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As cool as a cucumber, the idiom goes. Indeed, the cucumber is a cool and a versatile veggie. With 95% water content, a low-calorie count and almost negligible carbs, cucumbers are one of the trendiest products of the keto market. You can easily devour cucumber in the form of salads, salsas, creamy soups, gherkins, pickles or any other form on a regular basis. Cucumbers are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals. They also contain Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin A, manganese and phosphorus among other vital minerals. They provide a large number of health benefits like preventing inflammation, diarrhoea, hydrating the body, flushing out toxins and more.
What Are Cucumbers?
Cucumber is an edible vegetable that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae gourd family. Cucumber has been classified into three main cultivar varieties, namely; pickling, slicing and burpless. Many different cultivars of cucumbers have been developed since and are being used globally. Cucumber finds its origin in India from where it spread to Greece, Italy and subsequently China. Cucumbers have been domesticated and cultivated for more than 3000 years now and find its cultivation in almost all continents throughout the world. This fruit or veggie belongs to the same family as melons, zucchini, pumpkins and watermelons. Here we have curated a list of some of the health benefits that consuming this vegetable can bring you. From treating skin problems, to relieving puffiness from the eyes and relieving diarrhoea, this little green gem will benefit you in more ways than one.
Benefits Of Cucumber
1. Potent Antioxidant
Cucumber has numerous antioxidants and bioactive chemicals in its skin. According to an article by the International Research Journal of Pharmacy, cucumber has a good number of saponins, flavanoids, steroids and alkaloids that are beneficial to human health. These bioactive compounds possess anti oxidative and antimicrobial properties.
2. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Another research article published by the NCBI suggests that ginger and its compounds accumulate in the stomach and intestines. It acts as a pain reliever and works as an anti-nausea agent. Ginger prevents queasiness, retching and vomiting tendencies associated with chemotherapy, pregnancy and other surgeries. It also prevents the gastrointestinal tract from infections.
3. Anti-diarrhoeal Properties
Cucumber possesses 95% water and 5% essential minerals and vitamins. It is a vegetable that can keep the gastrointestinal tract cool and the body amply hydrated. A research conducted by Southeast University, Banani, Dhaka, showed that cucumber leaves can aid in the treatment of diarrhoea. Methanolic extracts present in cucumber leaves are effective in controlling loose motions induced by diarrhoea.
4. Prevents Ulcers
A research article published by the Asian Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that cucumber seeds are beneficial in reducing ulcers in the body due to i anti-oxidative properties. Phytochemicals present in cucumber seeds and methanolic extracts showed signs of scavenging free radicals from the body that become a prime source for exacerbating ulcers. Cucumbers hence can be used as an anti-ulcerogenic substance in pharmacy in future.
5. Soothes Sunburns
Cucumber has hydrating properties with cooling and soothing effects on the skin. Scientific studies have shown that cucumber is beneficial in soothing skin irritations caused by sunburns. According to an article published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, cucumber alleviates and relieves sunburn pain.
6. Flushes Out Toxins
An abstract published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information centred around the efficacy of cucumbers to flush out harmful toxins from the body mentions thatcucumber effectively removes pockets of waste materials and accumulated toxin deposits from the body, thereby cleansing and purifying it.
7. Anti-diabetic Properties
Regular consumption of cucumber can be a potent tool in reducing the oxidative stress that is generally associated with diabetes mellitus. A study published in the Journal of Plant Food for Human Nutrition suggested that cucumbers are effective in lowering the blood sugar levels of Type 2 diabetic patients without an external administration of insulin. It also regulates the lipids in the body.
8. May Prevent Cancer
Recent findings have surfaced that have brought the anti-carcinogenic properties of cucumber into the limelight. Compounds extracted from the flowers of cucumber show that concentrations of certain compound in the flowers induced apoptosis on cancerous cells, which was backed by a research published by the International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research. This makes cucumber one of the vegetables that can be used as a potent contributor in the discovery of anticancer drug.
9. Emollient Effects On The Skin
The Journal of Aging Research and Clinical Practice evaluated and published the benefits of cucumber on skin care. The study revealed that cucumber has therapeutic effects on the skin. It fortifies the cells with water and hydrates it. This in turn rejuvenates the tissues, making the skin soft, supple and hydrated.
10. Prevents Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs)
Regular consumption of cucumber is known to ward off the risk of cardiovascular diseases, researches have suggested. Cucumber extracts lower the levels of Angiotensin II, a hormone that causes high blood pressure and vasoconstriction, in the body. It also reduces oxidative stress and other inflammation related issues of the heart.
Nutritional Value Of Cucumber
Nutritional value contained in 100 gms of raw unpeeled cucumber
|Thiamine B1||0.027 mg|
|Riboflavin B2||0.033 mg|
|Niacin B3||0.098 mg|
|Pantothenic Acid B5||0.259 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.04 mg|
|Folate B9||7 µg|
|Vitamin C||2.8 mg|
|Vitamin K||16.4 µg|
Risks Or Precautions When Consuming Cucumber
- Munching on a lot of cucumber can lead to toxin build up in the body. Tetracyclic triterpenoids and cucurbetacins found in cucumber can prove toxic upon consumption in large quantities.
- Cucumbers contain a high content of potassium. Excessive consumption of cucumbers can lead to a potassium build up in the body which can lead to problems like ‘hyperkalemia’ which causes bloating, cramps and renal failure.
- Cucumber consumption in moderation is good for the heart. But in excessive, it can cause cardiac problems. The high-water content in the veggie creates an unbalance electrolyte level in the body. It also increases the net volume of blood in the body that exerts pressure on the arteries and blood vessels. This can prove fatal if not correctly monitored.
- Cucurbetacin can lead to flatulence and gas build up in the body. It can cause indigestion and severe bloating.
How To Consume Cucumber
Cucumber is not only cool and refreshing but also a versatile veggie. Cucumber can be eaten raw, cooked or in pickled form. This veggie will keep you hydrated and cool and provide you with all the nutritious goodness that your body needs. Here are a few ways in which you can incorporate cucumber in your diet plan every day.
Peel and dice two large cucumbers along with two medium sized tomatoes and one medium sized onion and add in a large bowl. Add half a cup of green bell pepper and 1 seeded and minced jalapeno pepper. Throw in some chopped parsley or cilantro and squeeze one lime on top of the salad. Season with salt and serve immediately with tortilla chips.
Cucumber Stuffed Tomatoes
For the filling, peel, deseed and finely dice 2 large cucumbers and keep in a bowl. Add two tablespoons of mayonnaise, two ounces of sour cream, chopped dill and one tablespoon of finely chopped green onion. Season the filling with salt and pepper. Slice the top of four to five small sized tomatoes, scoop out the centre and invert them to discard the pulp. Then fill the mixture into the tomato shells and serve.
Some Fun Facts About Cucumber
- Cucumber juice is very helpful in treating sunburns. Cucumber’s cooling effect provides instant relief to the burnt area.
- Some cultivars of cucumber have interesting names like Viper, Telegraph, Cobra, Thunderbird, Sultan and General Lee among others.
- David Thomas of United Kingdom grew the heaviest cucumber in the world andholds the world record of 2015 for being the heaviest cucumber in the world that weighed 12.9 kg.
- Cucumber has a waxy coating on its skin that can easily remove ink stains! All you have to do is rub the skin on the ink stain/ mark and the stain will erase.
Cucumber is one of the most easily available vegetables which comes loaded with several health benefits. From skin rejuvenation to healing sunburns, keeping the gastrointestinal tract happy to preventing peptic ulcers, you can think big with this small veggie. So, if you have been thinking about including this vegetable to your diet plan for some time now, Cashkaro recommends this is the time to do so.