium intake may help to prevent high blood pressure. It is also very important to note that the cucurbitacins in cucumber may also help in the prevention of atherosclerosis.
5. And yet another important health benefit of cucumber is that the fruit may help to prevent diabetes
According to research, cucumbers may play a role in controlling and also preventing diabetes. this is so because the fruit is said to contain substances that may help lower blood sugar or stop blood glucose from rising too high.
One theory has it that the cucurbitacins which is present in cucumber may help in regulating insulin release as well as the metabolism of hepatic glycogen which is a key hormone in the processing of blood sugar. Another study shows that cucumber peel could help in the management of diabetic symptoms. This could probably be as a result of its antioxidant content.
Fiber is also known to aid the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.
Cucumbers have a very low score on the glycemic index (GI). This simply means that they provide the basic essential nutrients without adding carbohydrates that could lead to increase in blood glucose.
6. And yet another important health benefit of cucumber is that the fruit helps to prevent inflammation
Research shows that cucumbers may contain some anti-inflammatory benefits. Various experts believe that inflammation may trigger the development of various health conditions such as: diabetes, depression, cancer, cardiovascular diseases as well as some auto immune conditions.
7. Another important health benefit of cucumber is that the fruit helps in maintaining the skin
Study has shown that cucumber’s nutrients may provide essential benefit for the skin. By applying sliced cucumber directly to the skin, it can help to cool and soothe the skin as well as to reduce swelling and irritation. It also helps to reduce the risk of sunburn. When placed on the eyes, cucumbers can help to decrease morning puffiness.
There are other cucumber beauty tips. Some of which includes:
1. Skin toner
To make skin toner from cucumber, all you need to do is to blend and sieve the cucumber to collect the juice for a natural toner. Leave on the skin for about 30 minutes and then rinse it off. Cucumber may have some astringent properties and can also help in clearing the pores.
2. Face pack
To make face pack from cucumber,all you need to do is to get equal amounts of cucumber juice and yogurt as this helps reduce dry skin and blackheads.
Important things to note:
Cucumber is very safe for almost everyone to use on the skin. It is advisable to start by applying little amount. And if you do not experience an adverse reaction. You can keep using it as it appears safe.
You can as well purchase premade cucumber beauty products online.
Cucumber Nutrition Facts
Research shows that a 142 grams cup of unpared, raw, chopped cucumber contains the following nutrients:
1. Water 137 g
2 . Protein 0.8 g
3. Fat 0.2 g
4. Carbohydrate 3.1 g
5. Sugar 2.0 g
6. Fiber 1.0 g
7. Calcium 19.9 g
8. Iron 0.3 mg
9. Magnesium 17 mg
10. Phosphorus 29.8 mg
11. Potassium 193 mg
12. Sodium 2.8 mg
13. Vitamin C 4.5 mg
14. Folate 19.9 mcg
15. Beta carotene 44 mcg
16. Lutein + zeaxanthin 22.7 mcg
17. vitamin K 10.2 mcg
Cucumber is also endowed with B vitamins, vitamin A, as well as antioxidants which includes a type known as lignans. These antioxidants are known to help remove substances from the body known as free radicals. Some of these free radicals are said to come from natural bodily processes while others come from outside pressures, such as pollution. When there are too many of it in the body, they could lead to cell damage and various types of disease. Various research have however suggested that the lignans in cucumber and other foods may help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and several types of cancer.
Tips on how to eat cucumber
If you want to eat cucumber, be sure to choose the crisp and firm cucumbers. It is important to note that you are advised to avoid those cucumbers with shriveled or withered ends. The fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Most people usually consume cucumbers raw. However, due to their mild taste and refreshing crunch, it is therefore suitable for the following:
1. Adding to salads or sandwiches
2. Accompanying highly flavored or rich nutritional dishes, such as curries and stews
3. They pair well with a wide range of foods like turkey, salmon, cheese as well as nut butter.
You can as well try the following:
1. For your Greek-style side dish
Mix your sliced cucumbers together with your tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese.
2. You can add flavor to your water by adding mint leaves and cucumber.
3. You can slice your cucumbers into thick slices and dip them in your favorite hummus.
4. You can as well blend your cucumbers alone or with other vegetables, such as carrots and celery, to make a juice.
5. You can make your gazpacho soup by blending cucumbers with tomatoes, pimentos, garlic, onions, and bread crumbs and then chilling.
6. You can as well mix your cucumbers with garlic, mint, and Greek yogurt to accompany a curry.
Risk factors associated with consumption of cucumber
Although cucumber is healthy and safe for most people to eat, there are however some risk factors associated with regular consumption and taking the fruit in general
Not every human system is capable of digesting cucumber completely as some people find some types of cucumber a little bit hard to digest. Study shows that the conventional, large cucumber which is available in most grocery shelves is the best as it is easy for most people to digest.
2. Another risk factor associated with regular consumption of cucumber is that it could lead to blood clotting
Research shows that cucumber is relatively high in vitamin K. So therefore, regular consumption of cucumber could affect how a person’s blood clots. It is therefore advisable that people who use warfarin (Coumadin) or similar blood-thinning drugs should not increase their intake of cucumber without consulting their healthcare provider.
3. And yet another risk factor associated with regular consumption of cucumber is that some people are allergic to it
Various research has shown that some people have reported allergic reaction to cucumber. It is therefore advisable that anyone with a known allergy should avoid all contact with cucumber. Some of the symptoms of the reaction may include: hives, difficulty breathing as well as swelling.
If a person has breathing problems, it is advisable that they seek an immediate medical attention. Anaphylaxis is one of the allergic reactions that are associated with consuming cucumbers and this reaction could be life threatening.
4. Another risk factor associated with regular consumption of cucumber is that it could be toxic at times.
It should be noted that some cucurbitacins are toxic for people to consume. For instance, consuming bottle gourd has caused illness in some people.
1. Avoid eating the plant on which cucumbers grow
2. You should only consume cucumber fruits that are ripe and edible.
Cucumbers have very low calorie conten. They also contain quality amount of water as well as soluble fiber which makes them good for promoting hydration and aiding weight loss.
One 11 ounce (that is 300 grams) unpeeled, raw cucumber contains: Calories: 45, total fat: 0 grams, carbs: 11 grams