Until recently, cucumber was thought to be a vegetable, but actually it is a fruit as it has seeds. It’s high in beneficial nutrients, as well as certain plant compounds and antioxidants that may help treat and even prevent some health conditions.
Interestingly, for weight conscious individuals, cucumber is low in calories and contains a good amount of water and soluble fibre, making it ideal for promoting hydration and aiding in weight loss. Please continue reading to learn more about the top health benefits of eating cucumber.
1. It’s high in nutrients
Cucumber is low in calories but high in many important vitamins and minerals, among which are vitamins C and K; magnesium, potassium and manganese. It has zero fat. About 300 grams of cucumber has carbohydrate (11g), protein (2g) and fibre (2g). To get the maximum amount of the nutrients value, it best eaten unpeeled. Peeling reduces the fibre content.
2. It 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 several types of chronic illness. In fact, oxidative stress caused by free radicals has been associated with cancer, heart, lung and autoimmune diseases. Fruits and vegetables, including cucumbers, are especially rich in beneficial antioxidants that may reduce the risk of these conditions.
3. It promotes hydration
Water is crucial to the normal functioning of the body, and plays numerous important roles. It is involved in processes like temperature regulation and the transportation of waste products and nutrients. In fact, proper hydration can affect everything from physical performance to metabolism.
While the major part of the body’s fluid needs can be met by drinking water or other liquids, some people may get as much as 40% of their total water intake from food. Fruits and vegetables, in particular, can be a good source of water in your diet.
Because cucumber is composed of about 96 per cent water, it is especially effective at promoting hydration and can help meet the daily fluid needs.
4. It may aid in weight loss
Cucumbers could potentially help you lose weight in a few different ways. First of all, they are low in calories. This means that you can eat plenty of cucumbers without packing on the extra calories that lead to weight gain. Cucumber can add freshness and flavour to salads, sandwiches and side dishes and may also be used as a replacement for higher calorie alternatives. Furthermore, the high water content of cucumber could aid in weight loss as well.
5. It may lower blood sugar
Several animal and test-tube studies have found that cucumber may help reduce blood sugar levels and prevent some complications of diabetes.
One animal study examined the effects of various plants on blood sugar. Cucumber was shown to effectively reduce and control blood sugar levels. Another animal study induced diabetes in mice and then supplemented them with cucumber peel extract. Cucumber peel reversed most of the diabetes-associated changes and caused a decrease in blood sugar.
In addition, one test-tube study found that cucumber may be effective at reducing oxidative stress and preventing diabetes-related complications. However, further research is needed to determine how cucumbers may affect blood sugar in humans.
6. It could promote regularity
Eating cucumber may help support regular bowel movements. Dehydration is a major risk factor for constipation, as it can alter your water balance and make the passage of stool difficult.
Cucumbers are high in water and promote hydration. Staying hydrated can improve stool consistency, prevent constipation and help maintain regularity. Moreover, cucumber contains fibre, which helps regulate bowel movements. In particular, pectin, the type of soluble fibre found in cucumber, can help increase bowel movement frequency. One study had 80 participants supplement with pectin. It found that pectin sped up the movement of the intestinal muscles, all while feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut which improve digestive health.
7. Easy to add to your diet
Mild with a distinctly crisp and refreshing flavour, cucumber is commonly enjoyed fresh or pickled in everything from salads to sandwiches. Cucumber is also often eaten raw as a low-calorie snack or can be paired with peanut butter, olive oil, salt or salad dressing to add a bit more flavour. With just a bit of creativity, cucumber can be enjoyed in many ways.
• Adapted from healthline.com